2017 March Madness Poetry is back!

poetry friday

For all of you who love reading and writing poetry for kids, it’s time to celebrate. Ed DeCaria is reviving the March Madness Poetry contest. Not only that, but he has also put in  an amazing effort to give Madness Poetry it’s own website with new and improved user experience. He is currently taking 1) Poet Authlete Applications 2) Classroom Teachers who want their students to participate in voting and 3) Fans who want to participate in voting. As we’ve all discovered, if you don’t vote, you suffer the results so go to http://madnesspoetry.com/ today and signup! Thank you, Ed!

Poetry Friday: The Smith-Corona

I recently became the caregiver to a 1953(?) Smith-Corona typewriter which inspired the following poem. Enjoy! (Now if I could only find a new ribbon.)

There aren’t a lot of typewriters out there
not a lot of typers either.
Hard to get ribbons and parts.
A’s require pinkie force that I do not possess.
Computers have made me soft.
Still there is a satisfaction of
FORCE
and noise
each clack of hammer on roller
the absence of wires
no plug in sight
just me and the keys and the return bar.
My thoughts too quick
hammers catch on each other
stuck like a logjam of paperwork
sitting on some secretary’s desk.
She with pencils in her hair
and a pencil slim skirt
doing a hard days work.
I imagine her
young
spunky
driven
wanting more.
To be a journalist
a novelist
the boss.
Just like her
my time will come.


Hooray for Poetry Month 2015

Poetry Month is officially here and I couldn’t be more excited. There are tons of events happening throughout April in the state of Maine. Below I’ve posted a few links to help you plan your poetry pursuits.

I’m a huge fan of POEM IN YOUR POCKET day! April 30th is Brunswick’s Poem in Your Pocket Day (our Facebook page) and the open mic poetry reading that evening from 6:30-8:30 will be at Curtis Memorial Library. Come with a poem in your pocket and a song in your heart. I’ve been asked to read a few of my poems and my sons will be the MC’s! Look for my name tag and say hello!

This article from the Portland Press Herald, “A Rallying Cry for Poetry,” has this wonderful quote from poet Tony Hoagland:

“The joy of creativity should be part of every day. It’s part of what makes us human. It improves everything.”

MAINE EVENTS:

Richard Blanco, known for his presidential inauguration poem One Today, will kick of Poetry Month events with a reception and reading at the Bangor Public Library. Tickets are free but required. Call 947-8336.
Read more here.

This year, Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair celebrates annual Poetry Day in the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta. The event has traditionally been an invitation-only affair hosted at the Blaine House. This year’s celebration, sponsored by the Maine Arts Commission with assistance from the Maine Humanities Council, is free and open to the public on April 7 at 2:30 p.m.
Read more here. 

Maine’s Largest Poetry Festival is at the University of Maine Augusta. The University of Maine at Augusta will host the 12th Annual Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival on Friday evening, April 11th in Jewett Hall and all day Saturday, April 12th in the Fireplace Lounge of the Richard Randall Student Center.
Read more and see a schedule of events here.

As part of the Words Matter Visiting Poets Series: A Project of Maine Poetry Central and the Portland Poet Laureate Program, Tony Hoagland will be speaking and reading Thursday, April 16, at 7p.m. at University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall Auditorium in Portland, Maine. I was lucky to attend Richard Blanco’s similar presentation and the packed auditorium was a joy in and of itself.
Read more and get tickets here.

If you aren’t in Brunswick on April 30th but you have poetry that needs an audience check out some of these other great library open mic opportunities!

Portland Public Library

Rockland Public Library has events and contests all month.

Topsham Public Library

The University of Maine at Augusta will host the 12th Annual Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival on Friday evening, April 11th in Jewett Hall and all day Saturday, April 12th in the Fireplace Lounge of the Richard Randall Student Center.

There are tons more events that have been lovingly assembled on this PDF by the Maine Writer’s and Publishers Alliance.

***TEACHERS***
The Academy of Poets commissions Chip Kidd for a Poetry Month poster each year. To get yours (either full sized or printable PDF) click here!

A Thursday Ramble

I just finished 50 pages of revision which is a pretty great work run for me. I’ve been having such a hard time sustaining the revision.  Once I’ve merged onto the internet super highway I can’t stop myself from checking out Facebook and the super good news everyone posts (hooray!) that often makes me feel like gum on the bottom of a shoe (aw!). (An interjection starts a sentence right.)

My usual course of action is to take the dog for a walk and come back refreshed which I have tried, but I’m so sick of the cold. Yesterday we got a hit of 37 wonderful degrees. People came out of their houses wearing their smiles and their short sleeves. Yes folks, 37 degrees is all it takes to make winter-weary Mainers strip. However, the heat wave was over before it really started. Today we are back in the 20’s and the wind whipped a string of curses from my lips.

Too, with all this snow pack, I know we are up for the longest mud season ever. I shouldn’t be cranky. I’ve enjoyed snow shoeing and skate skiing for lo these many months. I’m just ready to be warm and ready to take out the bike instead.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been hired to plan Maine Share’s annual event. If you aren’t familiar with the nonprofit organization, they are Maine’s statewide payroll donation program (similar to the United Way) for forty amazing groups that focus on economic development, education, the arts, and social justice. I’m excited to bring a creative concept to the event and up the fun-factor on what is often the obligatory rubber chicken dinner. More later about the exciting concept!

If you are a teacher who loves poetry, I urge you to register your classroom to participate in the March Poetry Madness contest at Think Kid Think. Your students will discuss and vote on regular poetry match ups between fabulous poets. Sadly, I will not be participating this year but there were a record number of applicants.

I have a lot to look forward to…a novel retreat weekend at VCFA, time with dear friends, and some time at Kripalu that I won in a United Way auction. Hooray, yoga and vegetarian gourmet cooked for me!

Spring (ha!) is also full of kid events. My older son is the lead in the local high school production of Legally Blonde and younger son is in it as well with a solo and some lines. Leave me a comment if you’d like to know more about tickets!

Baseball season will start the week after the show and older son is being called for pitcher’s week. I’m supper excited for him.

How does one end a ramble?

IMG_0429

With a cute dog of course. Lucy says, “Take me for a walk.”

Poetry Friday: Astrologically Speaking

Astrologically Speaking
By Anna E. Jordan

He charts lives.
Interprets transits.
Clarifies uncertainties.

She is astrologically
dumb.

He—
Leo,
Scorpio rising,
Aries moon.

She—
Aquarius,
Virgo rising,
Sun in 5th house.

He sees a future
in opposition.
Nodes out of place
He needs space.

She struggles to understand.
Searches for translation.
Grasps at what is already
gone.

He finds truth
in
the language of
Stars.

She in her own
starstuff.

-November 14, 2014

400px-Paranatellonta

poetry friday

March Madness Poetry 2014 Gets Real. No Foolin’!

Perhaps you were one of the kind people who voted for me in the first round of the #MMPoetry 2014 competition. If so, you were one of a minority. The majority voted for Queen of Children’s Literature, Jane Yolen. Her humorous poem had to include the word svelte (Which I thought was Yiddish in derivation and so the bacon reference especially funny… actually the word has an Italian derivation.)

My word was bemoan. I always try to write two or more poems in the time we’re given (under 36 hours). Some of the drafted poems end up being very bad. For bemoan, I wrote three, two of them decent. Because it would be published on the first day of spring, I went with the more serious. Perhaps that was a mistake.

You can read both poems from the competition here.

A huge thank you to Ed Decaria for organizing and mediating the logistical beast that is the March Madness Poetry competition. He puts in a ton of time and energy all to fulfill the honorable mission of getting kids excited about poetry.

Here for your viewing pleasure are all three of the poems I wrote in advance of the competition.  These are the first drafts. Feel free to make comments below and while you’re feeling critical, head over to the Think Kid Think website to judge the #MMPoetry 2014′s “Elite Eight”!

The Sub

John plays music while we work
he lets me change my seat.
His stories make us gasp and cringe
we email, chat, and tweet.

We sang Bohemian Rhapsody
he’s epitome of cool,
We all bemoan tomorrow
when Miss Phlegm returns to school.

Poet’s Note: The concern here was, would people know that the named John was the sub in question.

First Day of Spring (this poem appeared in the competition.)

I never though the day would come
when I’d bemoan the snow.
Instead, my nose against the glass
I’d watch the white stuff grow.

But now I crave some color
some warmth, and sun, and rain.
The calendar says springtime
but the snow has come again.

Poet’s Note: Here I was concerned that the poem was too quiet and serious for my audience but I liked the rhythm and the wording. In the comments of the competition, many people connected to the imagery in the line “nose against the glass” which made me happy.

Brotherly Love (a limerick)

There once was a boy who played flute
His brother preferred drums and lute
He’d often bemoan
The flute’s squeaky tone
So he rendered the instrument mute.

Poet’s Note: Because there were two boys, the second he is difficult to understand. Plus, I didn’t have enough lines or syllables to be explicit about what happened to the poor flute.

Get Excited for March Madness Children’s Poetry Competition #MMPoetry

Yes, folks. While some of you were on the couch watching the Oscars (and others were just asleep and drooling on your remote control) Ed DeCaria over at Think Kid Think posted the Sunday Selection video (below) for the 2014 MARCH MADNESS POETRY competition (#MMPoetry). 

Did you watch?

Did you see who my competition is?

The Queen of Kidlit, Jane Yolen.

I’m going to need your support.

I mean it.

If you subscribe to this blog, or follow me on twitter, or if you are my friend in real life or only on Facebook, or if you went to VCFA, or University of Rochester, or Woodrow Willson Senior High School in Washington, DC, or Eagle’s Nest Camp in North Carolina, or even if you hate me that’s okay because I all I need you to do is get excited about children’s poetry and vote for the poem you love (Anna’s). Read with an open heart and mind and choose the poem that resonates with you (Anna’s). Use all your academic training and writing experience to pick the well-written example (Anna’s)… and then send chocolate!

A huge thank you to Ed DeCaria for the time and energy he gives to children’s poetry and to 64 authletes who bug him about the competition at this time of year. If you’ve never followed the March Madness Poetry Competition before, take a look at Madness! Writing 126 New Children’s Poems in 21 Days. If you are a teacher and you want your kids to join the other 1000 students who will be official poetry judges check out Win 50 Kids’ Poetry Books In 50 Milliseconds! It’s Madness! and register in the next two weeks before the competition begins.

Get your poetry groove on because starting March 17th, things heat up. The week begins with the unveiling of the first words (both to spectators and authletes) and later that week, the first poems will be published.

I’ll see you there! (Vote for Anna)

I made it to Round 2, Please Vote!

Dear, Readers. I have be absent but excusably so. I had some unplugged time last week while I traveled from health and yoga retreat, to a friend’s home, to the VCFA writing retreat (More about this later.) It was a week of emotional revelations and rejuvenation but through it all, I wrote poetry!

Yes, the March Madness Poetry Tournament continues and I’m still in the brackets. For round 2 I had the word “jam” and I’m up against, wonderful woman and Highlights editor, Marileta Robinson. What an honor. (She had the word “caricature.”) I hope you’ll take a look at our poems and choose your favorite.

(If you are not a good reader of subtext– I just asked you for your vote.)

Many of the commenters noticed that we both used “jazz” in our poems even though that was not a requirement. If you surf around the site you’ll see that this sort of collective conscious phenomenon happens time and again. Super weird!

Jam vs. Caricature

Please share the link widely on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Parents, please share with kids and teachers. Teachers, please share with students and other teachers!