Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Those Poetry Taggers Are Back

While I've been living under a rock, the team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, the instigators of the first ever electronic-only anthology of poems for children, PoetryTagTime, about which I posted in March of 2011, have been busy bringing together the best of the best in the field of poetry to create two new anthologies.

On September 21, 2011 the second anthology, p*tag, the first ever electronic poetry anthology of new poems by top poets for teens, was made available; thirty-one poems by thirty-one poets with photographs by Sylvia Vardell.  Poets in this anthology are:  Marilyn Singer, Betsy Franco, Allan Wolf, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sara Holbrook, Charles Waters, Michael Salinger, Joyce Sidman, Margarita Engle, Jeannine Atkins, Steven Withrow, David L. Harrison, Lorie Ann Grover, Julie Larios, Michele Krueger, April Halprin Wayland, Stephanie Hemphill, Heidi Mordhorst, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, Paul B. Janeczko, Arnold Adoff, Kimberly Marcus, Jen Bryant, Kathi Appelt, Helen Frost, J. Patrick Lewis, JonArno Lawson, Sonya Sones, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Jaime Adoff and Janet Wong.

The rules are:  a poet is tagged, the poet chooses a photo from the photo gallery at this anthology's blog linked above, the poet writes a poem inspired by the photo, the poet must incorporate 3 words from the poem prior to his or her poem to keep the poems connected, the poet writes a short prose "connection" piece explaining how the poem came to be, the poet tags another poet and so it goes. 

The poems in p*tag are in a word, stunning.  They touch upon moments, memories and moods that are a reflection of the souls of teens; the sweet realization that your band is finally in the groove, first love, contemplation on finding beach glass, luck, listening and so much more.  As I read each of them silently I felt the urge to read them aloud; to hear the rhythm of the words and feel their meaning surround me. 

There are seventy images on this blog from which the poets selected their specific one.  Viewers are urged to pick one of the photographs and write about it themselves.  Wouldn't this be a great idea in the classroom?--have students take photographs writing a poem about any one of them except for the one they took.  We haven't even had a decent snowfall yet and here I am looking forward to National Poetry Month in April already.

Just in time for the upcoming season the third anthology, Gift Tag, was released mid-November 2011.  It is the first such collection of holiday poems for children and teens.  Featured poets are:  Jane Yolen, Allan Wolf, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Laura Purdie Salas, Joan Bransfield Graham, Bobbi Katz, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Steven Withrow, Margarita Engle, Robert Weinstock, Avis Harley, David L. Harrison, Jen Bryant, Carole Boston Weatherford, Douglas Florian, Sara Holbrook, April Halprin Wayland, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Charles Waters, Michael Salinger, Pat Mora, Helen Frost, Lorie Ann Grover, Ann Whitford Paul, Jeannine Atkins, Julie Larios, J. Patrick Lewis and Janet Wong.

This time the rules are:  choose a photo from the Gift Tag photo blog, write about what popped into your mind when you saw the photo and keep your poem short--10 lines (max), and no more than 25 characters (with spaces) per line.  The goal is for each poem to be read in its entirety on a Kindle screen.  There is also a key word or phrase that connects one poem to the next.  Nearly all of the images were again taken by Sylvia Vardell. Each of the poets, as before, include a short explanation of what prompted the writing of their poem.

Join the chorus of poetic voices, read about:  how we fit together like a hand crafted potholder, a childhood purchase, what if you are a present, snowy treats, sledding at night, a spin of the dreidel, cookies or gifts full of promise and love.

Each of the anthologies is followed by information about the individual contributors and links to their web sites.  The cost for these electronic-only anthologies is $2.99.

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