Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Poetry Tag Time coming

I am working on a new Poetry Tag project with Janet Wong, my collaborator on the lovely tribute poetry book for Lee Bennett Hopkins in 2009. We have compiled what we believe is the first ever electronic-only poetry anthology of new poems by top poets for children (ages 0-8) designed for Kindle (and other e-readers) as an irresistible 99 cent book for adults to share with the kids in their lives. The idea is to make poetry an "impulse buy"-- to bring poetry to people who never have bought a poetry book before.

Janet Wong notes, "Our goal is to popularize poetry as a read-aloud. We believe that poetry--more than any other genre--has the ability to delight, capture, and 'level the playing field' for readers and writers of all ages and abilities. We want kids to be able to hear a poem, read it if they wish, enjoy it, and not have to pick it apart in a homework assignment. Hearing poetry is key to falling in love with it.”

We also felt it was time to take children’s poetry into the e-publishing world. Some estimates say that 10 million Kindles have been sold. There were over 10 million Kindle ebook sales in December alone. We bet that at least a tenth of those Kindles belong to adults who spend a significant amount of time each day with children. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could bring a million Kindle readers to children's poetry? Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app for a number of devices, including your Windows or Apple computer, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android-powered phone. Find out more by clicking here.

The first volume is framed around the Poetry Tag concept with 30 poets offering previously unpublished poems for children (ages 0-8) in a connection of poems to debut April 1 in honor of National Poetry Month. We invited poets to "play" with poetry by offering a poem for young readers to enjoy, then "tag" a fellow poet who then shared her/his own poem THAT WAS CONNECTED to the previous poem in SOME way-- a theme, word, idea, tone-- and also offer a sentence or two explaining that connection. Their poems are delightfully divergent in style, voice, form, shape, tone, and more. Plus, their brief notes about the connection that prompted their poem (linking with the previous “tagged” poem) provide fascinating mini-lessons as well. We gain insight into where ideas for poems come from, how a poet changes her/his mind, what a poet is thinking as a poem is crafted. It’s fascinating!

Please visit our PoetryTagTime website, to read more about our project and our 30 participating poets: Children’s Poet Laureates Jack Prelutsky and Mary Ann Hoberman; Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman; NCTE Poetry Award winners X.J. Kennedy, J. Patrick Lewis, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Nikki Grimes; popular poets Douglas Florian, Betsy Franco, and Jane Yolen; and 20 more.

Also, keep an eye on this companion for strategies for sharing each of the 30 poems, one per day throughout the month.

Image credit: PoetryTagTime

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2011. All rights reserved.


  1. Thanks, Mary Lee. We hope you like it as much as we do!