Activities to remember


First I want to thank my Guest Reader, Silindile Ntuli, who appeared here yesterday and generated a lot of excitement and comments. If you haven’t checked her out yet, I hope you will soon.

I know of others who are planning to be my Guest Readers but no one is on hand yet for next week. Please don’t hang back. This has been a meaningful summer series enjoyed by many people. All you need to do is send me your picture and a poem. If you would rather send an article about yourself and your writing, that’s fine too. Please keep the article to 500 words or under. You can do both and be featured twice. How’s that?

Have you voted yet for the July Hall of Fame Poet? Don’t forget. Here’s the link: . At this time our leaders are Steven Withrow, V. L. Gregory, and Silindile Ntuli. The polls close this Friday night so don’t let your chance slip by.

Found Poems are still pouring in at . Cory Corrado must have more than a dozen by now. Finding poetry in everyday prose is a great way to exercise our powers of observation and sensitivity to the accidental poetic arrangement of words. Georgia Heard has visited the site more than once to check out the growing collection. As I told you, Georgia is currently compiling a book of Found Poems so she is open to the discovery of good ones. To learn more about Georgia and her wonderful work, here’s a link.


Okay, I’m back


Hi everyone,

We had a good time on vacation and got home to bed about 3:00 Sunday morning. It’s always good to be home.

Thanks for all the poems, comments, and ideas that came along while I was slathering on lotion at the beach. I’m eager to read and comment!

Have you read the Found Poems that continue to come in? They’re great fun and, I think, an excellent exercise in using our powers of observation to spot the poetic among the prose of everyday writing. On my trip home on United I discovered two more examples. One came from an advertisement about snoring and the other was from a short, humorous article by Kimball Taylor about a surfing contest for dogs. I’m eager to send them along to Georgia Heard.


This week at a glance

It has been a good week.

Monday I introduced a new challenge for anyone interested in composing Found Poems using pre-existing prose found in all sorts of publications. We have read several excellent poems so far and they continue to come in. Please don’t forget about this opportunity. Georgia Heard is checking that post to see if she can spot poems she could use in her upcoming book.

Tuesday I summarized our ITCH poems posted so far. Here they are again.


Steven Withrow: The Witch’s Itches
Mary Nida Smith: Bewitched
Gay Fawcett: Itch (written by Laura C., a former student)
Ken Thomas Slesarik: Itchy Dilemma
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater: Why Me?
Jane Heitman Healy: In the Mirror
Jane Heitman Healy: Letting Go
Barbara Turner: Mr. Poe’s Itch
Julie Krantz: Blood Brothers


Taylor McGowan: Little Nuisance

Since then we have received these additional poems.

Gay Fawcett: A Lady’s Fame
Liz Korba: Which Itch?

Wednesday it was my pleasure to feature Wendy Singer’s remarks and poem. Wendy continues to receive many comments from fans old and new. She was my 6th Guest Reader.  These Canadians are doing all right for themselves! Where are my poets from other countries?

Thursday I re-featured the pictures of all six of my Guest Readers so far. That made a great looking page with talented people from New York, Florida, Arkansas, Arizona, and Montreal.

Friday I gave you a link to my three-day poetry workshop next June in Pennsylvania and announced the coming appearances of Nancy Gow (July 21) as my next Guest Reader and Gary Dulabaum as a Featured Friday Guest.

Not a bad week, considering that I’m supposed to be taking time off this summer to write more.

Announcing a new challenge


Here’s a new one for you. Have you ever tried your hand at composing Found Poems? This is another great exercise because it sharpens our sense for things poetic and offers the thrill of the hunt.

The definition of a Found Poem is as follows:
A poet takes an existing text and refashions and reorders the words and presents them as poems. A Found Poem consists exclusively of outside texts; the words of the poem remain as they were found. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.

Here are a few rules for a Found Poem:
 The original author (or source) must not have intended the text to be poetry
 Finders may cut words and add line breaks but may not add words
 Finders may add their own title
 The original source of the text must be cited and can be included as part of the poem
Here is a list of possible places where you might “find” a poem:
 Newspapers and Magazines
 Signs or Bulletin Boards in School Hallways
 A Note Found on the Floor
 A Sign in a Classroom or Cafeteria
 An English Test
 Billboards
 Street Signs
 Greeting Cards
 Food Containers (cereal boxes, etc.)
 Menus
 A Social Studies Textbook or Other Books
 Emails and Texts
 Slips of Discarded Paper
 Overheard Speech or Conversation

If you have a Found Poem, please post it in the comments section below this post. I hope to see many of you share your creative discoveries. There is no limit so fire away.

To make this challenge more inviting, you should know that Georgia Heard, who is scheduled to be one of my featured guests, is currently gathering Found Poems for a new book for ages 8-11 that she’s compiling for Roaring Brook Press. Georgia is looking forward to seeing the poems posted on my blog. This is an opportunity for you to compete for a spot in her book.

To help guide you, here’s an example of one of my own Found Poems.

New York, New York

New York City,
magnet for people
from around the world,
constantly pushing forward,
stretching boundaries –
New York, uniquely
New York.

Found poem source:
American Airlines magazine,
American Way, June 1, 2010
Article by Gerald J. Arpey
Chairman & CEO
American Airlines
Borrowed words are in red.

Whenever I visit New York City, I marvel at how much can change there in a short period of time. The city is a magnet for people, capital, talent and energy from around the world, in part because it is constantly pushing forward, stretching the boundaries of what a city can be. And yet, New York is always uniquely New York.