Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Poetry Contest for Kids: And Good Advice for All of Us

It’s never too early for kids to catch the writing bug—and what could inspire more passionate poetry than a call to save the whales? And even if you don’t think you’re the audience for this call for submissions, do check out the “rules” for writing poems below, especially #4...very smart, and we all could take much of this advice to heart.

Entries must be submitted by December 31, 2008

Save The Whales encourages children up to and including age 13 to submit poems they have written for inclusion in a poetry book the organization is putting together for publication. The idea for a book came about because Save The Whales has received inspiring poems by children. Some of the children’s work may be viewed under ABOUT US/Inspiration/Poems.

If you are a child age 13 or younger and have written an original poem, or love whales and would like to write a poem, please submit it to Save The Whales by emailing Maris Sidenstecker at m1sid@earthlink.net or mail to Save The Whales - Poem Entry, 1192 Waring Street, Seaside, CA 93955. Be sure to put your name and age, address, phone number and email address on the entry. Please give your poem a title.

If your poem is selected, a parent will have to sign a release giving Save The Whales permission to use the child’s original work. For a poem to appear on their website, only an email confirmation from a parent is required.


If you want to write a whale poem or any kind of poem, here are some things you'll want to know. A poem is like a tiny story. Something's always left out of a poem, not just because it's a small bit of writing but because you want to leave a spot where your reader can climb in! Not all poems rhyme but all poems have rhythm. It can be the sound of your heart beat, that quiet or the sound of a hundred people clapping together, making a pattern of sound.

1. Your poem doesn't have to make logical sense.

2. Don't plan what you're going to write. Let yourself be surprised. Write your poem word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence.

3. Your imagination is ENORMOUS! Trust it to help you out.

4. Be foolish. (That's often when we write our best.)

5. Don't worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar or neatness. (Of course, they're important but not in a first draft.)

6. There is no wrong way to write a poem.

After you've written your poem, read it over to yourself, be sure it feels right, sounds right. Then put it away for a day or two. When you read it again you may want to make changes. You may notice you left something out that you'd thought was there. Now rewrite it and make sure to spell the words correctly. Check your grammar and punctuation.

Be sure to include on your entry:
• name and age
• mailing address
• phone number
• email address
• a title.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.