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

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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.

ADULT POETS

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

YOUNG POETS

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.

And our June Hall of Fame Poet is . . .

I’m proud to announce that this month’s Hall of Fame Poet is from my own hometown! Virginia (V.L.) Gregory is our top vote getter and so will wear the crown for the month of June. Congratulations, Virginia. Way to go for Springfield, Missouri! Obviously I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed your poem.

Steven Withrow and Liz Korba also did well but are ineligible to win again during this twelve-month period. Julie Krantz, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and Cherie Geisler Neal also made a run at winning this month and I’m sure they will continue to grow their fan bases as we go along.

My thanks as always to everyone who participated in June as a poet, a reader, or a voter. Here’s to July and another bumper crop of poems inspired by one word.

And the word for July? What else? ITCH. Make you think of anything? I’m eager to see what your fertile minds scratch up.

I have more good news. We are getting quite a lineup of Guest Readers on tap for the coming weeks. Tomorrow you’ll meet Carol-Ann Hoyte. Ken Slesarik is up on July 7 and he’s followed by Wendy Singer on July 14 and Nancy Gow on July 21. Wendy and Nancy took Carol-Ann’s advice to send me a picture and poem. They all live in Montreal.

I hope many others will take Carol-Ann’s advice too!

Sometime soon we’ll have another Friday Featured Guest. As we speak, Charles Waters is at work on an interview. So we have plenty to look forward to this summer and we’ve hardly begun!

David

Word of the Month Challenge after 9 months

REMINDER: You still have time to vote for the June Hall of Fame Poet. We don’t shut off the polls until tonight at 10:00. Each month since October we have enjoyed a number of strong efforts and I think the poems in June rank very high on the list.

If you want to read the poems again before choosing your favorite, there is a line in red letters just above the ballot box (posted the 26th) that says to click on it to read all the poems for June.

Tomorrow we’ll announce the June Hall of Fame Poet and give you the word for July. I think you’ll like it.

We are wrapping up our first nine months of Word of the Month and I’m proud of what has happened. Thanks to you we’ve read 173 poems posted by 68 poets. Slightly more than half (37) of you have posted one poem so far.

Three of you (Liz Korba, Mary Nida Smith, and Steven Withrow) have posted at least one poem in all nine months! Three others (Beth Carter, Janet Gallagher, and Barbara Turner) have missed only once and two (Tracie Stohr-Hunt and Jackie Huppenthal) have posted seven times.

I think these are remarkable numbers which, collectively, represent a treasury of poetry that continues to grow with each passing month. My hat is off to everyone and the invitation is always out for others to join in the monthly exercise of creating a poem inspired by a single word.

Thanks everyone,
David

New Jersey SCBWI

My thanks again to Rob Shepperson for his enjoyable and informative Q/A interview on yesterday’s post.

I arrived in Princeton Thursday night. Yesterday I conducted a three-hour poetry workshop, gave the luncheon talk, and visited with authors about their manuscripts in the afternoon. Today I’ll give a briefer version of the workshop and finish the one-on-one critiques. Mimi Cross is here. So is Liz Korba as well as Jeanne Balsam. It’s good to finally meet people in person after meeting them on the blog and in e-mails!

Yesterday at my keynote, Michele Heinrichs drove two hours from West Chester, Pennsylvania to bring her daughter Rachel. When I told the audience about Rachel and her poetry, she received a huge round of applause. I read her most recent poem and everyone was very impressed. The luncheon was attended by authors, artists, editors, and agents. Rachel was the only child in the room and she reminded us all of why we do what we do to create literature for young people.

This is a good conference but considering that Kathy Temean is running it, this comes as no surprise. I’m meeting a lot of people, making new friends, and enjoying the company of so many writers, artists, and others who care about making children’s literature. My thanks to Kathy and her great team of volunteers who are making this all come together so well.

David