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$2,325 pledged of $12,000 goal
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By Ed DeCaria
$2,325 pledged of $12,000 goal
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About this project

trans·mog·ri·fi·ca·tion : 1) The process of changing into a different shape or form, especially one that is fantastic or bizarre; 2) A cool word that would be worthy of a 15-seed in the March Madness Poetry tournament if we weren't already using to characterize this Kickstarter campaign.

March Madness Poetry (#MMPoetry) brings the excitement of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament to the world of kids' poetry. During the event, 64 poets (we call 'em authletes) from around the world scramble to turn words hand-picked for their seeming impossibility into crowd-pleasing verse. Together, they write 126 new kids' poems in just 21 days! IT'S MADNESS!

Here's what participants and fans have said about the event:

You can learn more about the event here, but the reactions above pretty much say it all: March Madness Poetry has lit a fire within kids, teens, parents, teachers, librarians, industry folks, and the general public, and

Believe it or not, YOU are essential to making the transmogrification of #MMPoetry a reality. By supporting this Kickstarter project, you aren't just buying something, you're truly helping to BUILD something. Here are the three new forms that #MMPoetry will take on as an outcome of this project:

First, fans can RELIVE the madness directly via this anthology commemorating the #MMPoetry 2013 event. The event carries so much emotion and so many memories that it's easy to forget just how much fun everyone has during the three-week poetry party. And for the millions of kids who still have not heard about the event, this book is the single best way to spread the word far and wide. The anthology will include all 126 poems from #MMPoetry 2013, a round-by-round summary of the action, side stories, quotes from authletes and fans, and more. AND the book will get more and more awesome if/as we pass each Kickstarter stretch goal -- we're talking illustrations, new chapters, and other cool add-ons that your pledges will help unlock!

Kickstarter creative special: Supporters who pledge $25 or more will get to help decide which matchups from the first three rounds of #MMPoetry2013 deserve extra attention in a special "highlights" section of the book. After the tournament, I'll provide a form where you can submit which matchup(s) you think the book should highlight and why. I will then write an in-depth analysis of the matchups that you all found most compelling in each round!

Second, fans can REMIX the madness with this set of 126 printable flash cards. Each card features one #MMPoetry 2013 poem plus a thumbnail index for easy sorting by subject, form, meter, style, etc. The package includes suggestions for creative in-class interaction or at-home educational play. Students can create over 15,000 head-to-head poetry battles with just this one set, AND it can be combined with future years' sets to enable hundreds of thousands of potential poetry pairings! Remix the madness again and again and again!

Kickstarter creative special: Supporters who pledge $10 or more will get to vote on the final flashcard design. I will share 3-5 designs on an invitation-only page at ThinkKidThink.com and put them to vote, then move forward with whichever design you all like best!

Finally, fans can RE-IMAGINE the madness in a totally new way with MADNESS! The Board Game, an INSANELY FUN play-at-home version of #MMPoetry. It has everything that fans love about the event -- words, seeds, time pressure, voting, rooting, and winning -- abstracted and compressed into one explosive box!

For those of you who play a lot of party games, think Apples-to-Apples meets Balderdash meets Say Anything (i.e., fun prompts + struggling to form a coherent thought under pressure + still being able to win no matter what you write). It's simple to learn, quick to play, and loads of fun for friends and family ages 8 and up. And it might even teach players a few things about poetry! (But not too much.)

The main game is designed for groups of 3-6 players, but it scales well beyond that. The rules include a compelling 1-2 player challenge as well.

Kickstarter creative special: Supporters who pledge $35 or more will get to create their own unique Prompt Card to be included in the game itself! Each card contains one dictionary word and one doodle. With some friendly guidance, you will also get to assign your card's "seed" -- intuitive (colored green), reasonable (colored yellow), odd (colored red), or seemingly impossible (colored black).

Transmogrification is exhausting -- and the more dramatic the change, the more energy it takes to complete the process. Here we're talking about a TRIPLE transmogrification, so #MMPoetry needs all the energy that it can generate to complete the process successfully. Specifically, it needs creative energy ("I'm an online event that wants to transmogrify into a physical form ... what types of things do humans find useful and interesting?"), social energy ("Transmogrification is so scary and lonely ... who will watch over me and ensure that their family, friends, and followers will recognize me once my transmogrification is complete?", and financial energy ("I just transmogrified and all I got was this lousy bill from a publisher. Can I crash at your place for a few months?").

Whatever energy you have to offer -- creative, social, and/or financial -- this project needs YOU to reach its goals.

As mentioned above, all project backers will have a chance to lend their creative energy to the process to make the book, flashcards, and game as appealing as possible.

Your social energy is also critical to ensure that we reach the 500+ backers that it will take to move forward with the project. You can "Like" this project on Facebook using the button atop this page and share this link on your other preferred social networks, AND more importantly spread the word in real life by mentioning this project to your family, friends, colleagues, etc.

Finally, there's no getting around it, this project will only move forward if we reach the all-or-nothing $12,000 goal hanging up there in 72-point bold font. Hopefully you see a reward that you like and will directly contribute to pushing us past our Kickstarter funding goal.

Every project should have a few stretch goals, so here are ours ... presented in overdramatic countdown fashion:

Stretch Goal #10$15,000 The Final Four and Finals poems will be illustrated in the book! Each of the Final Four and Finals poems will be illustrated (by six different artists – one for each poem). It is only fair that our illustrators will have exactly as much time to work on their art as our authletes had to work on their poems – 36 hours! After that, pencils down!

Stretch Goal #9$20,000I will write an extra chapter for the book that analyzes #MMPoetry 2013 poems using POEMETRICS™! This analysis will reveal which attributes were more often associated with winning poems over the course of the tournament. Did funny beat serious? Did people care about meter? Did people like characters in poems? Did they value reading new poetic forms? We'll gather as much data as we can during #MMPoetry 2013 and then see how these and other questions shake out.

Stretch Goal #8$25,000We'll get someone famous to write a Foreword for the book! "Hi, Oprah?" ... "It's Ed." ... "Ed DeCaria." ... "No, you don't know me. I'm--" ... "No." ... "I'm just--" ... "No." ... "I'm calling beca--" ... "Oprah? You still there?" (If you know a famous person who is more passionate about kids' poetry than Oprah, please drop me a note in the Comments section.)

Stretch Goal #7$30,000All "Elite 8" and "Sweet 16" poems in the book will be illustrated! 24 more poems will be illustrated (each in 36 hours or less) in addition to the Final Four and Finals poems. That’s 30 total illustrations!

ADDITIONAL STRETCH GOALS WILL BE UNLOCKED IF/AS WE CROSS EACH OF THE GOALS ABOVE!

No matter if or how you choose to support this project, I want to offer a sincere thank you for your interest and consideration. It means a lot -- not just to me, but to many others who work every day to open kids' eyes to the world of poetry, and to seal their lifelong bond with it from an early age.

Thank you,

-Ed

Risks and challenges

The diligent folks at Kickstarter would like project creators to outline the risks and challenges associated with their projects. This reminds me of an exchange between Jerry and Elaine on an old episode of Seinfeld ...

ELAINE: You know, one of these days, something terrible is gonna happen to you. It has to!

JERRY: No. I'm gonna be just fine ...

The core aspects of the project -- the creation of flashcards, a book, and a board game -- are all relatively straightforward, each with known challenges and strategies to overcome them.

Creation of the printable flashcards carries almost zero risk. It is only a function of design followed by electronic distribution.

Creation of the book carries some, but low, risk. There are numerous printers and print-on-demand houses that can handle the intended book design and size, which is fairly standard. I admit that I am notoriously bad at mailing things, so it is possible that I will fail to properly put a stamp or address on a few packages before they are sent. (True story: I once wrote a postcard to my grandma from Hawaii and simply addressed it to "Grandma" without any address. I was thankfully able to retrieve it from the hotel front desk in the morning.)

Creation of the board game carries the most risk of the three. For one, it will require some coordination to solicit and receive custom card content from project backers; however, that is more of a timeline risk than anything else. Second, while board game designers have been known to face challenges with getting their games produced (I have experienced this first hand as one who pre-ordered the game "Oh My God! There's An Axe In My Head: The Game of International Diplomacy" from a now-defunct publisher), this game has very simple components that are straightforward to procure and print with high quality. That said, it is card-intensive, and the cost of printing custom cards does add up quickly when producing in small batches, which I expect will be the case here. But that is a financial risk to me more than it is a delivery risk to project backers.

Overall, the risks associated with fulfillment of the rewards of this project should be considered low, and between my own experience and access to knowledgeable resources, I do not anticipate any major problems.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    MAD REMIX FLASHCARDS! Set of 126 printable flashcards, each featuring one #MMPoetry 2013 poem plus a thumbnail index for easy sorting by subject, form, meter, style, etc. The electronic download includes suggestions for creative in-class interaction or at-home educational play.

    Backers get to vote on the final flashcard design.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    #MMPOETRY 2013 E-BOOK! Includes all 126 poems from #MMPoetry 2013, a round-by-round summary of the action, side stories, quotes from authletes and fans, and more. AND the book will get more and more awesome if/as we pass each Kickstarter stretch goal! (Stretch goals are listed in the project summary.)

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    #MMPOETRY 2013 PAPERBACK BOOK!
    Includes all 126 poems from #MMPoetry 2013, a round-by-round summary of the action, side stories, quotes from authletes and fans, and more; professionally printed and bound with an artist-designed cover. AND the book will get more and more awesome if/as we pass each Kickstarter stretch goal! (Stretch goals are listed in the project summary.) Pledge includes U.S. shipping.

    Backers get to suggest which matchups from the first three rounds of #MMPoetry 2013 deserve extra attention in a special "highlights" section of the book.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    "MADNESS!" THE BOARD GAME! Introducing the world's next great party game: Madness! is an INSANELY FUN play-at-home version of #MMPoetry for players ages 8 and up. It has everything that fans love about the event -- words, seeds, time pressure, voting, rooting, and winning -- abstracted and compressed into one explosive box!

    Pledge includes U.S. shipping.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    #MMPOETRY MADPACK! The Mad Remix flashcards AND the #MMPoetry 2013 book (e-book or paperback) AND Madness! the board game.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    #MMPOETRY WORDPACK!
    Everything in the #MMPOETRY MadPack; AND you select a word to be assigned to an authlete in the 1st Round of the #MMPoetry 2014 tournament. Words are subject to approval.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    #MMPOETRY THREEPACK! Same as the $55 #MMPoetry MadPack except you get three (3) paperback copies of the book instead of one.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    #MMPOETRY CLASSPACK!
    Everything in the #MMPoetry MadPack; AND sponsor one classroom Skype or Google Hangout visit with me to talk poetry! We can take a behind-the-scenes look at #MMPoetry, we can talk about how everyday objects and thoughts inspire poetry, we can discuss metaphor, meter, rhyme, etc.; whatever fits the teacher’s agenda and students’ interests. OR we could just put those flashcards to use and remix ourselves some Madness ...

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    #MMPOETRY ATTACKPACK!
    You pick. Clock ticks. I write. (Oh, shite!)
    Everything in the #MMPoetry ClassPack; AND YOU get to force ME to write a kids’ poem that incorporates any word of your choosing, as long as it is defined in Merriam-Webster’s standard (free) online dictionary. ANY WORD. Like #MMPoetry participants, I will have only 36 hours to complete the poem! I will then publish it online for you and everyone else to read and react.

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    Pledge $600 or more About $600

    #MMPOETRY TOURNEYPACK!
    Everything in the #MMPoetry ClassPack; AND sponsor one classroom’s very own online #MMPoetry tournament, hosted at ThinkKidThink.com! Like the real thing, just slightly modified to accommodate classroom size (max=36) and desired event duration. I guarantee a positive, encouraging atmosphere for all students; we’ll work out all details together.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    #MMPOETRY PARTYPACK!
    Everything in the #MMPoetry TourneyPack; AND each student participant receives a paperback #MMPoetry 2013 book.

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Funding period

- (28 days)