Poetry Friday: And the Crowd Goes Wild Poet-a-Palooza!

UPDATE: The winners of the ATCGW giveaway are:

Susanna H.
Brenda H.

Congrats, ladies!




featuring the producers and some poetry stars of


WARM-UP: Notes from the Sidelines
What Makes this Anthology a Slam Dunk?
EXHIBITION GAMES: Five rounds of international video poetry knockouts:
JANE PATTON  ~  United States
DK OSEI-YAW  ~  Ghana
OVERTIME SURPRISE: A winning giveaway of And the Crowd Goes Wild


WARM-UP: Notes from the Sidelines

I am sports impaired. I was on the track team in high school and even ran 100-meter hurdles until I realized I despise running and I’m only 5’2″, so what in tarnation was I thinking with the hurdles? (I was good at the racewalk, though). I also played field hockey, but I liked it mostly because I was a fullback (very little running involved) and our team was really, really good, which meant the goalie and I didn’t see much action and could spend our time singing show tunes. The kilts were cute, too. I was also a cheerleader, and though I usually had no idea what was happening on the field/court, the performance aspect and the opportunity to yell suited me. And, you know, the uniforms. Later in life I got into tae kwon do and discovered the pure joy of kicking and punching while wearing pajamas. Now that’s a good sport.

Given my general ignorance, however, it was such a delight to discover that there are sports poems even for bench-warmers like me! And guess where those poems are kept? Nope, not at the bottom of a smelly locker, but in a glossy white tome called And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems, the creation of poets Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer.

And I’m not kidding when I say that there is something for everyone in here. Read on to discover just why kids are going to love this new anthology!

SCRIMMAGE: What Makes this Anthology a Slam Dunk?

Well, first there’s the international team of all-star poets that have thrown their weight behind this book…fifty of them, in fact. There’s a wonderful presence of emerging children’s poets and some who have been on the scene for a while, poets like Laura Purdie Salas, David L. Harrison, Ellen Ramsey, Eric Ode, B.J. Lee, Avis Harley, Catherine Johnson, Charles Ghigna, J. Patrick Lewis, and so many other talented and inspiring writers from the United States, Wales, England, Ghana, Liberia, New Zealand, and beyond.

And they write about every sport imaginable, from curling and snooker to dogsledding and synchronized swimming, so if you’re looking for a new hobby, you might find one in this book.

Then there’s the playbook of poetic forms and devices represented by the fifty poems in the book. Over thirty-one of them, waiting for kids to discover and learn and write themselves.

And then, of course, there’s the equipment room full of playful illustrations by award-winning illustrator Kevin Sylvester that enhance the poems with enough color and humor to make them stand up and cheer.

 And there you have it – a sports anthology fit for the podium!


Carol-Ann Hoyte

Come on in to the locker room to see how Carol-Ann and Heidi whipped this team into shape!

As poets yourselves, why did you decide to create an anthology rather than a collection of your own work (which would certainly have been the easier choice!)? How did the anthology format serve your purpose better than a personal collection?
Carol-Ann: The Olympics served as my inspiration to compile a collection of sports poems for children. As this event brings the world’s athletes together, it only seemed logical that the book would also be international in scope by bringing poets from around the globe together. Since I didn’t have a sufficient number of my own poems connected by a theme/concept with which to cobble together a collection of any kind, I thought compiling a collection featuring several people’s work would still get my name out there in the children’s poetry realm. It’s been said that a wise way to promote one’s self/work is to promote the work of others. During the compilation and since the release of the anthology, this has proven to be true. The book has presented me with new opportunities such as receiving invitations to do school visits as a children’s poet.

I read in your interview with Robyn Hood Black that the anthology features a high percentage of emerging poets. Did that come about by chance or was it planned? If planned, why did you make that choice?
Carol-Ann: The frustrating truth is that emerging children’s poets have a limited number of magazine/anthology opportunities to have their work considered for publication. It occurred to me that, as one of these poets, I could offer a solution to this conundrum. It was therefore a conscious and intentional decision on my part to feature as many emerging children’s poets in the collection as possible. The anthology has granted some contributors the opportunity to get their work published for the first time. I think that this first publication credit will give these individuals the courage, confidence, and determination to continue sending their poetry for young people out into the world.

Heidi Bee Roemer

What do you hope kids take away from this collection?
Heidi: One hope is that this anthology will give readers a wider world view. ATCGW is indeed a global gathering of poets, as they hail from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Wales, Ghana, and Liberia. Just as the Olympic dream draws athletes together, this collection has drawn poets from all parts of the world to revel in the joy of poetic expression, the exhilaration of being physically active, and the courage to overcome physical challenges. In addition, perhaps these sports poems will spark new athletic interests in “less athletically inclined” readers; perhaps the variety of carefully crafted poetry forms will arrest the attention of reluctant readers and start them on a lifelong reading adventure. One can only hope!

How do you envision kids and teachers using this anthology in the classroom? Do you/will you have materials they can use?
Heidi: This anthology has many educational applications. Most notably, the poems introduce readers to less familiar sports such as lacrosse, dogsled racing, goalball, and monoskiing. It’s a natural tie-in to the study of the Olympics, Paralympics, and Special Needs Olympics. A handy cross-reference poetry list identifying various poetry forms and poetic devices is included—a tool educators will find useful in the classroom. Geography comes into play, as students can use a map to locate the various countries in which the contributing poets live. Math (percentages, charts, and graphs) can be an additional focus as students determine what percentage of poets live in each continent.

I like to include extension activities in every post. Could you provide a writing exercise or two based on a poem/poems from the anthology?
Heidi: And the Crowd Goes Wild!: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems contains mask poems, also called persona poems. Written in first person, the poet takes on the voice of an animal or inanimate object. In this example, Patricia Toht writes from the point of view of a curling stone.

Curling Stone

Smooth and heavy, round and thick,
I slide across the ice so slick.

Thrust with just the slightest spin
I forge ahead and then curve in.

A blocking stone is standing guard.
A rush of sweepers, brushing hard,

help guide my path — a gentle arc,
curling toward the circled mark –

then, by a smidgeon, past I go,
slipping forward, oh so slow.

Silently, I come to rest.
Will my position be the best?

I can only wait and see.
Another stone approaches me…

When I teach this poetry form to young children, I have them memorize this definition: “A mask poem is ME, pretending to BE something I’m NOT!” To write your own mask poem, pick an animal or object such as a football, a pair of ballet shoes, or a referee’s whistle, and write from its point of view.

A further note on Patricia’s poem: Many of the poems in the anthology are paired with a definition to explain a sport or sports term that may be unfamiliar to some young readers. Here’s a brief description of the sport of curling:

“Curling is a sport that involves sliding heavy stone discs down a sheet of ice toward a target. Four players form a team – one directs the play, one throws the stone, and two sweep the ice with brooms to make the stone change speed or direction. Teams score points for stones that rest closest to the center of the target at the end of a game.”

Our website http://crowdgoeswildpoems.wordpress.com/ is still in the works, but ultimately will provide poetry tips to encourage budding writers to pen their own unique sports poems. Currently the website features photos and bios of editors and poets, press news, and information on how to order the book.

Why did you choose to self-publish
Carol-Ann: I strongly believed in the anthology and was convinced that it needed to be in the world. As a result, I didn’t wish to leave the decision in the hands of others as to whether or not the book would see the light of day. Since I hadn’t seen a book quite like it, I knew there was room for an anthology such as this in the market. Self-publishing the book meant I could choose the illustrator with whom I wanted to work. Canadian award-winning children’s book creator Kevin Sylvester was the first (and only) person who came to mind as the illustrator for the collection. It was evident that the anthology would need an illustrator who drew athletes well. Kevin fit the bill as he had written and illustrated Gold Medal for Weird and Sports Hall of Weird, two sports titles for young people. I also wanted to demonstrate that a self-published book could score high points in terms of the quality of its text, illustrations, concept, and design.

Can you tell us a bit about the poet-wrangling stage of the project? What challenges and/or joys did you face? How many poets initially submitted? How did you handle revision? How long was the selection process from start to finish?
Heidi: Carol-Ann started the ball rolling in July 2011 by sending out a worldwide call for poetry submissions. Though thousands of miles apart, thanks to the Internet, we worked together to log in over 300 poems from around world, communicating through email, and—to this date—only twice by phone.

Selecting the poems was a shared labor of love, though the arduous task of contacting poets with rejection and acceptance notices fell to Carol-Ann. As the book’s creator and financer, Carol-Ann had the final say on which poems were eliminated, but she graciously accepted many of my suggestions along the way. One of the suggestions I made was that we accumulate as many varied poetry forms as possible—and, happily, Carol-Ann agreed.

A list of guidelines helped us through the selection process. Here are the questions we asked ourselves about each poem that we deemed “promising”:

  • Is the sports poem age appropriate and well written?
  • Does the poem need revision in order to meet our standards?
  • Does the poem highlight a topic we don’t yet have?
  • Is the poetry form unusual or one we don’t yet have?
  • Does the poet live in another part of the world?
  • Does the poem elicit a response from the reader—a chuckle, a grin, a groan, a feeling of empathy, an epiphany?

Interestingly, sometimes Carol-Ann felt strongly about a poem I thought was so-so, and other times the reverse was true. Usually, upon reviewing our own guidelines, it became easier to decide whether the poem in question was a keeper or not.

Another of my delightful responsibilities was working with some of the poets on revisions. I discovered these writers loved words, wordplay, sounds, language, and imagery as much as I did. Each one put his creative effort into making his poem the best it could be. I was astounded when I realized how much creative talent exists in the world—and what a beautiful thing it is to discover and share it.

Once all fifty poems were agreed upon and revisions completed, Carol-Ann asked me to assemble the poems in a logical sequence. I thoroughly enjoyed this process of organizing the poems, creating the book’s “beginning, middle, and end,” and making the topics flow smoothly from one to the next. Kevin Sylvester’s expressive artwork captured the humor and whimsy and put the finishing touches on this unique anthology.

How are you handling the particular challenges that come with self-publishing, especially distribution and marketing?
Carol-Ann: The book was created via working with FriesenPress (the self-publishing arm of Friesens, a longstanding and reputable Canadian printer). Since the company sells the anthology on its online bookstore and makes it available via major wholesalers like Ingram and Amazon, distribution has proven to be one of the least challenging aspects of the publishing process for me. Another perk is that the copies of the book are printed as they are ordered – this makes for a most ecological and money-saving approach to order fulfillment. Though marketing is an ongoing challenge, it is one which I find thrilling and enjoy tackling. (I would venture to say that marketing also proves to be a challenge for those who have books published the traditional route since there is only so much a traditional publisher can and/or is willing to do to promote a book, especially if it isn’t one of its top-selling books).

Is there anything you learned along the way that you wish you’d known before you started?
Heidi: Perhaps the one thing I underestimated was how long it would take for the publisher to correctly format the book and produce the final product. Wisely, Carol-Ann didn’t compromise on quality just to meet a deadline. Instead she worked through the tedious formatting issues until the book appeared as perfect as we could make it.

I’m proud of our anthology and have thoroughly enjoyed the journey Carol-Ann and I embarked on over a year ago. Because of this book, I have a special bond with Carol-Ann and fifty talented poets. And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems is being read and enjoyed by children around the world—amazing!

What can we expect next from this dynamic duo?
Carol-Ann: Heidi had suggested that it could be fun to compile a children’s poetry collection which revolved around real athletes. If a publisher is interested in producing the anthology, I would be open to working on the project. At this time, I am currently throwing around two ideas for poetry anthologies for children. One collection would feature work penned by Canadians and would feature artwork created by a Canadian illustrator. The other collection I would love to compile would be one which celebrates urban gardening and is illustrated by color photographs.

Where’s the best place to pick up a copy of the anthology?
Right here at the ATCGW website, where all the various purchase options are listed. Also note that a portion of royalties from the sale of the anthology (paperback/e-book) will be donated to Right to Play, an international organization that works with volunteers and partners to use sport and play to enhance child development in areas of disadvantage.


Learn more about: Carol-Ann and Heidi
Book Website: And the Crowd Goes Wild
Review: Canadian Lit for Little Canadians

EXHIBITION GAMES: Five rounds of international video poetry knockouts

Hey, we’ve rounded the bases to the Poet-a-Palooza part of the post! I apologize in advance for making you sit through my repetitive intros, but these babies are going directly from here into the permanent NWR Poetry Video Library, so the intros had to be done. Just practice your jump shots until the poems start.

And what poems they are! I am thrilled to welcome five of the poets from And the Crowd Goes Wild, and boy did they go out of their way to bring you these videos. We’ve got costumes, we’ve got props, we’ve got informative tidbits, we’ve got…well, just sit back and watch, why don’t you? The peanut and hot dog guy should be passing through soon.

JANE PATTON (United States)  

…is a native Chicagoan who now lives in San Diego, California. A graduate of Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa, she  taught music, drama, and kindergarten, in Iowa, Illinois, California, and Texas. At one time a professional actress and singer with The Jim Patton Trio in “The Right Touch,” Jane now concentrates on writing for children. This is her first children’s poetry anthology publication.


Welcome, dear sports fans!
Please come right in.
Today’s grand event
is about to begin.

Find your seats quickly,
Show your support!
Root for your home team;
Enjoy today’s sports.

Whether a touchdown,
A goal or homerun,
Whatever the venue,
You’re sure to have fun!

You may see a track meet
Or something gymnastic;
Here come the athletes–
Aren’t they fan-tastic?

We’re one happy family.
There’s nothing that beats
A place packed with sports fans–
And no empty seats.


…is an Australian poet whose work has appeared in numerous publications all around the globe. His next book of poems is due out in 2013. His favorite sport is Australian Rules football and he is a passionate supporter of the Collingwood Magpies.


The Sportsman or the Scientist:
who do we revere?
Milo or Pythagoras:
which one do we cheer?

Newton or DiMaggio:
which one got the girl?
Edison or Baggio:
who lit up the world?

Darwin’s worm or Tiger’s club:
which one do we prize?
Einstein’s rule or Ali’s glove:
which one makes us wise?

The Sportsman or the Scientist:
who inspires us most?
Pele or Copernicus:
who do we all toast?

Roger’s slice and Phelps’ tights,
and Michael Jordan’s leap
seem to set our youth alight,
but science makes them sleep.

How have we rewarded them
since the days of old?
A sportsman wins a trophy;
a scientist wins a scroll.


…divides her time between Calgary, Alberta and Golden, British Columbia, both in Canada. She loves Calgary’s sunny skies, and Golden’s incredible scenery and outdoor activities. She writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Her poems have been published in anthologies that include Red Berry Review, Silver Boomers, Freefall,  Freckles to Wrinkles, Poems for Big Kids, This Path, Home and Away, Crave It and The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes. Her published non-fiction titles about Canadian history are Norman Bethune, Arctic Explorers, and Yip Sang and the First Chinese Canadians.


I thought I would like basketball, so I signed up last fall.
Not only were the players fast, they all were tree-top tall!

Soccer kids were more my size, but they turned rather mean
after I kicked in a goal for our opposing team.

Next I took up snooker. When I tried to pot the blue
someone smashed my elbow and I fell and snapped the cue.

I turned my hand to tennis, but it’s really not my sport.
I spent three boring hours picking balls up off the court.

Table tennis, anyone? I gave the game my all.
My wicked forehand crumpled every single ping pong ball.

I’ve given up on sports and there is no one that I blame.
I’ve since learned to play chequers—it’s really more my game!

NOTES from the book: Snooker is a game also known as billiards or pool. “Pot the blue” means to sink the blue ball in a game of snooker. “Chequers” is the British spelling of the board game that North Americans spell “checkers.”


…writes both serious and humorous poetry (sometimes at the same time) and has been published in four continents by editors trying to get rid of him. In 2012, he managed to get nominated for both the Forward Prize (UK) and Pushcart Prize (US) though he couldn’t afford the extra bribe to win either. As a serious poet, his verse invokes great humor. Despite all this, he still can’t put up a shelf without bringing down an internal wall or two.


Put Notcher in goal, he’s useless outfield,
Perhaps he has talents as yet still concealed.
He can’t kick a ball with his left or his right,
And shirks fifty fifties, recoiling in fright.
Its hard to allot him a suitable role –
He’s no good outfield so let’s put him in goal.

Oh Notcher, you’re really a goalkeeping flop.
The ball trickled so slowly I thought it would stop.
My granny is ancient and riddled with gout,
But she’d have no trouble in keeping it out.
Your goaltending talents are clearly revealed –
Notcher, come out – you are better outfield.



…(born Emmanuel Dickson Osei-Yaw) is a poet, writer and performing artist who observes everyday life experiences and interprets them in a multiplicity of art forms including mainly  Music, Fine Arts and Videos. He takes inspiration from his childhood upbringing in Accra, Ghana, West Africa. He has been very instrumental in developing the Spoken-Word (Slam Poetry) Poetry scene in Ghana by creating performance platforms, producing events and pioneering numerous authentic contemporary African performance presentations of the genre. DK still performs Spoken-Word, Music and Rap by accompanying himself on the Djembe drum.


Plenty people chasing one ball:
Some run,
Some walk;
Some fall out to a referee’s call!

Ball spins right.
Ball turns all.
Ball rolls fast til it reaches goal!

Hear people roar!
Some faces turn sour,
Some sulk.
Some cheer loud to celebrate score!

Sometimes also heavy rain come down,
Large drops plop,
wipe out where their feet formed.

But plenty people stay
to play and watch some more,
because plenty people
still chasing one ball.


How great was that? Thank you, poets, for contributing to this poet-a-palooza and sharing your wonderful work with us!


And here they are, all fifty of them! Click the links to see their work and find out more about these talented folks.

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Avis Harley (Canada)
B.J. Lee (United States)
Carmela A. Martino (United States)
Carrie Finison (United States) and on NWR
Catherine Johnson (Canada)
Cathy Cronin (United States)
Charles Ghigna (United States)
Charles Waters (United States) and on NWR
Claudia Kohlbrenner (United States)
Conrad Burdekin (England)
Damian Balassone (Australia)
David L. Harrison (United States) and on NWR
Diana Murray (United States)
DK Osei-Yaw (Ghana)
Eileen R. Meyer (United States)
Ellen L. Ramsey (United States)
Eric Ode (United States)
Frances Hern (Canada)
Gayle C. Krause (United States)
Greg O’Connell (New Zealand)
Heather Delabre (United States)
Heather F. Reid (Scotland)
J. Patrick Lewis (United States) and on NWR
Jane L. Patton (United States)
Jill McDougall (Australia)

[/column][column size=”1-2″ last=”1″]

JoAnn Early Macken (United States)
Jocelyn Shipley (Canada)
Kate Williams (Wales)
Kimberly Douglas Hancock (United States)
Kimberly O’Brien (England)
Laura Purdie Salas (United States) and on NWR
Liana Mahoney (United States)
M. Sullivan (United States)
Madeline Kuderick (United States)
Marjorie Maddox (United States)
Matt Goodfellow (England)
Michelle Schaub (United States)
Patricia Biela (United States)
Patricia Cooley (United States)
Patricia J. Murphy (United States)
Patricia Toht (United States/England)
Peter Goulding (Ireland)
Priscila Uppal (Canada)
Raymond K. Nakamura (Canada)
Rosalee van Stelten (Canada)
Savannah Tesla (Canada)­
Sherry Shahan (United States)
Terry Ann Carter (Canada)
Tiffany Stone (Canada)
Watchen Johnson Babalola (Liberia)


OVERTIME SURPRISE: A winning giveaway of And the Crowd Goes Wild

Carol-Ann and Heidi have kindly offered to send a copy of And the Crowd Goes Wild to two lucky readers! To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on this post. You will all be crammed into a baseball cap, then two lucky names will be scientifically extracted by one or more very small athletes. The winner will be announced here and on Facebook on Thursday the 29th. (ATCGW poets, I hope you don’t mind if I don’t include you as we’re looking to spread the poetry goodies around!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look inside the foot-stomping anthology And the Crowd Goes Wild!

Many, many thanks

to Carol-Ann, Heidi, Jane, Damian, Frances, Peter, DK, and all the ATCGW poets for joining me at No Water River and for creating this crowd-pleasing poetry resource! 

[heading style=”1″]COMING NOVEMBER 30: A new series called “Poetry Is…” with a very special guest[/heading]

See more poems in my poetry video library.

All poems copyright 2012 by their respective authors.