It’s time to post a word for Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. This is the 153rd word since I started in October 2009. Other than me, we have no poets who have posted a poem for all 153 words but some have taken the challenge many times, including Mary Nida Smith, Jeanne Poland, Cory Corrado (Canada), Su Hutchens, Bryn Strudwick (England), and Jane Yolen. Who am I leaving out?
The first Word of the Month poem, back in 2009, was DIRT. In those early days we voted each month to pick a winner, a custom I dropped before long. We were in it to have fun and competition spoiled the fun for too many. I still have a record of the poets who were monthly winners that first year. For DIRT, the winner was Mimi Cross (New Jersey) for “Dirt Blues.” Winners of the other eleven months were “You’re Welcome” by Liz Korba (New Jersey); “Wishes” by Linda Kulp (Maryland); “The Time Ship” by Steven Withrow (Rhode Island); “A Country Drive” by Beth Carter (Missouri); 2-way tie: “Without” by Laura Purdie Salas (Minnesota) and “The Life of a Housewife” by Jackie Huppenthal (Indiana); “All Nestled In” by Barbara J. Turner (New Hampshire); “Stone Wise” by Mary Nida Smith (Arkansas); “Song of the West” by V. L. Gregory (Missouri); “Itch in My Sweater” by Silindile Ntuli (South Africa); “Modern Love” by Ken Slesarik — aka K. Thomas Slesarik (Arizona); and “The Book Movement” by Euleta Usrey.
We used to have a number of teachers who routinely posted the poetic efforts of their students in our student section of Word of the Month, but they’ve all quit. Too many other things to do? Poetry isn’t important enough? Kids don’t care? I wish I knew. I regret the decisions and circumstances that resulted in some many children in this country and around the world being denied the chance to grow their writing skills through poetry. I hope times will change and our teachers will come back to us.
Since 2009 I’ve accidently repeated myself a few times but Cory keeps and shares with me a record of words, which helps tremendously. I left home without bringing that record so for July I risk posting another duplicate. If this one is a repeat, I suspect it hasn’t been used for a long time so it won’t hurt to use it again.
Let the word for July 2021 Word of the Month Poetry Challenge be POEM.