The Thinkier

The inaugural Poetry Madness! tournament is nearing its close — a merciful finish for some, and a rather merciless one for others.

Stephen and Debbie are now searching their inner Poes for one last pressure-written poem, while the rest of us wait and wonder what’s next.

And so, I thought I’d give you all something to talk about.

Many of you have shared with me (or have shared openly in the comments or on your own blogs) what this madness has meant to you: from interacting with family to sparking new student enthusiasm, from discovering unfamiliar authors to discovering your own talents, from remembering decades-old experiences to triggering forgotten poetic thoughts, from expanding personal networks to meeting potential long-term friends.

Honestly, I never expected anything so … permanent.

Fun? Yes.

Fast? Yes.

But then I thought the thing would just sorta end.

However, it’s pretty clear now that this event is here to stay. And that brings me to the point of this post: An annual event of this magnitude deserves a SYMBOL, something that truly captures the spirit of the event.

To this end, I am excited to introduce you to:

“The Thinkier”

Non-artist’s rendering

Inspired by Allan Wolf’s uncannily creative use of his 15-seed word “kinkier” in the first round, this trophy will be engraved with the names of all Poetry Madness! champions over time. After each year’s tournament, “The Thinkier” will be sent to live with that year’s winner for the following year. They can show it off at home, in school(s), on tour(s), whatever they want — just try not to break him! But then, when the next year’s tournament starts, they send it back to me to add the name of new champion, and then “The Thinkier” goes off to live in a different home for that year, gets to meet a new set of people, and so on.

Despite its inanimateness, it will be an unmistakably living, moving, breathing embodiment of the event.

And that brings us back to our 2012 Finals …

Whose name will be forever engraved as the first Poetry Madness! champion?

We’ll find out Thursday night! And now we have something else to talk about while these two take forever to write their final poems. Geez, guys. Hurry up already.

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  • Joanna

    Brilliant, Ed, I think the Thinkier is very appropriate! What an extraordinary month… and the final is yet to come!

  • Amy LV

    So funny, Ed! I smiled, remembering Allan’s poem, when I saw this. Many thanks for all you’ve done. ‘Great idea to make a traveling trophy named by a poem from YEAR ONE MADNESS.

    (My only concern is that Ed himself will be truly mad before mid-April even arrives….) ;)

  • Catherine Johnson

    Awesome! Thanks for a super tournament Ed. Now you’re allowed to sleep.

  • Allan Wolf

    Very cool. What about an anthology so others can relive the magic? You could even create a virtual book, like the Poetry Tag anthologies that Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell are making.

    • Ed DeCaria

      I like the “virtual book” idea for this year, maybe. I can look at ways to do something like that — I’ll check out what JW and SV are doing and see if I can copy in some fashion. But I think I’ll pass on any sort of “real” book (electronic or paper) for this year. I just think it’s something that should have been discussed in advance and made part of the terms of entry for participants; I don’t really want to force it on people after the event is over.

      Here’s another way to relive it that would be kindof fun: a TKT feature called Madness! Remix

      I can select two poems from Madness! 2012 and pair them together for a new vote. It would be interesting and could also be coupled with the “data collection” idea that I have mentioned elsewhere to determine which attributes (funny vs. serious, actually funny vs. missed attempt, meter vs. free, tight meter vs. off, rhymed vs. not, long vs. short, rigid structure vs. not, etc.) tend to garner more votes. With the pressure/desire to advance to the next round removed from consideration, the remix could also remove the social aspect and allow poems to stand on their own for consideration, which was not always quite the case throughout the tournament (which is okay, and somewhat as expected).

      That’s just one idea. Lot’s more to come …

  • Pam

    Your creativity is never ending! We’re all the better for it. The traveling trophy is a wonderful idea! Congratulations to everyone! Thank you for this opportunity to participate. I’ve learned so much, Ed. What an education! What a ride! Glad it will continue. Aren’t you exhausted?

  • Robyn Hood Black

    Just look what you’ve gone and done! ;0) Congrats and thanks for your initiative and endless hours of work. Great trophy idea!

  • Michele Krueger

    Hats off to you, Ed, the thinkiest of all!
    A troubadour of Trope!
    Our referee of Rhyme!
    Our Keeper of that Clock,
    Inspired Poetry Time!

    thank you for catalyzing so much banter about the beauty and power of language! Sign me up annually!

  • Irene Latham

    Brilliant! But then I’ve come to expect that of you. You’re an inspiration!!

  • Greg Pincus

    Love the statue and the name for it, too. Plus I love your optimism in having it go through 2020 already! Then again, though, like most of us hanging around these parts… I’m in!

  • Janet

    I will be eagerly awaiting what you are going to thinkier up next, Ed. This has been such a blast, a learning experience and has so much potential……you are going to have to figure out how you are going to select your 64 poets for next year. I believe you will be inundated. And thinking up new words….hmmm……even that has potential for very interesting opportunities. I love the traveling trophy for the winner of March Madness.

    Did you even dream all of this could happen? Many thanks from this teacher/poetry-lover!

  • Stephen W Cahill

    Ed this is brilliant – love the name!

  • Susan Taylor Brown

    I’m in for new fun too, Ed. I think you’re the pied piper of the moment for us poetically minded folks.

  • Debbie L.

    Love it! And I’m in for a book of sorts and donating profits to a children’s organization.

  • Renee LaTulippe

    Ed, I love The Thinkier — but methinks the winner also needs to do a VICTORY LAP, say around a few participants’ blogs to show off the trophy. If s/he is up for doing a video of one of the competition poems AND flashing the trophy, I’d love to have him/her on No Water River!

  • Katya

    You have just made me so, so sad that I did not win The Thinkier this year.

    I like your data collection idea… I bet it would yield some interesting results.

    • Ed DeCaria

      No, no, the Thinkier does not bring sadness. He brings comfort, and laughter, and inspiration to all! (At least he will as soon as I order him … and put him together … and engrave him … and ship him to Ireland …)

  • Katya

    He brings hope — hope I can have a better seed and maybe make it out of the first round next year.