Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spotlight on Today's Little Ditty + DMC Challenge


THE DITTY OF THE MONTH CLUB


Whaaat? No spotlight interview?

Nope, not this month. But there's still plenty to celebrate around here, so don't go anywhere. (I'll have a DMC challenge for you in just a bit.)


Not only is it National Poetry Month, but on Monday . . .

Evan Long

Today's Little Ditty turns four years old!



Available for purchase at Amazon.com
Sooooo... it occurred to me that I never had a proper launch party for The Best of Today's Little Ditty: 2014-2015.


Yes, the book was released five months ago.


Yes, it's time to start thinking about the next volume. (Drop me a line if you want to be on my new Ditty Committee.)


Fine. Maybe I'm just in the mood for cupcakes. Do you have a problem with that?



Andy Li






I'll need quite a few. More than 150 poets have contributed to 28 DMC challenges over the past three years, plus classrooms, plus blog readers who haven't submitted poems yet (but hopefully will one day). You're all invited.

Pardon me for a moment while I crunch some numbers . . .

Holy ditty, Batman! More than 850 poems have been contributed so far!

Now excuse me while I conduct some cupcake research— dark chocolate with toasted coconut, mmmmm....  What's your favorite flavor?  It's on me.


Speaking of flavors . . .

I've noticed there are basically two flavors of DMC challenges:

1. There's the "here's a word or subject—go!" challenge, like David Harrison's "ditty" challenge or Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's "small as a chickadee" challenge.

2. There's the "try this (new) poetry form" challenge, like Joyce Sidman's deeper wisdom poems or Margarita Engle's tanka challenge.

Occasionally we get a challenge that combines the two, like Laura Purdie Salas's water-inspired cinquains or Bob Raczka's monster-inspired haiku. Or who could forget Penny Parker Klostermann's "dragon's feast" challenge (a progressive poem comprised of couplets)? What a wild ride that was! That one might need a category all to itself.


Which kind of challenge do you like best?

It's a little hard to gauge which challenge was most popular since TLD's readership has grown over time, but in terms of numbers of contributors and numbers of poems, Jane's Yolen's septercet challenge comes out on top with 46 participants and 54 poems. Other buzzworthy challenges include Nikki Grimes's free verse/wordplay challenge, Douglas Florian's poems about nothing, J. Patrick Lewis's zeno challenge, and last month's ode poem challenge from Helen Frost.



Ready for this month's DMC challenge?

Here it is: 

Write a poem following the guidelines of any one of the past 28 challenges.





That's right, we're celebrating National Poetry Month and TLD's birthday with a Ditty Potluck!

The table is set. YOU decide what dittilicious delicacy you'd like to share with the rest of us, choosing from the following recipes:
Sebastian Dooris

Click HERE for an alphabetical list of all the DMC challenges.

Click HERE for an alphabetical list of all the Spotlight interviews.


Please note: When you post your poem on the April 2017 padlet, be sure to indicate which challenge you're responding to.

This month I'll be sharing daily ditties from the padlet, of course, but I'll also be featuring a few from The Best of TLD: 2014-2015, and touching base with a couple of Spotlight authors from 2014-2015 to see what they're up to lately.



You didn't think I'd forget some kind of extra incentive, did you?

Of course not.


At the end of the month, one participant (chosen randomly) will get their just desserts:

Option 1: A set of 8 copies of The Best of Today's Little Ditty: 2014-2015 to use with a classroom or extracurricular group.

Option 2: One copy of The Best of Today's Little Ditty, plus a $20 gift card to purchase a poetry book(s) of your choice.

Option 3: A $25 gift card if you already have all the copies of The Best of TLD you need.



Ready? It's BYOD time! 
(Bring Your Own Ditty)


From "Eating Poetry" by Mark Strand, Academy of American Poets


HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

Post your poem on our April 2017 padlet. (Be sure to mention which challenge you are responding to.) Stop by any time during the month to add your work or to check out what others are contributing.

By posting on the padlet, you are granting me permission to share your poem on Today's Little Ditty.  Some poems will be featured as daily ditties, though authors may not be given advanced notice. Subscribe to the blog if you'd like to keep tabs. You can do that in the sidebar to the right where it says "Follow TLD by Email." As always, all of the poems will be included in a wrap-up celebration on the last Friday of the month—April 28th for our current challenge.

TEACHERS, it's great when students get involved! Ditty of the Month Club challenges are wonderful opportunities to learn about working poets and authors while having fun with poetry prompts. Thank you for spreading the word! For children under 13, please read my COPPA compliance statement in the sidebar to the right.

FIRST-TIMERS (those who have never contributed to a ditty challenge before), in addition to posting your work on the padlet, please send your name and email address to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com. That way I'll be able to contact you for possible inclusion in future Best of Today's Little Ditty anthologies.

BLOGGERS, thank you for publishing your poems on your own blogs– I love that!  Please let me know about it, so I can share your post! Also remember to include your poem (or a direct link to your post) on the padlet in order to be included in the wrap-up celebration and end-of-month giveaway.


Clare K

Now have a cupcake. They're going fast.


Many thanks to everyone who contributed an ode poem to last month's ditty challenge! (Tabatha Yeatt's "Ode to a Tablecloth" came in fairly late in the day, but is definitely worth going back to the wrap-up presentation to have a read.) Without doubt, it was an exercise that reaped marvelous results!

Random.org has determined that a personalized copy of When My Sister Started Kissing by Helen Frost will go to:

BRIDGET MAGEE
Congratulations, Bridget!



Irene Latham is awash with poetry this month. Her poem-a-day project ARTSPEAK! Portraits reveals the voice within 30 different artistic works. In addition, she organizes the annual Kidlitophere Progressive Poem. (Day 4 was posted here earlier this week.) Join Irene for Day 7, along with this week's Poetry Friday roundup, at Live Your Poem.


If you're looking for other creative ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, Jama Rattigan is your go-to for NPM festivites at Alphabet Soup.





69 comments:

  1. Wow, where to begin . . . The cupcakes look marvelous, it's good I can't reach in across the web and pull one out. I love the Ditty celebration you've thrown, and drum roll please,
    Happy Returns of
    the Day Dearest Today's
    Little Ditty! Thanks
    for many magical
    poetry promenades.
    xo
    Thanks for all!
    p.s. love the pics!

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    1. What a cheery ditty to greet me here first thing this morning! Thanks, Michelle. The best picture is the one of my favorite book cover. :)

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  2. This is so much fun! Congrats on the blog birthday, and for building such an incredible Ditty community! I'm a relative newbie, and have never contributed, but those cupcakes have inspired me, and I just might try my hand at a little ditty of my own!

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  3. Happy Birthday, TLD! And congratulations, Michelle.

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  4. Happy birthday to Today's Little Ditty! This should be an interesting month on the padlet!

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    1. Agreed! I'm looking forward to seeing what comes in.

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  5. Congratulations on your blog birthday, Michelle. Your spotlights and other series have been such a great contribution to the Poetry Friday community. Pass the cupcakes!

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I saved a key lime cupcake just for you.

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  6. Yay for potluck... and cupcakes!! And: HOORAY FOR FOUR YEARS!!! Wow, Michelle. What a gift you are to the universe, and especially, to all of US. One of my writing goals this year has been to participate in at least 6 of your challenges... maybe I will be able to bring a word-salad to the table this month... I hope so. xo

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    1. It's been so great seeing and sharing your contributions the last couple months, Irene. Looking forward to whatever comes my way next. :)

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  7. Happy happy blogiversary! I may have to try one of the challenges I've missed in the past. (And by the way, dark chocolate with toasted coconut, please.)

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    1. Ah, a woman after my own heart! I don't share my dark chocolate-coconut cupcakes with just anyone, you know.

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  8. Congratulations on the blog birthday. The cupcakes look delicious. (I'll have one with chocolate and more chocolate--hold the nuts and coconut). I'm one of those readers who has not yet participated but look forward to submitting something in the future. This month's challenge looks like a good opportunity!

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    1. Here's an "death by chocolate" cupcake just for you, Kay! And as for that poem, at least this month you have plenty of challenges to choose from.

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  9. Happy Birthday!! Thanks for the cupcakes! You throw great parties. I was just thinking this morning how much I like your collection, so I am happy to hear that you are putting together another. Go, Michelle!

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    1. Thanks, Tabatha! Yeah, well, what good is a series with only one volume, right? At least now I sort of know what I'm doing. ;)

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  10. Oh boy, a chance for me to redeem myself and actually write some poems? Will I do it? Only time will tell... (but thanks for the opportunity!!!).

    And happy birthday to TLD!

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    1. Ha! Well, it's good to have you around regardless, Renée. :)

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  11. Happy 4th Birthday! So glad I found your blog--I've so enjoyed your challenges. They've helped me find my way back to poetry again. And now I get to explore all the challenges I've missed, oh my good gracious--YAY! Thanks, Michelle :)

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    1. Well this is a feel good comment if ever I read one. I'm so glad TLD's been there for you, Ann. :)

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  12. Wow, it's been a wonderful four years of poetry, Michelle. Congratulations! Now, what to choose for this new challenge. . .? First I'd like a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing, then I'll begin with some words! You've certainly been a wonderful influence in my poetry life, and many others I see from the numbers shared. Thank you for the creativity and style you put into your posts! And, I just found Helen's When My Sister Started Kissing at the library-soon!

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    1. One red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing coming up, Linda! What a joy it is for ME to have you participate each month, Linda. I'm not sure you've ever missed one...? Enjoy Helen's book—it's a sweet read.

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  13. Oh Happiest of Ditty Birthday Wishes, Michelle. Hoping to write and looking through ALL the Ditty Challenges. Your blog is terrific. I just finished When My Sister Started Kissing and loved it! I am saving favorites for my granddaughter's library. The Best of Today's Little Ditty is a perfect gift for teachers for Poetry Month!!!!!Or May's Teacher Appreciation Day!
    Janet Clare F.

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    1. Thank you, thank you, Janet! How wonderful that you're already building up your granddaughter's library. That's one lucky little girl to have you. Also, I think I need to hire you as my marketing rep. :)

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  14. What a fabulous way to celebrate poetry month and your Ditty Birthday! I look toward to your spotlight post each month and have truly enjoyed reading all of the poems that bloom out of your prompts. What a garden you have grown!

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    1. Thanks, Janie. If I may say, your poetry has certainly bloomed as well! A belated congratulations and well done on progressing so far in the March Madness tournament!

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  15. Hooray for four years and second chances! Thanks for the list of challenges--I'm looking forward to trying them out!

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  16. Happy Birthday, TLD! 800+ poems is a LOT! And a cool book to show for all the goodness written and shared because of this blog. Looking forward to many more DMC interviews. Thanks for all you do for poets and poetry. :)

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    1. Yeah, well, I'm still a newbie compared to... say... YOU! I've learned so much from you, Jama. Thank you for all YOU do for poets and poetry and artists (and teddies, too). Pure yumminess, that's what Alphabet Soup is.

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  17. What?! Four years? How is that even possible? Wow. You have inspired an unbelievable number of poems! You should get an extra cupcake for that. 800 gifts to the world! Thank you!

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    1. I know, right? Time flies when you're having fun. :)

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  18. Congratulations, Michelle - that's quite a feat! 4 years and 850 poems, yikes...it's amazing we were able to put that book together in the first place! I'll have to look back at all those challenges and see if I can fin something that spurs some creativity; I've been so busy lately, I have barely had time to write my OWN projects! (And by the way, you've just now made me realize that this August my blog will turn 5! Good grief, where do they years go??)

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    1. Didn't know TLD and RRR were so close in age. Want to set up a playdate? ;) Seriously, though, I totally get what you're saying about feeling overcommitted. It's great to see all that hard work paying off for you nicely!

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  19. Happy blogiversary! And what a celebration you've put together. Can't wait to try this month's potluck ditty challenge.

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  20. Wowza!

    Four years of friendship & fabulousness.
    You deserve a wondercake. A cupcake isn't enough.
    Poems I made would still be random letters in the dictionary, had I not found Today's Little (or Big) Delight (or Ditty.)

    So many appreciations.

    I'm not a cupcake person so much, but my pudding flavor is raspberry dark chocolate. I have a surprise recipe for it that people remark upon from far & near & I will attempt to bring a stash along the next time I'm in noshing distance from you :) If you accept chocolate items that are impossibly wonderful, like you.

    HB!HB!HB! to TLD.

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    1. p.s. I am half-raising my hand. If the group work begins after the summer...

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    2. What a sweetie you are, Jan! For you, I've got some dark chocolate raspberry pudding in the kitchen (though it probably pales in comparison to your own!) Not sure the Ditty Committee will work out for you since most of the committee work takes place *during* the summer, but I'll put you on my email list and you can decide for sure later.

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  21. Happy Birthday! What a wonderful celebration. Your enthusiasm and excitement are wonderfully contagious! I have learned and grown so much as a reader and writer and poetry community member from my interactions with TLD. I'm a solid death-by-chocolate person....so my cupcake, and perhaps my ditty, will be dark. Can't wait to see what unfolds from TLD participants this month.

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    1. So nice to hear, Linda. Thank you! And I'm all for dark... in small doses, anyway. Might I suggest the monster-themed haiku challenge (Bob Raczka, Nov 2014)? I don't think you were around for that one.

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    2. Believe it or not --- I went with Xeno inspired by J. Patrick Lewis. I used Matt Esenwine's great examples for mentor texts. I'm not done with this birthday party. But, that was a fun party game! I'll be back!

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  22. Don't they grow up fast!?!?
    Happy birthday TLD. (That happens to be my oldest daughter's initials...she will soon be 40).
    I will look over the challenges and pick one if I can, but picking only one will be difficult.

    Like picking only one cupcake.
    Thanks, Michelle!

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    1. How lovely to know my blog shares initials with your daughter, Damon! And soon my TLD will be entering preschool. What will I do then???

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  23. Four years is fantastic! Congratulations.I'm happy to have found my way here.

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    1. I'm delighted you found your way here, too, David!

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  24. Happy blog birthday, Michelle!! What a fun party (and cupcakes...of course, I'm going to blame you if I end up baking real cupcakes this weekend...LOL!)! I will try to remember to submit a poem. :) xo

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    1. Thanks, Teresa. Virtual cupcakes have fewer calories, of course, but who can resist the real thing! I've heard they taste even better when you write a poem about them. ;)

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  25. Wow. So many choices!! I can see I'll need to ponder and stall some... But meantime, enjoy your celebrations amongst friends. xx

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    1. Thanks, Kat. I'll put a couple in the freezer for you for later.

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  26. I shouldn't have read this while I was hungry. So fun to have a smorgasbord of choices this month. Hum, which one calls to me. We'll see...

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    1. Whichever you choose, Margaret, I know your poem will be delectable!

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  27. Happy birthday. Oh what fun! I love the Septercet is one of my favorite forms as is the zeno.
    And I'll take a dark chocolate cupcake always.

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    1. One dark chocolate with a septercet on the side coming right up!

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  28. Happy Birthday to TLD! This blog must take a lot of your time, Michelle, as you do such a thorough, well-organized job of everything. Thanks for inventing this interesting Kidlit poetry outpost!

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    1. Thanks, Violet. Yeah, it probably takes more than in should, but I just can't help myself! I love the community too much.

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  29. Thank you for the chance to go back and catch up on some challenges I missed. Now that I've kicked Wretched March to the curb, I'll start with an ode...as soon as Malvina's poem for tomorrow is finished!

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    1. What? A poem a day isn't enough for you, Mary Lee? I bet there's a DMC challenge or two or a few you might be able to combine with Malvina.

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  30. Congratulations, Michelle! You've accomplished so much in four years! Thank you for your dedication and hard work. I know I've missed a few interesting challenges, so I love your potluck idea. I think I'll have a cupcake while I consider which challenge to take up. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Catherine. There's always so much going on during National Poetry Month, I figured a low pressure challenge might be in order!

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  31. Michelle, congratulations and happy birthday! I haven't had a chance yet to contribute something this month but I have the best of intentions!

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    1. Oh, that would be wonderful, David! I'll see if I can whip something up for your WOM challenge too.

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  32. What a wonderful party you spired us with a cupcake with a buttercream icing would be grate I chose to write mine like Jane's challenge again I am so once agene honored to be apart of your wonderful book looking forward to reading everyone poems this month

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    1. Buttercream icing... mmmmm.... Looks like I'll be having seconds!

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  33. Happy blog birthday, Michelle! Looking forward to reacquainting myself with many of the challenges - a smorgasbord of goodness! And thank you and Helen for the book - I'm so excited I won so I can share it with my girls. =)

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  34. Michelle, I have been way off course with reading everyone
    s NPM poetry happenings but I am backtracking. Your ditty challenges are always so much fun and this one is a potluck delicacy. Let's see if I can try my hand at a new challenge. Thanks for always coming up with a good idea.

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