Five of Linda Middleton's sixth grade English students at Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School recently earned accolades when their poems were chosen to be published in the Fall edition of this year's Creative Communication Poetry Anthology.
Cara Burgess, Emma Campbell, Grace Mischler, Diana Petrarca and Stephen Sulyma all submitted poems to Middleton that were written independently and not part of any class assignment. Middleton then forwarded the poems to Creative Communication where they were reviewed and selected by a staff comprised of teachers, professors and writers. According to the contest website, less than 50 percent of the poems that are entered are accepted for publication, making this quite an honor for the ASFMS students.
"I'm truly impressed by their self-discipline and their accomplishment," said Middleton. "Their poems were very well written and thoughtful. Creative Communication does not publish every poem they receive, so this is very impressive for sixth graders."
Because there is no required topic, the students had an open-ended opportunity to write about whatever they wanted. Emma wrote about horses, Diana about cats, Cara chose branches in nature as her topic of choice, Grace picked dance and Stephen was inspired by his favorite color in his poem "Purple and Me".
Each poet had their own reason for entering the contest, like Emma's eagerness to express herself in a new way, Diana's desire to try new things, the calming effect that poetry has on Cara and Stephen's cure for a night of nothing to do.
"I always like to go ahead and be the best that I can be, so because this was a choice I figured I should take the chance," said Diana.
After about two months of waiting, all five students said that they were quite surprised to hear that their work had been chosen, but very excited.
"I wasn't expecting it because it was a really long time from when we handed the poems in and I thought they had probably already picked the winners," said Emma. "I was really surprised and really happy."
Since 2001, Creative Communication has been promoting student writing with its poetry and essay contests that are offered three times a year for students in grades K-12 in the U.S. and Canada. Original student entries on any appropriate topic are considered for publication in the regional Spring, Summer and Fall anthologies as long as they are in English and do not exceed 21 lines of text. There is no entry fee to participate, so every student has the chance to take part.
"I'm glad that the contest is still offered to students," said Middleton. "There's not too many places out there where kids can publish for the real world and this gives them that opportunity."
To learn more about Creative Communication and its writing contests, visit www.poeticpower.com.