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.

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. 

Back to work. Have a good week everyone.


Taking a semi-sabbatical

Dear friends,

I’m at work on four books and have a full schedule this spring and summer. Something has to change, for now, if I’m to make my deadlines.


 Word of the Month Poetry Challenge continues without interruption.
 I’ll announce a revamped way to select month-end winners as soon as I figure out a good way.
 Friday blog guests will continue to appear as they file their articles with me. Some great ones are coming up soon.
Kathy Temean will continue to post my Poem of the Week.
 If you would like to do a guest blog this summer of 500 words or less about something of interest to writers and illustrators of children’s literature, please let me know. I’ll post one a week as they come in.
 If you want to post one of your poems, and include a picture, I’ll be glad to feature you. I’ll do one poem at a time but don’t mind featuring you more than once over the summer.
 This offer also applies to our young poets!

That’s it. I’ll continue to enjoy your comments and respond to them.

I’ll return in August on a more routine basis.

I wish you a wonderful spring/summer filled with good experiences and lots to write about or remember. Thank you all for visiting me here, for participating in my surveys, for posting your comments and advice and, most of all, for your warm reception to my first year’s efforts to learn about this blogging business.


The poll results are in



Yesterday Marjorie Maddox’s guest appearance was a big hit and drew warmly appreciative comments from fans new and old. Thank you again, Marjorie, for agreeing to be my guest.

My thanks for the feedback you have provided this past week by indicating what you like most and, by process of elimination, least about various features of my blog. This has been helpful.

For each 1st place vote I assgned a value of 3; a 2nd place vote was worth 2; and a 3rd place vote was given a 1. Only a few people voted but I assume that they are representative of those who remained silent on the issues. Here are the results.

24 — Monthly Word of the Month Challenge
14 — Occasional Poetry Tips
11 — Friday Guests
6 — Sunday Poem of the Week
3 — Monthly Voting for Hall of Fame Poets
2 — Monthly Teaching Tool
1 — Monthly Kids Activity

It seems clear that the fun of writing and posting monthly poems far outweighs the process of voting for a monthly winner. Therefore I’ll change that beginning next month. For this month, which cuts off Sunday night, we’ll vote as usual. After that I’ll rethink what we do. I could skip the selection process altogether or seek some way to select monthly winning poems without a general vote from readers. What I do not wish to do is become involved in personally critiquing all those poems each month. Sorry, but this has to be fun for me too. Maybe I’ll hit on a few friends to help me by reading the poems, casting ballots among ourselves, and then I could announce the winner. Let me know if you have comments on this.

I’m not sure how to respond to the low votes for the Teaching Tool and Kids Activity pages on my website. We didn’t have much of a turnout for this voting and I don’t know if any teachers were among those who cast ballots. Teachers tell me they find those pages helpful so for now I’m inclinded to keep them. I often wonder how many blog visitors click onto the website itself but I figure there aren’t many. The more I get into this blogging, the more I can identify with the new human specie affectionately known (to me at least) as a blog hopper. That’s where a lot of fun and action seem to be.

Thanks again for your help. Don’t forget to post a poem based on STONE before Sunday night at 10:00!


Catching up


Hi everyone,

We’ve been moving quickly lately so I need to pause and catch up. Four things.

1) On January 9 we began a lively discussion about children’s poetry in general and humorous poetry in particular. We’ve had several dozen comments and they continue to come in as new readers find the place. If you haven’t gone back through all the remarks, I hope you’ll do that and respond to anything that leaves you wanting to make another comment of your own.

2) Per Kathy Temean’s January 12 suggestion, we set out to collect and discuss various fixed forms of verse. Our first entry, the haiku, has generated some good discussion. We could go on like this, posting whatever comes in and in whatever order, but I smell a lot of work in it for me and a certain amount of confusion for drop-in readers.

So here’s my proposal. I’ll put together a list of traditional forms to get us started. I’ll post them one at a time when we don’t have other business on the agenda. What happens next will be up to you. If I describe a couplet, you can share a couplet. If we’re discussing a short ballad, your short ballads will be appreciated. That way we can advance one form at a time and anyone who wants to can comment, question, and/or pitch in an example. I’ll begin with a general discussion and plan to kick things off early next week. Is this okay with everyone?

3) On January 13 I invited anyone who would like to post websites to add them under that date. We’ve already had several takers but I don’t want to move past the opportunity without reminding you that it’s an ongoing invitation. If you are interested but haven’t gotten to it yet, please keep track of the date.

4) We all enjoyed Cheryl Harness’s guest blog yesterday. Cheryl, thanks again for taking your time to share with us. I look forward to seeing you in Warrensburg before long.

Coming up on the Friday guest blog schedule are Vicki Grove (1/22), Laura Robb (1/29), Laura Purdie Salas (2/5), and Lee Bennett Hopkins (2/12). A number of others are working on articles and I’ll post them on Fridays as they become available. Let me know if there is a subject or person you would like to see and I’ll do my best.

There! I think I’m caught up.

Except for your Word of the Month Poems. We need LOTS more of those!