www.whyville.net Apr 18, 2003 Weekly Issue

What's New This Week!

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Hello all!

If you haven't noticed already, this week's issue of the Times is jam packed with all the great poetry submissions from Whyvillians. We are publishing this issue in honor of Young People's Poetry Week, which is held the third week of April every year. This special time in the month was first started in 1999 and sponsored by the Children's Book Council, otherwise known as the CBC. They're a pretty cool group -- the CBC is a non-profit organization that dedicates its time and efforts to encourage literacy and to make sure that everyone has a fun time reading and writing children's literature. This week, dedicated to creativity for and by young peoples, is a joint effort between the CBC and the Center for the Book in The Library of Congress with the Academy of the American Poets, who actually coordinate National Poetry Month each April. In addition to the Poetry Week, the CBC sponsors Children's Book Week which happens later this year in November (keep your eyes peeled for it in the Times)!

So, why is poetry so special? That's a pretty good question, with a lot of different answers varying from each individual. In its simplest form, poetry is another wonderful, creative way of expressing thoughts and feelings. By communicating through poetry, you have a variety of ways to say the same thing (or even different things) that simple prose, ordinary speech/writing, doesn't offer. A poem can be about anything and for anyone: what you feel inside, the events happening around you, what you think is important, to inform your reader, to make your best friend laugh, and even to just keep your thoughts to yourself.

However, the BEST part of poetry is being able to have the funkiest punctuation and syntax ever -- how many essays can you write for school that doesn't have a single period or comma? When you write a poem, you can! When poets use very particular syntax in their poetry, they are usually trying to make some type of point by changing the way the words normally look to us to something different; sometimes its to tell the reader that a particular word or phrase is critical to understanding the poem, and its usually part of some grander structural scheme that the poet is accomplishing through his or her writing. Also when writing poetry, you can also follow a meter, a particular systematic arrangement of words in a poem, or none at all (known as free verse). However, don't think poetry can only be written! Beat poetry, for example, is often considered an oral poetry because it is meant to be heard, as opposed to read. Clearly, if the poet wants it to, a poem can be both suited for reading and for recitation.

Poets and their works have influenced general thought and society as a whole. Thereby, in keeping with National Poetry Month, the Times will be happily accepting submissions about the history and different style of poetry throughout the ages (from ballads to odes) and biographical articles about various poets. Just to give you a start to understanding poetry in our lives, some of the more prominent and influential poets include Robert Frost, e. e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Robert Browning, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Dante, Homer, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and many more! Don't forget the more obscure poets too -- all types of writing have helped shape the thoughts and feelings of humans even if they are not the most famous. Even if you don't write an article, pick up a book and page through a couple poems throughout time. And here are a couple activities you can do to bring poetry more into your life:

  • Take a poetry trip to the library.
  • Read a poem by a different person every day.
  • Write a poem about their favorite day of the year.
  • Organize your thoughts in an autobiographical poem.
  • Retell a story in some form of writing.
  • Compose a haiku about the weather/season.
  • Memorize a poem and recite it to a family member.
  • Analyze a series of poems and write an essay about their relationships.
  • Form a poetry club at your school.
  • Continue submitting great poems to the Whyville Times!

Now, how about bringing even more poetry to Whyville! City Hall and I have discussed this, and in light of National Poetry Month, we'd like to choose a Whyville Poet Laureate. If you would like to be considered for this contest, the Times is accepting submissions. Choose 3-5 of your best poems, and email them to times@whyville.net in the format specified below. IMPORTANT: if you do not adhere to these rules, your poems will not be considered, so please follow directions!

Submission Format:

  1. All submissions must be emailed to times@whyville.net.

  2. The subject line of your email must be: Y-Poetry Contest: "Whyville Name". Example, SUBJECT: Y-Poetry Contest: Bigfoot

  3. You may submit your poems in one of two formats.
    -- Plain text email (preferred): if your poetry does not require special formatting (bold, italicized, specific justification), then please copy and paste the text of your poetry in a plain text email. At the top of your email, please tell us the number of poems you're submitting on the first line, and then the poems with their titles listed (if there is no title, put "Untitled").
    -- Attachment: if your poetry does require special formatting, then please attach the poems in a separate file with the same order as the plain text email format. The only format that will be accepted via attachment will be Rich Text Format or .rtf files. To save your poems as a .rtf file, go to "Save As" in your word processor; where you can choose what "type" of file, choose Rich Text Format. PLEASE only attach files in this format; .doc, .pdf, .ps, .dvi, etc. will not be accepted!

  4. Only submit 3-5 pieces. Any more will not be considered.

  5. Have fun!

The Times Editor will choose the top five or ten poets and post their pieces. Readers of the Times will then vote for the official Whyville Poet Laureate, who will receive a clam prize of 500 clams and the right to be Laureate for a year.

Times Editor


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