Word of the Month invitation

BULLETIN: Hey kids! (I get to talk like that because it’s my blog.) If you want to know how Shakespeare felt when he got rejected, check out what I just posted at the bottom of the PARROTIES post of August 24.

Hi everyone,

Lately I’ve had some newcomers to my blog, thanks to the madness stirred up by Pat Lewis’s “PARROTIES” challenge. (FYI, Pat threatens to strike again before long with another newfangled form. I’ll wait a while because several poets are still concentrating on their parroties. But be watching for the next round one of these days soon.)

Anyway, it occurs to me that some of you might not be familiar with a standing challenge here that has been going on since October 2009. I issue a word at the beginning of every month to serve as inspiration for poems. The word for August was LINE. The new word goes up on September 1.

If you are unfamiliar with this exercise, click on ADULT W.O.M. POEMS in the box just to left along the top row of this page. That takes you to a brief explanation of how this works. To post a poem (no limit during the month), scroll to the box at the bottom, type or paste in your poem, and click submit. Presto! You can be assured of an appreciative reading audience.

If you are a student in school (or home schooled), your teacher can post your poem by clicking on the box in the upper right side of this page, YOUNG POET W.O.M. POEMS. I have two categories, one for students in grades 3-7 and one for students in grades 8-12. Your teacher needs to identify you by name, grade, school, town, and state, along with her/his name. Again, you’ll find that a lot of adult readers are eager to see what you’ve written and comment on what they enjoyed most about your writing.

I’v lost track of the numbers of poets and poems that have been posted on this monthly exercise in imagination. When we begin with a single word and think about it for a while, we appreciate how many stories reside inside it. Every month brings surprises as we read the work of poets who take the time to consider the word and let it take them on new adventures.

If you haven’t joined this monthly adventure before, or haven’t participated in a while, now is as good a time to get started as any. If you are new to writing poetry, fear not! The poems posted every month represent a range of experience from newbie to seasoned poet. You’ll be in with a totally forgiving, supportive crowd so you never need to worry. Besides, it’s fun to appear on a blog along with the occasional professional who drops by to pitch in a poem. It’s a nice way to practice. In my “yute” I played the trombone. I became pretty good at it, but that was because I practiced every night for a couple of hours. I think it’s the same with writing. The more we practice, the more comfortable we become using words as our instruments to play our tunes.

Word of the Month is all in fun and it gives us a reason to pick up a pencil on a regular basis.

As always, I look forward to reading the poems that will be posted in the coming month. I hope yours will be among them.


Parroties and couplets galore

BULLETIN: Today I’m interviewed by Kathy Temean on her blog: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com . The subject is the importance of choosing themes.

BULLETIN: Since I posted the note below, other delightful parroties have come in. Check out B.J. Lee at the very bottom.

Hi everyone,

I don’t know if it’s over yet, because more poem parroties continue to be posted, but as of yesterday morning seventeen poets have contributed thirty + entertaining poems on the post dated August 24. They include Jane Yolen (4), Cory Corrado (2), Jeanne Poland (2), Renee La Tulippe (3), Julie Krantz, Robyn Hood Black (2), Steven Withrow, Vikram Madan (3), Marilyn Singer (2), Avis Harley, Buffy Silverman, Pat Lewis (3), David Harrison (2), Joyce Sidman, Douglas Florian, and Taylor McGowan. Take a few minutes to read them all from top to bottom. It’s well worth the time. My thanks again to Pat Lewis for suggesting this thoroughly enjoyable exercise.

If you would like to read a collection of great couplets, scroll down a bit further to August 21. There you’ll find fifty-one couplets contributed by twenty poets, including Joy Acey (2), Jane Yolen (11), Don Barrett (3), Cory Corrado, David Harrison (8), Renee La Tulippe (4), Charles Ghigna (6), Taylor McGowan, Ken Slesarik (2), Jane Heitman Healy (2), Buffy Silverman, Sara Holbrook, Brod Bagert, Annalisa Hall (2), Jeanne Poland, Julie Krantz, Vikram Madan, Catherine Johnson, Charles Waters, and Rachel Hendricks.

I particularly want to acknowledge two of our contributors, Taylor McGowan and Rachel Hendricks. These young women are now in middle school but they began posting their poetry on my blog when they were 4th graders. It’s such a pleasure to watch young people grow up sharing a bit of themselves with us here. Thank you, Taylor and Rachel.

My thanks to everyone for pitching in so many exceptional pieces of work. Wonderful job everyone!


Poem of the Week – Branded

Dear visitors: If you’re new around here, you might not know that every week since this blog began in October 2009, my website/blog master, Kathy Temean, has selected one of my previously published poems to post on Sundays. I never know what Kathy will choose. This past Sunday I hated to interrupt the fun we were having with Pat Lewis’s challenge to write what he’s calling PARROTIES, so I postponed the usual Sunday post until today. This poem comes from my most recent collection, which is illustrated by Dan Burr. A couple of years ago we collaborated on a book of poetry called PIRATES.

by David L Harrison from COWBOYS

A new form from J. Patrick Lewis

ANNOUNCEMENT: Because this post has attracted so much interest, I’m leaving it up again today. If you would also like to contribute a couplet, scroll down to August 21 and post it there. DH

Hi everyone,

The challenge for quick couplets brought a ton of wonderful responses. Top prize goes to Jane Yolen who has sent out a plea for help with her “textually transmitted” malady. I posted a 12-step program to help her but she doesn’t much think it will work. Not that I want it to anyway. We need her!

Another stalwart contributer to the couplet fun was none other than our U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis. To take it a step further, yesterday Pat sent me an idea for the next challenge. It’s a little something he calls FIRST LINES, BOWDLERIZED. Here’s how it works. You begin with a famous line, one that is generally recognizable. For example, “Whose woods these are I think I know,” (Frost); “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan,” (Coleridge); or “The time you won your town the race,” (Housman).

Then, as Pat calls it, “It’s off to the races with nuttiness.” He supplied examples that were published in the journal, LIGHT QUARTERLY, Fall/Winter 2008. All rights belong to Pat so I’m posting these with his permission.

Whose words these are I think I know.
They’re owned by Edgar Allan Poe;
His shadow’s standing in the gloom
To watch his words fill up with woe.

Get the idea? Here are two more.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A second-mortgage duplex see
Through some bizarre installment plan
Devised by early sub-prime man,
Unearthed by AIG.
The time you won your town the race
We cheered…then slapped you in the face!
Because your speed, as never seen
Before, was methamphetamine.

So now you have the latest challenge. Write a FIRST LINES, BOWDLERIZED poem and share it with us. I won’t bother to say you have to do this quickly. I tried one to see how it works and it did take a while. But here it is, a takeoff on a famous poem by Omar Khayyam.

The Pickled Finger wrote; and, having writ,
Realized: Red Wine had dulled its Wit,
Nor new sobriety could change a Line,
Nor all its tears wash out a Word of it.

Ready? Set? Go!


My Word of the Month poem

Hi everyone,

Here’s my LINE inspired poem for August.


By David L. Harrison

Avoid a line
If it’s a crack
(Mustn’t break
Your mother’s back)
Don’t cross a line
On a double dare
A bee line
Is drawn in air
Lines on racing tracks
Are swervy
Lines on women
Make them curvy
Some lines divide
Couth from un-
A line dance
Is boots of fun
Some lines are hard
To read between
Some though there
Cannot be seen
String line prevents
A kite’s escape
Not recommended
For an ape
Liner when
Applied to eyes
Helps a girl
Cross some lines
And you can score
Sunburn lines
Will leave you sore
Lines on streets
Keep you in line
Crossing double
Line’s a fine
Chorus liners
Dance to show ‘em
Silly lines
Made up this poem.