NEW THING: Woza Woza Poem!

ANNOUNCEMENT: My thanks to Mimi Cross for writing such a lovely article about her experience in my three-hour poetry intensive session at the New Jersey SCBWI state conference in June. I just received a copy of Sprouts, Issue 3, 2010, which carries Mimi’s article. Thanks to Editor-in-Chief Kathy Temean, Executive Editor Anita Nolan, and especially to Mimi. Here is the link to the journal: .

Hello Everyone,

I’m pleased to show you another of those marvelous videos that Jana Smith and her students have created. This one, by Hope, is a real delight. If you like it, please let her know in your comments.
Here is the poem link:

If you are among those who indicated on the survey that you enjoy writing poetry, here’s another challenge. This one comes from South Africa and from none other than our friend Silindile Ntuli, who goes by Soul Dose on her site ( ).

Silindile suggested this new poetry challenge, which is open to adults and students, and shall be known as a Woza Woza Poem. Woza woza is a Zula term for something that has such strong appeal that we find ourselves returning to it again and again. At least I think that’s the definition. If I’m not quite accurate, I trust Silindile to correct me. Little by little she has been teaching me a few words and terms of Zulu.

Here’s the proposition.

1) Today I give you the first line of a poem.
2) After tomorrow’s post is up, someone else must add a line.
3) Post your suggested next line in the comments box.
4) I’ll choose one of your suggested lines to add to the poem.
5) Each day I’ll repeat the process of selecting one of the new proposed lines to add to the growing poem.
6) We’ll do this all month until the final poem is 30 lines long.

That’s it. Sound interesting? Are you hooked?

I think a Woza Woza poem can be composed in verse or in free verse. It can even be a combination of both over the course of the 30 days of November. However, I propose to start this first poem in free verse. Here is my first line.

Today I saw something I’ve never seen before.

Got it? Okay, be thinking about a second line. Tomorrow I’ll expect to see some killer ideas!

My thanks to Silindile for suggesting this new fun challenge. Let’s try our first Woza Woza Poem and see where it leads.


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.


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.


Interested in a Highlights poetry workshop?

BULLETIN: I’m glad to tell you that you are about to meet another outstanding guest on my blog this Friday. JonArno Lawson is coming and he will post a great essay on NONSENSE. Don’t miss learning about JonArno on Thursday when I post his bio and reading his remarks on Friday.

It’s a soggy week in southwest Missouri. I’m sitting here with thunder in my ears and lightning skipping around the early morning sky.I’ve agreed to give a three day workshop on poetry in Honesdale, Pennsylvania on June 2-5, 2011. This is part of the Highlights Foundation series of workshops and is held at the farmhouse where the founders of Highlights for Children once lived. I’ve stayed there before, taken walks in the nearby woods, and looked across the road to Boyds Mill, which was the inspiration for the book division’s name. It’s a perfect location to recharge yourself and find your muse.

I haven’t posted anything on the Highlights site yet but I will soon. I’m told that one person has already signed up so I guess you can do that now though the event is more than a year away. These groups are always kept small. I think there’s room for ten or twelve people. I’ll tell you more in the next week or two as I get organized for June 2011. First I need to finish getting organized for June 2010.


I can’t believe how quickly the date is approaching for the New Jersey regional SCBWI conference. My role for that one is to give a three-hour poetry workshop plus a keynote talk on Friday, June 4 and a repeat talk on Saturday the 5th.

Over the weekend I received a packet of manuscripts to critique for several writers who have made plans to attend the conference and I look forward to meeting with you in Princeton. I’m almost finished with my keynote talk and have a good idea about the workshop. If anyone has questinos or comments about what you want me to include in either presentation, send them to me.David

New Jersey SCBWI in June

I was pleased to accept Kathy Temean’s invitation to
speak this summer in Princeton, New Jersey at the annual state SCBWI conference. If you haven’t checked the conference website to see who is coming, I recommend it to you.

Here’s the address:

There will be quite a lineup of editors, agents, and authors on tap to make the agenda worthwhile for those who attend. This looks like an outstanding opportunity. I’ve already heard from some of you who live in the general area and plan to be there. I look forward to meeting you.

During the past forty years I’ve been privileged to speak before writers, English teachers, librarians, reading teachers, and on college campuses. What I have not done is go to an SCBWI conference to give a keynote talk and lead a poetry workshop. Thanks to Kathy I’m once again trying new experiences.

If you have questions, contact Kathy: or Laurie: .