National Poetry Month & Contest

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month. To celebrate, let’s gather up the names (and books, if possible) of living Lutheran poets & hymnists. Send them to me by comment or Facebook, and I’ll add them to my Lutheran Authors page in April. And, for now, here’s a little writing exercise (for you grownups) and a writing contest for homeschooled kiddos ages 7-19. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA for short) has three creative angles that will be sure to be a lot of fun, whatever your age.

Celebrate National Poetry Month this April by giving
your children a creative incentive to write a poem of their own!
HSLDA’s annual spring Poetry Contest gives all homeschooled students from ages 7 to 19 a place to have fun practicing their poetic techniques in a creative response to one of three classic poems.
Open to HSLDA members and non-members alike and offering cash prizes upwards of $200, this contest promises to be a fun, educational experience for all!

Category 1 – Ages 7-10* 
Renowned for his brilliantly humorous children’s poems and illustrations, Shel Silverstein gave us “Sick,” a poem in which a little girl tells of all her aches and woes to avoid having to go to school, only to learn something surprising at the end. The story blows up like a big fat bubble and suddenly goes *POP* in the final lines! Can you write a poem with a surprising twist at the end like that?

Category 2 – Ages 11-14*  “Daffodils”
One of Wordsworth’s most famous works, “Daffodils” sends you on a journey through majestic scenes and nudges you to look for such splendor in your own surroundings. Perhaps you treasure many small memories when time seemed to stand still, or perhaps a few important moments simply made you burst with enthusiasm! Share one or more of those special memories with us in your poem this year.

Category 3 – Ages 15-19*  “What is White?”
In her beloved collection of thought-provoking treasures, Hailstones and Halibut Bones, Mary O’Neill addresses the many forms that the color white takes. White can be concrete, like a “marshmallow” or “a ship’s sail!” White can also be “the part you can’t remember in a dream.” Challenge your creativity this year by selecting an adjective and writing a poem that describes or gives shape to it.

To get a sense of what to include or avoid when writing a poem, you can view the judges’ comments or read the winning poems from previous years!
Guidelines and entry forms can be found on our website, as well as information about our other annual contests for art, photography, and essay. We look forward to reading your creative rhymes!

*Age as of April 1, 2016

“Poetry is to speak a universal language.” ~ Samuel Johnson


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Filed under Contests, Poetry, Writing Exercises

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