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 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!

Calling all young poets!


Believe it or not, our Word of the Month Poetry Challenge is now in its seventh month. Today I want to stress the need to support student writers and their teachers who help them participate in the challenge.

The word for April is SPRING. Cutoff for entries for “spring” poems is 10:00 CST on Friday, April 23 so there is plenty of time to get those poems written and posted. For complete guidelines, go to the box right above this blog and click on Young Poets W.O.M. Poems.

I know there are many demands on a teacher’s time so to work in the opportunity to write poems and enter them in this monthly exercise in imagination is not an easy thing to do. Yet teachers in Missouri, Maryland, Oregon, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have, and we are looking for other teachers who will also help their students join the fun.

If you or a teacher you know is interested and needs more information, it’s easy to contact me. Send your question through Contact on my website. I’ll get right back to you.

Here is a summary of our Monthly Hall of Fame Young Poets through the first six months. I know you will remember many of these talented young poets.

October 2009:Alyssa Kirch, 5th Grade
Disney Elementary
Springfield, Missouri
Nancy Raider, Teacher

November 2009: Claire Scott, 7th Grade
Monocacy Middle School
Frederick, Maryland
Linda Kulp, Teacher

December 2009: Priya Shah, 7th Grade
Monocacy Middle School
Frederick, Maryland
Linda Kulp, Teacher

January 2010: John Sullivan, 6th Grade
Maumee Valley Country Day
Toledo, Ohio
Jana Foster, Teacher

February 2010: Megan Barnett, 6th Grade
Maumee Valley Country Day
Toledo, Ohio
Jana Foster, Teacher

March 2010: Colin Hurley, 3rd Grade
Jeffries Elementary
Springfield, Missouri
Chloe Shank, Teacher

Quite a lineup of young poets and supportive teachers! Other great teachers who have participated so far include:

Becky Kruger, Ray Miller Elementary, Kirksville, Missouri
Mrs. Chapman, Ray Miller Elementary, Kirksville, Missouri
Janet King, Joel E. Barber School, Lebanon, Missouri
Becky Kruger, Ray Miller Elementary, Kirksville, Missouri
Miss Poston, Ray Miller Elementary, Kirksville, Missouri
Jennifer Harrison, William Walker Elementary, Portland Oregon
Marjie DeWilde, Boyd Elementary, Springfield, Missouri
Mrs. Wormington, Field Elementary, Springfield, Missouri
Andrea Wimberley, Field Elementary, Springfield, Missouri
Mr. Bax, Field Elementary, Springfield, Missouri
Amanda Demster, Boyd Elementary, Springfield, Missouri
Mrs. Swafford, Boyd Elementary, Springfield, Missouri
Sharon Brock, Study Middle School, Springfield, Missouri
Michelle Heinrichs (parent), Glen Acres Elementary, West Chester, Pennsylvania

And here’s a quick look at other young poets who have entertained and impressed us with their creative work.

Tasha Freed
Maisha Khan
Peres Reed
Kelsey Winfrey
Serena Berrey
Beau Coffie
Naresh Moudgil
Cassidy Redding
Hope Murphy
Fareid Elgafy
Karena Amy
Natalie Skaist
Maddy O’Donnell
Chase Cantrell
Will Grosser
Zane Wimmer
Ian Wooten
Seamus Williams
Marleigh Banaei
Jessie Hummer
Teea Orem
Levi Graham
Zimm Reeves
Aaliyah Brizendine
Laura Bigbee
Cecily White
Sam Shekut
Brandy Johnston
Rachel Heinrichs
Grace O’Leary
Bennett Miller
Victoria Kessinger
Anne Fox-Strauss
Victoria Kessinger
Taylor A. McGowan

A standing round of applause for all participants please!


Marilyn Singer

I’m happy to announce that the many-talented Marilyn Singer will appear on December 18 as my blog guest. She will bring with her some excellent tips for writing poetry so mark the 18th on your calendar.

I’ll post Marilyn’s bio on the 17th but here are a few hints to get you started on your own search. Marilyn Singer was born in the Bronx and lived most of her early life in N. Massapequa (Long Island), NY. She attended Queens College, City University of New York, and for her junior year, Reading University, England. She taught English in New York City high schools for several years before turning to writing.

Don’t forget to let me know if you have topics or guests you would like to see on my blog.


Alyssa Kirch and Classmates

October Hall of Fame Young Poet

David reading with David Wommack

I mentioned in a recent post that I visited Nancy Raider’s classroom. There I met Alyssa Kirch who was our October Hall of Fame Young Poet. I thought you might also like to meet this charming young poet and two of her classmates, David Wommack and Noah Lawson.

David reading with Noah Lawson

Many thanks to Sylvia Vardell for her guest post yesterday (11/4). A good many of you have been stopping by to read her insightful article. I’m sorry I forgot to mention her own splendid blog but in case you haven’t located it yet, here’s the address.
For anyone interested in my Teacher page, there’s a new teaching idea for December.

The variety in this month’s poems is a pleasure to see. We’ve already had a dozen “bone” poems from adults. We still need to hear from our young poets!