Did Someone Mention Madness?

Thank you to Doraine Bennett for hosting Poetry Friday this week and for posting her interview with Laura Purdie Salas at her blog.



Laura was the very first person to sign up for the Madness! 2012 poetry tournament (see left sidebar).

Now, just three weeks later, 58 of 64 spots in the tournament are now filled, and the event kicks off in just nine days!

I am busy preparing the site for the tournament, so I do not have any new poems or prompts for Poetry Friday today.

HOWEVER, I did want to take a moment today to thank several people who have really helped to spread the word for Madness! 2012, setting the table for what I believe will be a really fun month at Think Kid, Think!

First, Laura, thank you. Convincing that first person to join is always the hardest!

Next, Mary Lee Hahn. I saw a number of posts from Mary Lee among the Poetry Friday blogs (and who knows where else) spreading word of this event early on. Those first 8-10 participants are all Mary Lee’s doing.

Then we have Renee LaTulippe. Renee made various posts to her social networks on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and perhaps others, which directly attracted a dozen or so participants. Thanks, Renee!

My next thank you goes to Julie Larios.  Julie joined the event and offered to spread the word to a group of other talented poets, including Jane Yolen (who will be participating in the tournament) and J. Patrick Lewis (who dropped by TKT to say hello).

Jane’s participation upped the profile of the event, and sparked me to reach out directly to Kenn Nesbitt with an invitation to join. Kenn was quick to accept, and subsequently shared the madness with a host of other published poets, several of whom have since joined the event as well.  Thank you, Kenn!

Finally, just the other day Steven Withrow (founder of PACYA, and for about two weeks the only male participant in this event) was kind enough to promote the event directly from the PACYA/Poetry at Play site. That drove 10+ registrations within 24 hours and, as word continues to spider from there, will hopefully bring us to a full set of 64 participants.

As the chart shows (I like charts, as you will soon learn), we’re almost there:











[EDIT: We’re there:













As proud as I am of this idea and as pleased as I am to host, these are the people who really made the event happen. So pay them a visit, follow them on Twitter, mention them on your blogs, bake them some cookies, or otherwise be nice to them — at least up until the point when you face off against one of them in the tournament, in which case you should then do everything in your power to best them!

Next Friday, if not sooner, I will create a new page to re-introduce the event and deliver a final set of rules and instructions for participants and visitors, along with a pair of new poems from me to serve as an example of how it’s done.

I also have a few new widgets in the works that I think will enhance the user experience and keep the event running smoothly.  If any of you are interested in helping me test some of the new features (polling, countdown timer, scoreboard, blog registration, visitor/commenter points system), please send me a note or comment below.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.


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  • http://julielarios.blogspot.com Julie Larios

    Can’t wait!!

  • http://www.teacherdance.blogspot.com/ Linda Baie

    Thank you for all the time you’ve spent, Ed. If I can do some testing in some way, I’d be happy to.

    • http://www.thinkkidthink.com Ed DeCaria

      Cool, I may send you an e-mail next week. Thanks, Linda.

  • http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com Amy LV

    Ed – Your facility with cool graphs and sliders and draw-and-show sidebars is amazing! I’m happy to help test and officially grant you the TechnoPoet award! Thank you for leading us in this new game! I look forward to it! a.

    • http://www.thinkkidthink.com Ed DeCaria

      Thanks, Amy!

      Cool graphs I can take credit for. I’m actually going to try to have some fun with statistics in this tournament — TKT is bringing sabermetrics to children’s poetry!

      Other stuff is just free plug-ins that you can find on WordPress or other places on the internet. Amazing (and scary) what people are willing to do for free. Actually I will probably put up a text widget that just says which which other widgets I’m using so that I can give these people some credit for their work beyond a high rating on the plug-in page. Everything “technical” that you see on this site was developed by a stranger at no cost to me, almost all implemented with less than an hour of effort.


  • http://readingyear.blogspot.com Mary Lee

    I’m proud to have helped with early excitement! I’m feeling TOTALLY out of my league now, in terms of my poetry writing, but whattheheck — you set it up to be FUN, so that’s what I’m going to have!

    • http://www.thinkkidthink.com Ed DeCaria

      I have a special consolation prize planned for the non-winners as well. (Okay, it’s not that special, but it’s something that I think people will enjoy.)

  • http://myjuicylittleuniverse.blogspot.com Heidi Mordhorst

    Hmmm…I think I’m finally beginning to get an inkling of what sports-minded folks feel as they look forward to the Superbowl or to March Madness. THIS IS SO EXCITING!

    What day do we start?

    • http://www.thinkkidthink.com Ed DeCaria

      I will announce seeding this Sunday evening, 3/11. By seeding I mean I will connect each poet with a number from 1-16, where 1=intuitive and 16=seemingly impossible (but it’s all relative) in terms of difficulty writing a kids’ poem about/using a certain word.


      (Answer: No.)

  • http://Www.dorainebennett.com Doraine Bennett

    Oh, dear. This makes me really nervous! I hated basketball in PE,but I love poetry, so I’ll take one of those last spots if there is still one open.

  • http://www.robynhoodblack.com Robyn Hood Black

    You can toss me a jersey if there’s still a spot! Thanks for organizing this – what a fun idea, and I can’t wait to read the new poems!

  • http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com Joy Acey

    I’d be happy to help you test your scoring and other gadgets to help the scoring, etc. go smoother. And I want to know how I can get my own TAG Thingamajig. I love that thing. It is so much fun.
    I just watched the DUKE-UNC basketball game. I’m practicing to get ready for the big game.

    • http://www.thinkkidthink.com Ed DeCaria

      It’s a WP widget called WP-Cumulus. It’s a super-simple plug-in. Not sure if there is a Blogger equivalent.

  • http://laurasalas.wordpress.com laurasalas

    I was #1? I forgot about that! Seems that should come with some kind of bye or something, ya know what I mean? And my daughter signed up recently, too. This’ll be great!

    • http://www.thinkkidthink.com Ed DeCaria

      So sorry, Laura. No free rides!

      Thank you for sharing your excitement …


  • http://www.nowaterriver.com/ Renee LaTulippe

    Hey, thanks for the mention, Ed! If that last spot is still open, I have an idea. Just sent you a message through your online form.

  • http://poetryforkidsjoy.blogspot.com Joy Acey

    When will brackets be announced and tip-offs?

    • http://www.thinkkidthink.com Ed DeCaria

      Hi Joy. Good timing. I just sent a note to all 64 participants with the details.

      Everything starts this Sunday night, March 11th.

      In the meantime, be on the lookout for a new page on the top menu bar called “Madness 2012″ that will list the rules, schedule, etc.


  • http://www.MattForrest.com Matt Forrest Esenwine

    Holy cow, I just took a closer look at some of the participants! Charles Ghigna…Jane Yolen…and ME? Where the heck did I come from?? This is going to be fun – if not a little intimidating! ;)

  • http://quinettecook.com Quinette Cook

    This is madness and it’s crazy fun! Thank you for all the work you’ve done. (Ha, ha, that rhymed.)

    And to all the participants – you are CRAZY good, it’s hard to choose!
    It’s so much fun to read everyone’s entries, no one should have to lose. (Ha, ha, I did it again.)

    Go poetry!

    – Q