August poets and the word for September

BULLETIN: This just in from Nile Stanley. He and Gary Dulabaum will be appearing at the Nebraska State Reading Association in 2012. Nile and Gary have both been my Featured Guests and Nile was our judges’ selection for Word of the Month Poet in November, 2010 for his poem, “Words.” Congratulations to Nile and Gary. http://coe.unk.edu/nsra/Index2012.html#Nile_Stanley

Hi everyone,

It is my pleasure to announce our winning poets for August. Joy Acey, who lives in Tucson, Arizona and attended my poetry workshop at Honesdale in June, takes top honors in both categories with her poem, “The View from the Iron.” It doesn’t happen often that a poet wins both Hall of Fame Poet and Word of the Month Poet in the same month. The last one to accomplish it was Susan Carmichael from Columbus, Ohio, another poetry workshop attendee, who pulled it off in June for her poem, “Such a Good Puppy.” Susan has since placed her poem with Petsitters.com Magazine.

Here are some comments by judges this month about Joy’s winning entry.

“One particular line ‘loose tongues when they went to town,’ is really splendid.”

“I love the easy rhyme and whimsical story of the snowman poem but really love the story of the
iron and the family … sooooooooo, soooooooooooo
I think I will go with ‘View from the Iron’ as my first choice, since it is so different and I do like the details in the poem.
But I really like ‘Can’t/Won’t Compromise,’ also.”

“Can’t/Won’t Compromise?” was posted by Liz Korba from New Jersey. Liz tied with Steven Withrow in January 2011 for Hall of Fame Poet with her poem, “Fathom,” and this month she finished in second place for Word of the Month Poet.

Congratulations to Joy for sweeping honors in August, to Liz for a close second, and to all of our poets who seized on one word to create a new collection of original poetry. I’m delighted each and every month by the diversity of approaches and voices and I’m grateful to everyone for supporting the exercise.

Once again, my thanks to our judges.

Are you ready for the word for September? Here it is: CLASS

September is the 12th month of our second one-year cycle of Word of the Month. During the first twenty-three months, Steven Withrow and Mary Nida Smith have posted poems in each month. Liz Korba posted a poem late one month but still posted it to share, making her another who has posted at least twenty-three times. There are others who are close to that number. I’ll try to bring the records up to date before long and post the whole thing. It’s fun to see how many poets have joined the fun over the past two years.

Beginning the third cycle of Word of the Month in October, I expect to make some changes regarding the voting aspect of the exercise. For some time now I’ve thought about dropping the voting process and focusing on the fun of writing, posting, and commenting on poetry. Steven Withrow has also suggested it and put it well. Here is a note from Steven a few weeks ago.

Hi, David.

I visited your blog to vote today, and it started me wondering if you might consider evolving your word-of-the-month “contest” into a word-of-the-month “challenge” — not unlike the Miss Rumphius Effect weekly poetry stretch, but on a monthly schedule.

The basic setup would be the same as you have now, and finished poems would be posted at the end of each month. It would eliminate, however, the competitive aspect as well as the time you invest in managing the judging and voting process. I noticed that the number of votes is generally low (for the adult side) compared with the number of entries — and the great thread of comments — each month.

People mainly participate for the camaraderie, sharing, challenge, support, feedback, and inspiration that come from a regular group activity. We’re less concerned about whose poem wins. We also might think of new ways to encourage poets to revise their work based on group feedback.

Perhaps it’s something you’ll consider for the start of 2012? Or as early as September, with the start of the new school year?

Steven

Although I’ve made no final decision yet, I’m leaning toward doing exactly what Steven suggests. We have another month to decide and I am interested in hearing from others. Please let me have your comments about how Word of the Month should operate starting in October. Thanks very much.

David

3 comments on “August poets and the word for September

  1. Dear David:
    Everyday I am pumped by the sharing on your blog , e-mail and the connection to the poetry circuit. This is the class-iest group I have ever created with.
    Thank you all.
    Even the staff of WordPress are teaching me.
    Jeanne Poland

  2. Great news David. Thank you. Thanks for the opportunity to share my difficult HOT poem. Thanks to the judges and all my fellow poets for the votes. I feel humble and very appreciative. There were so many good and fun poems this month. Liz Korba’s poem CAN’T/WON’T COMPROMISE was awesome and to think she has posted every month for 23 months is quite something. Congratulations to Steve Withrow and Mary Nida Smith for posting every month too. That is a goal we can all aim for.
    And a big CONGRATULATIONS to Susan Carmichael for placing her poem SUCH A GOOD PUPPY with Petsitters.com magazine. That is super news and inspiration for all of us.
    Hey, this is just a really good week. Thanks, thanks, thanks. Now I’m off to work on my entry for the Children’s Writer Poetry Contest. If you want to know more about this contest http://www.childrenswriter.com Good Luck and have fun writing.

  3. Hi, All–

    Weighing in on Steven’s comment:

    People mainly participate for the camaraderie, sharing, challenge, support, feedback, and inspiration that come from a regular group activity. We’re less concerned about whose poem wins. We might also think of new ways to encourage poets to revise their work based on group feedback.”

    I totally agree. Changing the emphasis from winning to revising might encourage participants to offer brief but substantive feedback re: what works and what doesn’t. This will help us to ‘grow’ our poetry by benefiting from each others’ true/honest/critical responses to our work.

    I also want to thank Steven and Joy for sharing info about the Miss Rumphius Effect Poetry Stretch (new to me) and the Children’s Writer Contest, two more venues in which to develop our poetic legs. As always, thanks to you, David, for providing this forum.

    Julie

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