poetry writing contest

poetry writing contest

Exploring the Art and Craft of Poetry: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring Poets

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1. Introduction to Poetry Writing

Many of us write informal poetry regularly, even without thinking of it as such. We pen a limerick when we jot down a silly joke, such as when we wrote “Mary had a little lamb, She either fried or poached it…” in a sympathy card to a vegetarian friend. We write a haiku every time we want to create a poetic moment, such as when we scribbled “How I love the rain! Smell of late fall in the air. Clouds scud quickly by,” in a nature notebook during our lunch break. We present “poems” or verse every time we wish to convey a simple message succinctly, such as when we scribed “Home at last. What a blast!” in white chalk on our best friend’s driveway after returning from a special trip together. Even the text for a birthday cake or a holiday card can be a type of poetry, no matter how simple. But these limericks, haikus, verses, and wordplays clearly represent a different order of writing from that of the formal, constructed poems we find in anthologies. When we write informal poems, we do not expect our work to be perfect or publishable. However, when we write formal poems or verse, we want our work to possess a special quality that goes beyond the characteristic features of poems laid out on a printed page. For associate poetry writers, a special sense of substance and style serves as an unspoken measure of worth. Such poetry need not involve deep, intellectual language; in fact, in order for anyone to find it engaging or moving, it mustn’t do so. What that special something is, why it is important, and how it is consistently achieved are some of the many things this book can teach.

If you have combined a love of words, an interest in writing, and a creative flair, you may find that expressing your feelings, thoughts, and ideas in poetic form is as rewarding as it is fun, even when it is challenging. This book is designed to help you accomplish just that. The word “poetry” comes from the ancient Greek verb poieîn, which means to make, create, or compose. It suggests forming something original or transforming an existing reality into something fresh and unexpected. Like a skilled pianist who creates music by following rules of rhythm and melody, a good poet uses the techniques of poetic form to make a selection of words convey a related group of ideas or emotions in a particular way. Like any type of product, the better your choice of “materials” and the more masterful your “technique,” the more impressive your “masterpiece” is likely to be.

2. Understanding Poetic Forms and Techniques

Italian or Petrarchan Sonnet: This form of sonnet always has fourteen lines. They are usually divided into two different stanzas, one of eight lines known as the octet and from six to eight lines known as the sestet. These stanzas have different functions in the poem, although it is usually to explore the themes, such as the first stanza introduces a theme or problem and the sestet asks questions or describes issues. The rhyme scheme is therefore used and is known as abba, abba, ceddedc, or cdc, cdc.

Stanza: This is a collection of repeated, recognizable groupings of verse. They are usually named by the number of lines in the grouping. If two lines, they are called a couplet; three lines, a triplet; four lines, a quatrain.

Couplet: The stanza generally rhymes and consists of two lines of the same length. They are usually grouped in quatrains. This type of poetic form is often linked with a sonnet due to the combined fourteen lines. This term is also applied to a pair of rhymed lines of equal length.

Gratitude and prayer to the Creator shared with all who dwell in trust in Thee.

Ode: This highly emotional poem is usually in three or more stanzas with varied metrical patterns. It addresses an elevated subject and is of a most solemn and serious nature. Odes generally celebrate people, natural scenes, or abstract ideas. The pattern of rhythm and rhyme is usually arranged in a structured pattern. There are many variations of Odes, inspired by many literary movements or social influences. They date back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

Although the Romans commonly wrote poetry in this form, what we know of it comes from only isolated references. Chorus appears to have been similar to the modern chorus in a Greek play. The poem was sung by the choir of Roman knights and accompanied by a fife. In the form of chant, it was used in both public and private festivities.

3. Developing Poetic Voice and Style

A particular set of craft tools can give an individual poet the language with which to reach out into the universal ground and make four walls and a roof, and make it uniquely. A poetry tool is not a “rule.” What person in his or her right mind pays any attention to all those injunctions, equisetaceans, and caparisons? Out the window, with the sourball baby and the dirty dishwater, with all instruction books for remakes of Hamlet with Cap’n Crunch. A coleopterist, collector of nikeloids, is what a poet certainly cannot hope to be, for the bark-mounted chafers flutter and glide and dive, an ensign fuller in the glabrous silence…. You see what I mean, it doesn’t necessarily help much to be Latinized. The classroom is quite useless in the production of poetry, even if its basic subject matter is always there. Major or minor man should be written with the church fire-footed set of the tropical tropic. Poetry knows no skull fragments.

To find your voice in poetry, trust who you are. Allow your writing to be just that: your writing. Whether you have natural talent or not, the best style is the one that’s you. If you’re shy, let that be part of your voice. If you’re eccentric or down-to-earth, that too. Who you are and your experiences will come across. Language is a gateway to poets. It is the creativity of poets because communication with reality comes through language. The way poets use language in their writing distinguishes and identifies them. With the use of particular expressions, they are always in close relations with their native speakers. For it, a poet creates feelings and situations by means of language arts in his/her poems. Like other arts, poetry is also the perfection of language’s aesthetic usage.

4. Navigating the World of Poetry Contests

There are a number of considerations that both the organizers and the participants of poetry contests should keep in mind. To begin with, it is a fundamental necessity that the objectives should not be ill-defined. The theme or genre should be clear-cut. The objectives of the contest may vary. Such contest may be designed to discover new poets, to encourage and in doing so to give encouragement to those aspiring to become poets, to promote and elevate a particular form, to appeal to a multitude of poets, to function as a forum, or to serve education by portraying some aspect of a given nation’s culture.

The mention of a poetry contest stirs in a poet an array of emotions. It may arise quest, anxiety, or displeasure. However, it might make a poet feel participation in a competition is a matter of voluntary choice. The decision to do so is yours alone. The poet may choose or refuse a contest, and this matter should conclude at that. The poet now should be resolved to enter or not to enter, to participate or decline. If you have decided to participate in the contest, use the opportunity so that it may serve as an artistic opportunity, as a test of skill, and as an expression of creativity. One should resist the inclination to view the contest as the only measure of an artistic standard. Participants who manage not to win should not feel themselves losers; indeed, there is no need to feel as such. Each poem that you make is a small victory. During the contest, there literally is no place for any degree of pretentiousness.

5. Tips for Success in Poetry Writing Contests

(1) Poetry contest judges appreciate original ideas. What kinds of ideas are new and original? They may be ones that you have been careful to craft into a readable format. Reread your work, substituting one word or the simplest choice of punctuation anywhere that might help your poem self-define or clarify your meaning. Always rework your poem in full until you honestly feel it can appear nowhere else in any magazines, anthologies, online journals, or print outlets. For this reason, avoid submitting work to multiple contests or for possible publication in multiple places. Cut down on long sequences of scenes. You want to create a focused piece.

Follow these strategies to increase your odds of success in poetry writing contests. Many of these techniques should be followed as you write poetry for any reason, not just for contest preparation. You may not have a clear picture of who will actually judge the next poetry contest you enter. However, some of these ideas are almost universally appreciated by people who enjoy and create poetry – and it’s these very people who prepare and send them off to contests to be judged.

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