Why Read Poems

I’ve written before about how poetry gets a bad rap, which is so sad, because the reading of poetry can be such a pleasure. And it’s good for the brain, as noted here. Toward that end, here are several poems that swirled into my consciousness recently, poems that come with this warning: they are so beautiful and […]

Kick’em When They’re Up, Kick’em When They’re Down

. . . in the immortal words of Don Henley.Attacking poetry is nothing new, though back in the day it seemed like it might have been a fair fight.When Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley called poets “the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” poetry was still a brawny contender. Rich brewers might have snickered at Shelley […]

Just Because

The Secret Service was formed not to protect the president, but to protect the economy. During and after the Civil War, the sun shone brightly on counterfeiters, and they made plenty of hay. The bills were so crude then and counterfeiting was easy to do and difficult to detect. The economy tottered.Hence the Secret Service. […]

Poetry Poker

Another diversion during the week of festivities was a round or three of poetry poker. I believe the idea came from Kenneth Koch. Or so I was told. So you take a pack of cards, write words or phrases on them, and then deal 5 to each player. (We tend to be lax on rules, […]


As obvious as the link is between the quality of content (we could also say validity) and item writing training, it remains a mystery to me how sound practices in item writing training have nearly become obsolete.Steven M. Downing discusses this link in “Twelve Steps for Effective Test Development” from the Handbook of Test Development: Yet […]