Not Dead


Dear The Internet,

My wife and I have a running joke. Whenever one of us is out for far longer than expected, to keep the other from worrying, we simply send the text message “Not dead.” Sometimes, after staying out even later after that first message, a reassuring “Still not dead” may be sent, and again, all worry is washed away.

So here we find ourselves, in mid-March 2016, and many are wondering what’s going on with March Madness Poetry. Surely, if everything was okay, you would have heard something by now. Authlete applications, classroom registrations, last year’s favorite poems, proposed changes for this year’s event … something.

So here I am, delivering to you the simultaneously comforting and confusing message of “Not dead.”

I knew going in that 2016 would either be the best year ever or that it wouldn’t happen at all. Regrettably, I came up a bit short. I’ll explain more soon. In the meantime, a simple question: What will you miss most?



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  • Pauline Sparks

    The anticipation right throughout … waiting for it to start … waiting for the next round of poems … waiting to see if the same person I voted for was leading (not sure why but it often wasn’t!) … waiting to see who won each round/the whole thing … and of course the poems written around the most ‘unlikely’ of words.

    • Pauline Sparks

      And as a matter of interest, since I am in New Zealand, I have made my comment a day before you wrote your letter … it is Tuesday March 15 here and I see your date is 45 minutes ago on March 14!!! That concept always makes me laugh!!!

  • Patricia Emerson

    Ah, I’m with Pauline. This event makes my class cheer and debate the merits of poetry. What else could be better? The GREAT news is that you have past years here for us to revisit and enjoy, so we will. Hope all is well. Our “victory” last year was icing on the cake. Every day was a lesson in the wonder of well-crafted words!

  • Donna Smith

    Phew! I’d been checking your pulse here for a couple of days now, and there were no signs of life! What a relief to know you are still kicking!

    I’ll miss all of it –
    each poetic bit;
    the long, mad wait
    to get in the gate,
    to be dealt a word
    that borders absurd,
    the challenge to write,
    the reading delight,
    the voting chore,
    still wanting some more –
    that’s what I’ll miss;
    please, no good-bye kiss;
    don’t tell me “so long”
    nor sing a swan’s song!
    My pen’s at the ready;
    I’m glad your not deady!

  • Debra Shumaker

    Thanks for the update! While I won’t be quite as creative as Donna, March is definitely not the same without this competition. I’ll miss the entire thing, but I think what I will miss the most is the “word reveal.” I love seeing the tough words that the authletes must use and, as Pauline mentioned, the anticipation of what they will come up with on a deadline. Those poems always end up being phenomenal!

  • Buffy Silverman

    Glad to hear you are among the living! I was planning on skipping this year’s competition, but I still miss cheering others on–it’s always fun and amazing to read the gems that people write.

  • Janie Hogan-Summers Lazo

    Dear Ed,
    Glad your not dead-

    Kind regards- Janie

    March Sadness

    The month of March – right from the start – was like a lion sleeping.
    When will he wake? when will he roar the words he has been keeping?
    A list of words- all quite absurd- to get the thinking started.
    To draw us back to one accord from whence we all departed.
    I wait in vain- thoughts cross my brain- this silence is but madness!
    Yes, think-kid-think- has gone away, thus madness turned to sadness.
    A dismal spring where words can’t sing and poems remain unwritten,
    Is sad indeed , I must confess – with Kid Think Kid I’m smitten!

  • Ann Magee

    I miss the challenge of creating something within the parameters of time, word choice, and poem length. The poems I wrote here would never have been written otherwise. One even won me $250 in a poetry contest–and it was a limerick! Poetry is my first love when it comes to writing, so I’ll still be writing poems. Miss you, Ed, and all our participants. Hope all is well and we’ll see you again soon. :)

  • EmilyDickinson

    Ed, it was so much fun. It was a gift. Of your time& genius. Your comments were wise & witty. It was a treasure, an accepting! place for rejected poets. It was a chance for neglected rhymers to feel loved, part of something larger. Valued. Supported. Respected. It was a gathering of word-lovers, a last hurrah as language is abbreviated, flattened, digitized & reduced to code & gimmick. It was 15 minutes of fame. You put so much into it. It was beautiful & I feel fortunate to have participated. I’ll never forget your generosity. I hope that you are OK & that you will let us know soon how you’re doing. I’m sure we all wish you well.