Calling on young poets


For teachers who have not visited this site, let me tell you about the Word of the Month Poetry Challenge, which is free and open to all students from grades 3 – 12. Just above this post you’ll see Young Poets W.O.M. Poems. Click on that and you’ll see the simple guidelines. Essentially, classroom teaches are invited to post up to three of their students’ poems each month so that other readers of the blog can enjoy the young poets’ work and offer encouragement.

Each month we choose a winner, known as the Monthly Hall of Fame Young Poet, by popular vote. At the end of the twelve month period, the twelve winners’ poem will be posted again and we’ll have a vote for Young Poet of the Year.

Each month I post a new word. The word for March is “life.” Young poets write poems inspired by the word of the month and we’ve seen tremendous variety in voices and subjects that spring from that simple beginning. If your principal would like additional information about this project, you’ll find a letter to principals also posted at the top of this page. If your students are home schooled, we welcome their poems too.

Adults have their own category and each month we see poems posted from the United States and abroad. I don’t think we’ve heard from any young poets in other countries yet but I look forward to that. If you have any questions, please let me know. The idea is to give students a taste of the fun of writing and help build confidence by taking a single word, considering what might be said about that word, and composing a poem based on those thoughts.

Thanks, and I hope to hear from you,


Our new Hall of Fame Poet and our new word for March

We now offer official congratulations to our Hall of Fame Poets for February. Join me in saluting Beth Carter as our fifth adult poet and Megan Barnett as our fifth young poet to be selected by popular vote to our gallery of monthly winners. V. L. Gregory finished 2nd and Gay Fawcett finished 3rd. Among our young poets, Bennett Miller was 2nd and Grace O’Leary was 3rd.

Sundays are normally when Kathy Temean posts a poem from one of my books but this month we’re postponing the Poem of the Week until Monday so that I can announce today the Poet of the Month and tell you the word that will challenge us in March.

Here are the words so far: dirt (October), thanks (November), bone (December), time (January), and road (February). I’ve given a lot of thought to this month’s word and here’s what I decided.

The word for March is “life.” What could be juicier than that?

If history repeats, we’ll see a rush of inspiration in the next week, and I can’t wait to see what our poets have to say about life. If you haven’t joined us yet, what better time than now? I hope to see a record number of poems this month and to see them from poets in many parts of the United States and the world.

Sharpen your pencils and your wit, everyone.