Upcoming guests

Happy Monday!

To date this month we’ve enjoyed the work of eight adult poets: Steven Withrow, Amy, Genia, Gay Fawcett, Ken Thomas Slesarik, Mary Nida Smith, Beth Carter, and Reta Stewart Allen. Among the young poets, Taylor McGowan is our only poet to post a poem so far. There is still plenty of time for many more poets to show off their stone-inspired poems. Today is the 10th and we don’t cut off submissions until the night of May 23.

I’ve been looking back at the talented guests who have appeared on my Friday spots. It is a pleasure to bring so many strong voices here and I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am. Here is a list of their names and the dates they appeared.

11-9-09, Wendy Schmalz
11-28-09 , Gay Fawcett
12-4-09, Sylvia Vardell
12-11-09 , Sandy Asher
12-19-09, Marilyn Singer
12-29-09, Mary Jo Fresch
1-8-10, Kathy Temean
1-15-10, Cheryl Harness
1-22-10, Vicki Grove
1-29-10, Laura Robb
2-5-10, Laura Purdie Salas
2-8-10, Laura Purdie Salas continued
2-12-10, Lee Bennett Hopkins
2-19-10, Tim Rasinski
2-26-10, Laura Backes
3-5-10, June Rae Wood
3-12-10, Jane Yolen
3-19-10, Dan Burr
3-26-10, J. Patrick Lewis
4-2-10, Nile Stanley
4-9-10, Bobbi Katz
4-16-10, Gay Fawcett
4-23-10, Rebecca Dotlich
4-30-10, Steven Withrow
5-7-10, Charles Ghigna

Coming up in weeks ahead will be Ruth Culham, Greg Pincus, Georgia Heard, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Suzy Capozzi (editor at Random House Step Into Reading books), Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Christine French Clark (Editor-in-Chief of Highlights for Children).

The list is much longer, but this will give you an idea of the wonderful talent still in store. I continue to send invitations to others as I have time so keep your recommendations coming.



A panel discussion I recommend

My thanks once again to Charles Ghigna for being my guest yesterday. If you haven’t had time yet to read the interview, I hope you will mark it to read later.


I told you that I’ll present in November in Orlando at National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) about our Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. I hope to see some of you there and I encourage you to tell teachers you know to come to my session from 8:00 – 9:15 on Saturday morning, November 20.

There will be a fascinating panel on Friday morning that I recommend and will attend if my flight schedule permits. It’s called Poets and Bloggers Unite: Using Technology to Connect Kids, Teachers, and Poetry. Doesn’t that sound interesting? Our friend Sylvia Vardell,  http://www.blogger.com/profile/00570078181499700656)  put the panel togetherand it includes Lee Bennet Hopkins, http://www.answers.com/topic/lee-bennett-hopkins ; Marilyn Singer, http://www.marilynsinger.net ; Pat Mora,  http://www.patmora.com/ ; Jame Richards, http://www.jamerichards.com/ ; Tricia Stohr-Hunt,  http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/ ; and Elaine Magliaro,  http://www.blogger.com/profile/09829330276633865868 .You will recognize Sylvia, Lee, Marilyn, and Tricia who have all appeared as guests and/or contributors on my blog.

Here’s a glimpse into what Sylvia and the panel intend to discuss: We’ll consider how poets, teachers, and kids can use technology to connect through poetry. Together, we’ll use the interactive medium of the do-it-yourself blog to think deeply and broadly about how virtual learning environments and authentic literacy experiences can inspire and empower students and teachers, connecting with the wider, “real world” community in purposeful ways. What kinds of poetry and strategies engage students to wonder and explore, ask big questions, make discoveries and connections, and learn about themselves and others?

Thanks to the remarkable influece of today’s technology, a panel of dynamic people like these come together to consider how to harness the power of technology to bring poetry into the lives of young readers. I hope some of you will have a chance to attend this session, which takes place on Friday from 9:30-10:45.

If you have thoughts or comments on this subject, please let us know. Thanks!


Young writers

BULLETIN: Teachers and parents, check the new teaching tool on the website page for teachers. I offer it with summer writing in mind. Also, Kathy Temean just put up a new activity for kids on their own page so look at that one too. Thanks, Kathy!

Many of you are good about reading poems posted by young poets and their teachers and leaving positive comments. I hear from many of our young poets (and their teachers and parents) who tell me how much your support means to them. We never know who will grow up to join the next generation of writers and thinkers.

Remember back to when you decided to become a writer. Maybe you just always knew you wanted to write, but other writers I know had their moment of insight because of something that happened, something that was said, some note of encouragement from the right person at the right time. If you read the interviews and articles published during April by Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Greg Pincus, and others, you saw a variety of reasons why those authors turned to writing.

Last Thursday I attended the Writers Hall of Fame banquet to honor young writers from this area, some as young as elementary school, others graduating from high school. These thirty-four students were the winners in a contest that attracted 5,500 entries. I was one of the readers who stood at a microphone reading selected work by the authors and watching the pleasure on their faces as a large, appreciative audience listened intently to their work — THEIR WORK — being read aloud.

The writing was simply wonderful. The audience left that evening with an appreciation of how sharp young writers can be when they learn to write well and develop the patience it takes to keep trying. Eight of the graduating seniors were awarded college scholarsihps to help them continue to develop into the writers they want to become.

Does this kind of encouragement work? Maybe not every time, but for some it may be that “moment” when they see their future. They will write. The president of Writers Hall of Fame, who presided over the banquet last Thursday, is Amos Bridges, a talented and successful journalist for Springfield News-Leader. Some years ago Amos was one of those college-bound recipients of a Writers Hall of Fame scholarship who stood proudly at the annual banquet while someone read his winning work.



More about our adult poets

BULLETIN: Tricia Stohr-Hunt features me today on her blog site at http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/ Each day all month (Poetry Month you know) Tricia is featuring a different poet. If you want to see more, be sure you visit Tricia’s great site.

Yesterday I updated you on our young poets and urged more teaches to get their students involved in the Word of the Month Challenge.Today I thought you might like to see the entire list of adult poets who have been sharing their work with us over the past six months and so far in April.

The totals are becoming impressive. We have sixty-two poets listed below. Steven Withrow and Mary Nida Smith have participated in all seven months from October 2009 through April 2010. Three others — Jan Gallagher, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, and Liz Korba — have appeared six times and still have plenty of time to post poems in April.

Each month we see new poems by a number of poets who routinely join the group to share their latest efforts inspired by the one-word exercise. And every month we are joined by first timers as word of the Word continues to spread.

My thanks to you all — poets and readers alike — who are making this project seem more and more worthwhile.


Rosalind Adam
Jamie Adoff
Reta Stewart Allen
Geradine Baugh
Melanie Bishop
Susan Taylor Brown
Ashley Burns
Stephen Clay Bush
Beth Carter
Mimi Cross
Marjie DeWilde
Gay Fawcett
Jan Gallagher
Genia Gerlach
V. L. Gregory
Jennifer Harrison
Jane Heitman Healy
Yousei Hime
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Jackie Huppenthal
Darlene Beck Jacobson
Andromeda Jazmon
Liz Korba
Becky Kruger
Linda Kulp
Claire McBride
Erin McMullen
Diane Mayr
Brian Miller
Delane Parrott
Valorie Provenzano
Laura Purdie Salas
Vera Jane Goodin Schultz
Lynne Smith
Marilyn Smith
Mary Nida Smith
Terry Smith
Ken Thomas Slesarik
Kathy Stump
Sydney Sullivan
Melanie Szymborski
Kathy Temean
Barbara Turner
Euleta Usrey
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Adrienne VanderPloeg
Judith Lachance-Whitcomb
Fahad Witchking
Steven Withrow
Patricia WoodwardIf you have comments, corrections, or suggestions, please post them below. Thanks!

Places to visit during April Poetry Month

I know that many of you enjoyed my guest yesterday, Nile Stanley. There is always something new to learn and Dr. Stanley is a good teacher. Nile, thank you.

Last year during the month of April, Tricia Stohr-Hunt wrote a series entitled Poetry Makers. Each day she posted an interview with a children’s poet. By the way, not everyone might know that our friend and frequent contributor to the Word of the Month challenge is also Dr. Patricia M. Stohr-Hunt, Chair, Education Department, University of Richmond, VA.This year Tricia is continuing with her interviews and began posting the results yesterday on her blog site, which you can find at http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/search/label/poetry%20makers . Go there if you want to enjoy an entire month of poets, poems, and interviews. Thank you, Tricia, for bringing this all together for us to enjoy.

Another busy person is Greg Pincus, as in http://gottabook.blogspot.com , http://www.thehappyaccident.net , and http://twitter.com/gregpincus
Last year Greg celebrated Poetry Month by introducing a series of 30 poets, beginning with Jack Prelutsky on April 1, ending with Pat Mora, and throwing in a few “beginners” like Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, Janet Wong, Pat Lewis, Mary Ann Hoberman, and 23 other fine poets along the way. You can read about last year’s poets and enjoy their work at: http://gottabook.blogspot.com/2009/03/announcing-30-poets30-days.html

This year Greg is back featuring another lineup of 30 poets. He says that his goal is to create an event that gets attention outside of just committed poetry fans and offers something of value (and fun!) too. The fun began April 1 with Alice Schertle and continued on April 2 with Joseph Bruchac. As Greg says, “I hope you’ll join in the celebration.”

This just in from Ralph and Lisa in England:
Hi David,
A quick note to tell you that the response to the launch of smories.com has been nothing short of overwhelming, and we have had fantastic submissions from across the globe. We want to thank you for helping us spread the word – which of course we appreciate.

We will be announcing the 50 shortlisted stories for the March competition on the 5th of April. On the 1st of May, films of these stories will go live on the website.The April competition is now open until the end of the month. The format is slightly different this time:We will have 5 prizes:

First Prize: US$500
Second Prize: US$400
Third Prize: US$300
Fourth Prize: US$200
Fifth Prize: US$100

Stories will be restricted to 750 words.

Please take a look at the site for further info.

As ever, we welcome your feedback.

Best wishes,

– Ralph & Lisa
More Stories at Smories

Mark your calendars for one week from today, April 10, when Beth Carter will be signing books from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Borders in Springfield, Missouri. I asked Beth about the book and this is what she told me.

The book is a compilation of 1,000 six-word memoirs and is entitled IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT, memoirs from authors famous and obscure. It’s sold on Amazon.com and will be at Borders and Barnes & Noble soon.The book was edited by Smith and is published by Harper. It includes memoirs from famous authors like the late Frank McCourt, Amy Tan and James Frey, as well as memoirs from Pulitzer Prize winners and several celebrities like Marlee Matlin, The Fonz, Ann Coulter, and many others). I attended the last leg of the tour in NYC a few weeks ago and got to read onstage. Quite exciting.Smith received over 200,000 submissions worldwide so I’m quite honored to have been selected. In fact, I’m the only one with two memoirs in the book, according to the editors, and one of mine is on page one!P.S. Another person in this book is celebrity Bob Barker. Contains memoirs from Dave Barry, and many celebs like Marlo Thomas, Neil Patrick Harris, Marlee Matlin, Molly Ringwald, Dr. Oz, Kenny G, Melissa Ethridge and many more.Congratulations, Beth. I hope your fingers get cramped signing on April 10!