Miscellaneous Madness

Madness! 2012 has arrived at the Final Four. Round 5 will feature two poetry pairings:

  • Suz Blackaby representing the HUMOR bracket vs. Stephen W. Cahill representing the LOGIC bracket
  • Debbie LaCroix representing the EMPATHY bracket vs. Greg Pincus representing the PASSION bracket

Their words have now been assigned, and they now have 36 hours to come up with what will be their fifth poem of the tournament. If you’re wondering why there are no numbers next to their words, it is because their respective “seeds” are now ignored for the Final Four and Finals. Instead, the word prompts were decided by a process that included all 60 poets who were previously eliminated from the tournament in earlier rounds. The poets eliminated in Rounds 1-2 suggested a total of 80 words for consideration by the poets eliminated in Round 3. In turn, each of these poets picked their favorites, and passed the aggregate top 12 to the poets just eliminated in Round 4. These poets then had the privilege and responsibility to assign the word to the poet who beat them to reach the Final Four. (Fun, don’t you think?) Check out the matchups and leave a comment with your thoughts on these latest word prompts.

Now, some miscellany.

Since March 11th, the poets in this tournament have introduced 120 (ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY) new poems to the world. Amazing! In total, they used 7,114 words (59.3 words per poem on average). Which words, exactly?

This is a word cloud of the most frequently used words among those 7,114. See if it brings back any memories …


I love how even the cloud itself shoots out fleeting little lines of poetry …

“Love Kissed, Jumped, Dreamed”

“Children Think, Learn, Know”


What else?

Oh, there have been a few votes cast. 10,970 of them. That’s about 1 per minute for the entire duration of the tournament when polls were actually open, including overnight time.

And we’ve enjoyed terrific interaction among poets and readers alike. We collectively contributed 1,400-1,500 comments (double that if you count spam — thank you, Askimet plug-in, for your 99.9% capture rate and 0.2% false positive rate!), which made for a nice mix of encouragement, trash talk, consideration, and congratulation.



I hope you’ve enjoyed the tournament so far. Just remember: National Poetry Month STARTS on Sunday … this event is just the tipoff.

Now go write/read/share some kids’ poetry!


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

    This is a fabulous nearing the end, Ed. I’ve said it before, but thank you again for doing all of the tournament. It’s been such fun.

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

    And how can you leave out the fleeting line of poetry “Little eyes looked” – which is exactly what we hope happens with these 126 poems! It’s been a wonderful ride.

  • http://heyjimhill.com Jim Hill

    Ed, you deserver some sort of award for organizing the madness. What a fantastic event! So many great poems AND white knuckle match-ups. Congratulation to everyone that has participated.

  • http://MainelyWrite.blogspot.com Donna Smith

    This has been amazing. Hope you feel up to it for another go ’round for next year! I’m going to start reading the dictionary to get ready!

  • http://annajboll.wordpress.com Anna J. Boll

    Such a great event!

  • http://poemfarm.amylv.com Amy LV

    Wrote new poems.
    Found new friends.
    Ed will sleep
    When Madness ends!

    ‘Much gratitude for all of your hard work, encouragement, and techno-wizardry!

    Cheers to you and this new event!

  • http://www.irenelatham.com Irene Latham

    Dear Ed,
    March is the new April.
    Because of you.
    Thanks for everything!

    • http://www.susantaylorbrown.com/blog/blog Susan Taylor Brown

      What Irene said! Thanks for everything.

      And I’d be willing to fly to LA for a party at April’s house.

  • http://www.AprilWayland.comandwww.TeachingAuthors.com April Halprin Wayland

    When shall we have the in-person First Annual March Madness Poetry Reunion? You can all come to my house in Southern CA!

  • http://www.animalhero.com dave crawley

    120 new poems? Sounds like a book. But keeping track of royalties would be impossible…

    • http://www.susantaylorbrown.com/blog/blog Susan Taylor Brown

      I love the idea of a book. Maybe sales could go to a literacy group?

  • http://www.annjacobus.com Ann Jacobus

    An epic event, masterfully organized, and enjoyed by poets and sports fans alike! Thank you, Ed.

  • http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com Catherine Johnson

    Thanks so much for a fabulous event, Ed. You’ve done an amazing job!

  • http://www.allanwolf.com Allan Wolf

    I think you ought to make a poster or (even better) a T-shirt with the tournament’s final bracket containing all 64 poets.

  • http://www.katyaczaja.com/ Katya

    I love Allan’s idea of t-shirts. And a book of all the poems (with royalties going to a charity) would be awesome. Maybe the word-cloud could go on the t-shirt front.

  • http://www.pennyklostermann.com Penny Klostermann

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this!!!

  • Melinda Harvey

    I would love a tshirt, poster, belt clip and a bumper sticker with the word cloud on it! Oh, and how about the “my poem got to round # in thinkkidthink’s poetry tourney” headband! I also would love a reunion tour. How ’bout it Ed….can you plan all of that!? Seriously, many thanks for organizing such a fun, poetic event! It has been nothing short of terrific! I hate to see it end!

    • http://www.susantaylorbrown.com/blog/blog Susan Taylor Brown

      Oooh, ooh, Melinda. Love all your ideas!