untitled (169)A TRIBUTE TO MAYA ANGELOU by Jackie Wellington

Maya, you no longer have to be a caged bird,
confined in a tiny space,
looking out from behind those bars.

Now, your spirit is set free,
You can glide towards the moon,
sail upon the clouds,
and settle in your new home – Heaven.

I became a “Phenomenal Woman”
because you said that’s who I am.
And I believed you.

I shook hands with a “Freedom Fighter”
because you said that’s what I should do.
So I listened.

I stopped “Passing Time,”
stopped existing,
and started living.
(That was your advice to me.)

You told me, there were “Senses of Insecurity.”
“Don’t buy in to the stereotype,” you said when you recited this poem.
At that time, I lack “Communication I, Communication II,” and “Artful Pose.”

Now look at me, standing here in “Remembrance.”
Reminiscing on the life of an author, motivator, poet, actress, human rights activist, an abolitionist of mental slavery, and a wonderful human being.

You have left your imprint on the future of our nation.
The little boys and girls of all races, cultures, and ethnicities.
You will join your brothers – Martin, Marcus, Malcolm, and Mandela.
And your sisters – Rosa, Harriett, Sojourner and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Thanks for impacting my life.
Thanks for motivating me to be something bigger and better.
And thanks for being you.
Rest In Peace, Maya Angelou.

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March Madness Poetry 2014 (#MMPOETRY 2014)

MMPoetry2014_logo_full (2) I am back!!! And I am doing another challenge. This one is tied to poetry.

It is the March Madness Poetry Competition 2014. Here are the details.

“How does #MMPoetry work, exactly?

The tournament is organized into four separate brackets of 16 poets (also known as “authletes”). In the NCAA tournament, teams are seeded based on their performance over the season. In this tournament, however, seeds have nothing to do with an authlete’s credentials — instead, seeds reflect the difficulty of writing kid-appropriate poems using certain words. Seemingly impossible-to-use words like “bifurcate”, “meretricious”, and “denuded” are given poor seeds, while more intuitive words like “decent”, “awry”, and “topical” are given very good seeds.

In each round, two words of opposing difficulty face each other in a prompted poem pairing (e.g., 14-denuded vs. 3-topical). But that’s only half of the madness — the other half? Poets are only given 36 hours to compose their poems! Fans then vote for their favorites, and winners move on to write again the next day! (LITERALLY: THE NEXT DAY.)

64 authletes become 32, then 16, then eight, then four, then two, and then ultimately one is crowned the March Madness Poetry Champion. He/she is awarded one year possession of The Thinkier trophy, named after #MMPoetry2012 authlete Allan Wolf’s uncannily creative use of the 15-seed word “kinkier” in his first round poem that year.

In 2014, we’re bringing the event even closer to kids and schools. Teachers, librarians, and home school families can now serve as official voting classrooms and earn a chance to win the ultimate poetry grand prize: a bookshelf of 50 (FIFTY!) new kids’ poetry books for their class! (Shelf not included.)

#MMPoetry 2014 kicks off with the unveiling of this year’s bracket on Selection Sunday — March 2, 2014.

The first words will be assigned on Monday, March 17th, and the first poems will be up for vote on Wednesday afternoon, March 19th.”

I am in the group with Jane Yolen. I am so stoke. I am going up against a poet, Chief Poet, Mother Streusel. I am looking forward to this challenge. As you know, I love a good challenge. Wish me luck.