Contra Costa Middle School Students – Enter Our Contest! $$

It’s a rainy day here in Northern California.  Kids have the day off of school.  What to do?  Take out a sheet of paper or write on your computer.  Try your hand at a poem, a story, or a personal story about YOU.    Then enter it in our Young Writers Contest.  (Guidelines at lower right) 

Let’s talk about the poetry category in today’s blog.  

What should I write about? 

What do you like to do?  How do you like to spend your time?  Do you play an instrument?  Enjoy a sport?  Spend time with friends? Shop till you drop?  Turn your passion into print.  Contrary to popular belief, poems do not have to rhyme.  

Print out the poetry tips, also at the right, to help you when you’re working on the second or third draft of  your poem. 

What are you trying to say about your subject?  Be specific.  If you are writing about how you love your car, make sure we know the car so well we can see it and know how it feels to ride in it.  If it’s about your dog, make sure we know her intimately through your choice of words. 

And speaking of words, Cut any and all unnecessary ones.  After all, a poem isn’t just prose put in poetry form.  Every word in a poem must be there for a reason.  If not, cut it out.  (Each line doesn’t even have to be a complete sentence.)

Read your poem out loud.  Does it sound right?  If your poem has a natural “rhythm,” congratulations!  You did your job!

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2 Responses to “Contra Costa Middle School Students – Enter Our Contest! $$”

  1. Joni Whalin Says:

    Hi Liz,

    My students are wondering about the requirements for submitting poetry. Since they want to make sure everything is done correctly, on one part of the application it says poems do not need to be double spaced, but under guidelines it says everything must be double spaced. They also want to know if they can use a larger font for the title on the top or if everything needs to be in 12 font.

    Thanks,
    Joni Whalin

    • lizbooks Says:

      Great question, Joni! It is fine to single space poems. If the title is larger than 12 point it’s acceptable. We only have a problem when students turn in manuscripts that are smaller than 12 point. (It’s hard on our eyes to read so many manuscripts with anything less than 12 point page after page . . .)

      When a student turns in a five page short story with LESS than 12 point font that story isn’t even read by any of the judges. But a poem is MUCH easier to read. I can see how it can be confusing. We read all poems if they are single or double spaced because of the way the guidelines are written. But since you’ve mentioned it and it can be confusing, we will “re-word” this next year. Thanks for pointing this out to us!

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