Poetry Friday: First Anniversary Celebration…plus BLOOPERS!

I hope you’ve all got your sparklies on! 

Today is No Water River’s one-year anniversary! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to invite all the Poetry Friday people over for a little matinée, and to make them the guests of honor to boot.

Of course, no anniversary is complete without a little nostalgic look back at the year that was and a look forward to the year that will be. Here’s a brief overview of past and future:

Producer’s Year-End Report

  • NWR had a yearly total of 52,333 views as of this writing. When you take away the people looking for cactus, that’s still a good 49,118 poetry views, people!
  • As far as I can tell, I only have around 83 subscribers, plus a few hundred FB/Twitter people, so either those few people have nothing to do but click on NWR links, or there are lots of lurkers out there. Unmask yourselves, I say!
  • Poetry Month 2012 was the biggest month with 7300 hits.
  • We racked up 51 poetry videos in the library: 33 guest poets, 14 of my own, and 4 classics.
  • I interviewed 33 poets, anthologists, and/or illustrators, two of which are dead.
  • You left 2,857 comments. You’re very talkative for introverted poet types!
  • The most-commented-upon post was “Cookie” with David Harrison at 124 comments. Congratulations, David, you’ve won a trip with me in a time machine to 1883 so we can make a killing on the vaudeville circuit. Bring yer hoofin’ shoes.

Coming Attractions

  • This month, I get to put on my powdered wig (and don’t think I don’t have one) to judge the seven marvelous CYBILS poetry finalists. Stay tuned!
  • The Concertmaster of the Prince George Symphony Orchestra requested and received permission to set my poem “Jake the Snake” to music for the 2013 spring season of the Bel Canto Children’s Choir. How cool is that? If it actually happens, I’ve been promised a CD to share. I also just realized that 2013 is the Year of the Snake, so that explains some things.
  • In April, I’ll be heading to Florence, Italy, to film a group poem starring the participants of Julie Hedlund’s Writer’s Renaissance Retreat. Still a couple spots left — come join the fun!
  • Also in April, I’ll be doing another month of fabulous names in children’s poetry for Poetry Month. I’m just starting the poet-wrangling stage, but I’ve already got some great people lined up for you.
  • In October, I’ll be Skyping in as a guest at David Harrison’s Highlights Foundation Poetry for the Delight of It workshop. Still a couple spots left there, too! Get ’em while they’re hot! My topic will be poetry performance for writers. Fun!
  • Throughout the year, I’ll be beefing up the resource center and possibly doing some more poetry performance tip videos.
  • And in between all that, of course I’ll be bringing more poets, more interviews, more classics, more artists, more poetry lovers, and all around more fun to the blog. I hope you’ll keep coming back!

On the big screen today

is a little confection of flubs and bloopers from the past year. And enjoy the cameo appearances by these poets who contributed their flubs, too: Iza TrapaniLaura Purdie Salas , Deborah Diesen, and Jim Hill.


Put on your tuxes and sequins

because it’s time for our VIPs to make their appearance. I’m pretty sure by the end of the day we’ll have a few dozen celebs in the roundup, so if some of you huskier poets could keep the paparazzi away, we’d all be much obliged.

PF bloggers: leave your links in the comments and I’ll get you on the after-party guest list as soon as I can.

Now grab some popcorn, sit back, and enjoy this red carpet parade of poetry glamour! 

Early bird Bridget Magee starts us off with her delightful original poem called “Fist Bump” over at WeeWordsForWeeOnes.

The mysterious M.M. Socks gets ghoulish with his “Eyeball Dinner,” an original poem sure to make you squirm. Consider this a preview of what’s to come — Mr. Socks will be joining me on No Water River in a couple of weeks!

Our AuthorAmok Laura Shovan is back with more from her postcard poem project, but this time she’s featuring two other poets. One is PF blogger Linda Baie from TeacherDance, whose poem incorporates actual postcard greetings. The other is Clarinda Harriss, whose poem is imagined postcard greetings.

Margaret Simon invites us to sit for a spell by the roots of the old oak tree over at Reflections on the Teche, where she’s featuring a lovely original found poem called “Mr. Al.”

Matt Goodfellow shows us what a fickle lad he is with his wonderfully folksy poem “One Day.” Look out lasses — he’s a smooth talker!

Over at Pa Goose’s place, Charles Ghigna is playing with furry catfish and other phantasmagoria with his poem “Catfish Aren’t Furry.”

Billy Collins flaunts his morning-person-ness in his poem “Morning” over at Karen Edmisten‘s place. Feet on the floor, people!

The always sparkly Robyn Hood Black flitters in with Laura Shovan’s  butterfly postcard poem “Symmetry” and a few of her own flutterby thoughts.

Over at Inside the Dog (gotta love that blog name!), Steve Petersen celebrates the season with three winter haiku(s).

The marvelous Linda Baie at TeacherDance shares another postcard poem by Laura Shovan called “Postcard, 1908” — in fact, it was the first in Laura’s series, and one of my favorites. Oh, Maurice! 

At The Opposite of Indifference, Tabatha Yeatts features an excerpt from the powerful poem “Window” and a video of “Nel Buio,” both by Forough Farrokhzad, an Iranian poet who only lived to be 32.

What do you get when you mix Langston Hughes, an iPhone app, and a creative blogger from Gathering Books? Four Hughes poems floating in the clouds at Myra’s beautifully rendered ode to dreams and dreamers, that’s what!

This is a poem-less post, but I’m sharing it anyway because IT SPEAKS TO ME! “It” is April Halprin Wayland‘s amusing post Inertia? Shoo! about getting back into the writing mode after the holidays. And there is a dog demonstrating inertia. And scenes from Les Miserables. Hie thee thither, lazy writers!

Princess Joy Acey pokes her head out from under the covers to give us her sound poem “Good Night.” What does your house sound like?

Speak of the disheveled and there he is. David Harrison featured another poetry challenge from our Children’s Poet Laureate, Pat Lewis on his blog this week, and it took off like wildfire! Head over to read the dozens and dozens of “Careerhymes” in the comments and add one of your own.

Speaking of Careerhymes, here’s Mary Lee Hahn with her contribution to the shenanigans, “Traffic Cop.” Seriously, these things are addictive, so go check them out!

The inimitable Jama Rattigan of Alphabet Soup kicks off her 2013 blog wonderland with a suitable soup course, of course! She brings on the warm and fuzzy with Mark Irwin’s poem “Tomato Soup,” along with her own fabulous brand of bloggy hospitality. Ooh, pretty pictures, too!

Laura Purdie Salas, herself a CYBILS poetry finalist, will be featuring the other finalists over the next few weeks. She starts today with the poem “Worker Bees” from Douglas Florian’s UnBeeLievables. I would gush, but I am maintaining a proper judge-like demeanor.

Huzzah! The games are nigh! And by games I mean Ed Decaria’s 2013 March Madness Poetry Tournament, now with impressive trophy! Last year’s games proved so popular that poor Ed has been forced to take applications this year — and that’s what his post is all about today. That, and a silly interview with last year’s winner, Stephen Cahill. Take it from me, this tournament is a hoot! I’m going over to fill out my application RIGHT NOW.

Catherine at Reading to the Core has written a beautiful post on mindfulness and the poet Joyce Sidman, the 2013 recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Catherine also shares some thoughts on Sidman’s Red Sings from Treetops.

At There Is No Such Thing as a God-forsaken Town, you can wrap yourself up in “This Quilt,” a poignant and simply beautiful original poem by Ruth dedicated to the third anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. A must read.

A girl who turns to poetry to help her deal with life’s traumas? Yes! It’s a poetry revolution at the lovely Irene Latham‘s Live Your Poem, where she introduces us to Rae, the protagonist in Lisa Schroeder’s latest YA novel, Falling for You.

I’m just quackers about Iza Trapani, she of blooper reel fame! And here she is again with a splendidly silly poem called “Aches and Pains.” Your trivial sniffles are nothing compared to this troop’s troubles!

Our thoughtful friend Matt Forrest buzzes in with a trio of poems about poetry inspired by poets, and they are so poetically pleasing that I forbid you not to get in your poet-mobile and get over there.

GAH! Tara at A Teaching Life tugs the heart strings today with a true-story vignette about a student, a crumpled project, and a red pen…and then tops it off with the optimistic and inspirational poem about grading, “I’d Mark with the Sunshine” by Kalli Dakos. Sniff.

Ooh, what lovelies there are at Growing Wild today, where Liz Steinglass offers an exquisite tribute to Emily Dickinson with her evocative original poem “Emily’s White Dress.” I had these same feelings when I visited the Bronte house in England. Shivers!

Little Willow at Bildungsroman shares the delightful poem “The Clouds” by James Stephen. It practically dances you across the page. A girl who turns to poetry to help her deal with life’s traumas? Yes! It’s a poetry revolution at the lovely Irene Latham‘s Live Your Poem, where she introduces us to Rae, the protagonist in Lisa Schroeder’s latest YA novel, Falling for You.

The immensely sweet and talented Amy Ludwig VanDerwater shares her own careerhyme (I told you they took off like wildfire!). “Some Things Never Change” pays tribute to an indispensable figure in Buffalo, NY winters: the snow plow guy. Be sure to listen to the recording of Amy reading her poem, too.

Children’s poetry mavens Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong give us another taste of The Poetry Friday Anthology K-5 edition, this time with a human body riddle poem by Carol-Ann Hoyte called “It’s a Wrap!” (Hey, how fitting for the post today!) And as if they haven’t enough to do, Sylvia and Janet are currently up to their elbows preparing the middle school version of the PFA, due out later this spring. Stay tuned for more about that!

Violet Nesdoly is a lady after my own heart with her poem “Tea-a-Tete” and the inviting tea poster she snagged as part of Tabatha Yeatts’ poetry swap. She’s also got an invitation to write coffee or tea poems at Tweetspeak Poetry, where January’s  challenge is to write a poem about coffee or tea. I’ll bring the scones!

Busy blogger Diane Mayr has lots of goodies for us, including an ekphrastic tanka (say that three times fast) at Random Noodling, the poem “The Presence” by Maxine Kumin at Kurious Kitty, and a quote by Kumin at KK’s Kwotes.

Over at Supratentorial, Alice shares the poem her boys are currently memorizing, namely one of my childhood favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “All that Is Gold Does Not Glitter,” as well as some excellent memorization tips. 

Anastasia Suen just popped in from Booktalkinging to share a snippet from 2012 Cybils poetry nominee A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down by -Dana Jensen. The reader must decide if these clever poems start at the top or the bottom.

Things are moving and shaking at Wild Rose Reader, where Elaine is readying a new house and reflecting on the meaning of “home.” She shares a lovely original memoir poem titled “A Home for the Seasons” and a recommendation for a wonderful picture book in verse written for very young children.

Jone at Check It Out has an intriguing poem by William Stafford titled “Notice What this Poem Is Not Doing,” as well as a link to her interview with the poet.

Over at The Small Nouns, Ben tells us all about the FREE Poetry Foundation poetry app for smartphones. I don’t have a smartphone, but it may be worth it just for this fun app! Plus he shares “Poem for Haruko” by June Jordan, a treasure unearthed with this very app.

Lorie Ann at On Point has an “AW!” moment with her sweet original haiku titled “Circled Joy” — aw!

Art and poetry collide in the best way at Teaching Young Writers, where Betsy shows us her beautiful poetry collage created by Robyn Hood Black of Artsyletters fame. And she shares a snippet of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Write It on Your Heart,” the inspiration for the art. Sigh.

Corinne at Paper Tigers is having some winter fun by celebrating the bilingual children’s poetry book Iguanas in the Snow and Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez.

This space for rent.


Thank you all for making this such a great party! What a bunch of stars!


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