Welcome to my blog

Hello everyone,

If you’re visiting me here for the first time, welcome. I’m taking a semi-sabbatical this summer to make room for various book projects that require a lot of time.

Word of the Month Challenge goes right on so get busy and share your poem with the readers who come here. Click on Adult Word of the Month and Young Poet Word of the Month Challenge at the top of this page for the guidelines of this ongoing project and join the fun. I’ll be reporting on Word of the Month in November at NCTE in Orlando. This month’s word is (SONG).

When you are ready to post your poem, PLEASE do so by scrolling to the bottom of the appropriate category and dropping your poem into the last box; then hit submit. If you just want to read what has already been posted, you’re in for a treat. I hope you will leave comments when you see something you like.

I will continue to post a Poem of the Week on Sundays and Featured Guests on Fridays (when I have someone).

Also this summer I’m especially interested in posting Guest Readers who wish to send me a poem with picture and/or a brief article of 500 words or less on subjects pertaining in some way to children’s literature: writing, illustrating, editing, marketing, trends, etc. If you are interested, please get in touch!

I enjoyed myself at the New Jersey SCBWI conference and thank those of you who have been in touch since I returned to Springfield. You have my best wishes for great success with your own writing. I invite you to visit my website (Kathy Temean’s handiwork). If you didn’t get copies of my handouts for the poetry workshop in Princeton and would like a set, let me know and I’ll be glad to e-mail it to you.

If you are interested in reading my recent blog article — From Idea to Market: Writing for the Process — here’s the link to save you time looking.  https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/david-l-harrison-today/ 

Back to work. Have a good week everyone.


Coming up this week

REMINDER: Time to vote for your March Word of the Month favorite adult and student poems. Tomorrow night at 10:00 CST is the cutoff. Congratulations to our leaders so far. Laura Purdie Salas and Jackie Huppenthal are tied in first place followed closely by Fahad, drj3kyll, DeLane Parrott, and Liz Korba (a previouis winner). Students are led by Colin Hurley with Anne, Josh, Victoria, and Fareid all tied in second place.

Make today and tomorrow count with your votes! Thanks.

Hello everyone. Here are some events to expect this week.

Tuesday, March 30: Poetry Tip #4 will be posted. I’ll discuss punctuation and capitalization plus how words and lines can be designed and/or arranged to help enhance the impact and underscore the intent of your poem.

Tuesday night at 10:00 CST we’ll cut off voting for the March Word of the Month Poems.

Wednesday, March 31: March Hall of Fame Poets will be announced and the word of the month for April will be revealed. You don’t want to miss that!

Thursday, April 1: I’ll post the biographical information about this week’s guest, Nile Stanley. Nile is an author, teacher, poet, and performer. You’re going to enjoy his appearance on Friday.

Also, if anyone wants to post an April Fools Day poem in the comment section, that’s the day to do it.

Friday, April 2: My guest Nile Stanley will present some remarks and also share a “digi-poem” with us.

It promises to be a busy week so I hope you’ll join us.


Important Reminders and the New Word!!!

I can’t believe the activity we’ve had from voters and visitors expressing pleasure in October’s dirt poems! We’ve been so busy that I hated to break in with a Saturday post so we have some things to cover now.

1) My poem of the week will go up on Monday instead of Sunday.

2) There is still plenty of time to vote. We won’t cut off the October balloting until twelve o’clock noon on Tuesday, November 3. Alyssa is ahead on votes at the moment but that could change by Tuesday!

3) On Tuesday afternoon I’ll declare our winner(s) for October. Be sure to check back for that announcement.

4) We’re establishing two divisions: an adult and a juvenile. Everyone is cheering for Alyssa and we hope that many other students will take the challenge to send us their poems too. But to keep the voting field even, let’s face it, most adults don’t have the same opportunities to campaign for votes that students do! What has happened here is that a heads up teacher, Nancy Raider, saw to it that her talented young poet had a chance to show us what she can do. And this has demonstrated the great potential for using ths blog poetry challenge not only for the benefit and amusement of adults but for encouraging who knows how many students to join the fun. I’m grateful to you all for helping us break ground and see the future more clearly.

5) Are you ready for the word for November? Here it is: thanks.

6) Here are important dates for the November challenge.
November 21: Cutoff date for thanks poem postings
November 23: Posting of all poems submitted
November 25: Voting begins on November’s thanks poems
November 30: Voting ends
December 1: Winners announced

Got all that? We had so many wonderful poems shared during our first month and I’m looking forward to reading our poets’ efforts in November!

With best wishes,

Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks

Today I’ll be one of the authors who will speak to groups of children at the 29th annual Children’s Literature Festival of the Ozarks. The event is sponsored by a group of committed women (mostly librarians) and the Missourit State University English Department and is held on the campus of Missouri State University.

Other authors and artists who will appear are J. B. Cheaney, Lisa Campbell Ernst, Vicki Grove, Cheryl Harness, Veda Boyd Jones, Kate Klise, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Anna Myers, Brad Sneed, Michael Spradlin, June Rae Wood, Leslie Wyatt, and Judy Young.

I never prepare a formal talk for these occasions when I’ll be in front of young students; no script, no outline, no notes. I feel more comfortable when I can stand in front of the audience, talk for a while about who I am and what I do, and watch their faces to measure level of interest. Before long the first hand goes up and I know we’ve made contact. I love opportunities to visit with young people. Writers need to remain in touch with their audience and the best way to do that is to meet them in their schools and at wonderful festivals like this one.

I don’t know how you’ll spend today, but I don’t see how it can top mine.


Billy Collins reading

Yesterday I sat in the audience and listened to the delightful presentation by Billy Collins. His droll humor came through in his narrative as well as in his poems. He is a master at making everyday events and objects take on new meanings. His best work often winks at you from the page and his poems always feel like personal anecdotes that he wants to share with his reader.

Collins says that he sometimes begins a poem without a clear idea of where it will take him. One day he was doodling on a pad, needing something to write about. He wrote two words and challenged himself to write a poem about those two words. The words were hippopotamus and holiday. He then read the poem, “Hippos on Holiday,” that eventually emerged from the exercise.

I thought the advice was worth passing along to you. I’ve used the same technique but it’s nice to hear that a United States Poet Laureate employs it too.

For the fun of it, I’ll choose one word and accept the challenge to write a poem that springs from that word. My word is dirt. I’ll post a poem based on dirt no later than one week from today (Sunday, October 11). My poem may be humorous or serious, verse or free verse, long or short.

If you would like to try the same technique, pick a word — mine or your own — let us know what you’ve chosen, and post the resulting poem one week from today.