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

Announcing Dan Burr

Dan Burr

and I had a terrific time creating Pirates. Dan will explain how he and I worked on the book and share numerous helpful insights into how a first rate artist thinks and approaches each project when he appears as my blog guest on March 19. I’m excited to present him to you.

It’s hard to image that we’re now entering our fifth month of Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. Each month we are joined by a large percentage of poets who take the challenge regularly and welcome several new poets who have joined us. I thought you might like a recap of our Hall of Fame Poet and Hall of Fame Young Poet winners from the first four complete months. No one can win twice during the twelve month period ending this September, but that doesn’t keep our previous winners from sharing their poetry each month and garnering their share of votes from fans old and new. Congratulations again to all winners and everyone who has become part of this monthly exercise that’s meant to strengthen our imaginative approach to writing, be it poetry or anything else.

Hall of Fame Winners

OCTOBER Word: Dirt
Adult Poet, Mimi Cross, New Jersey, Dirt Blues
Young Poet, Alyssa Kirch, Missouri, Mud Pie

NOVEMBER Word: Thanks
Adult Poet, Liz Korba, New Jersey, You’re Welcome
Young Poet, Claire Scott, Maryland, Thanks for Nothing
DECEMBER Word: Bone
Adult Poet, Linda Kulp, Maryland , Wishes
Young Poet, Priya Shah, Maryland, A Mother’s Wish
JANUARY Word: Time
Adult Poet, Steven Withrow, Rhode Island, The Time Ship
Young Poet, John Sullivan, Ohio, End

FEBRUARY Word: Road

Online chat today

BULLETIN: I just returned home from doing the online chat. My thanks to all of you who joined me and my sincere apologies for all those questions I didn’t get to. I was originally told to expect to be online about 20 -30 minutes. After more than 60 minutes I hadn’t responded to half the long list of questions that kept pouring in.

I am especially sorry that so many students had questions that went unanswered. I needed another hour or more.

You teachers with disappointed students, please send me the unanswered questions. I promise to respond here on the blog over the next day or two. And that goes for any adults who didn’t get an answer. Okay?

My thanks to our December poets who have been sharing delightful efforts inspired by “bone.” So far we’ve heard at least once from Steven Withrow, Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Mary Nida Smith, Liz Korba, Barbara Turner, Jackie Huppenthal, Andromeda Jazmon, Diane Mayr, Janet Gallagher, and Marjie DeWilde. The range of format, message, and depth of the poems has shown once again how many stories a single word can hold.

So far this month we have not heard from our student poets. We know how busy December is for teachers and students alike, but I hold out hope that we’ll still be treated to some bone poems by our young poets out there!

rubberman

Today I’ll be featured on an online chat hosted by 417 Magazine. You can find me at http://www.417mag.com/417-Magazine/A-chat-with-a-David-Harrison starting at 2:00 P.M. CST.Writers, teachers, librarians, parents, and students are welcome to click in on the interview or join in with questions. I hope to hear from a lot of my blog friends. You can read more at http://www.417mag.com .

David