Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

What Makes a Winner?

on March 9, 2012

We often receive emails asking what it takes to be a winner in our contests.  A great question.  With so many wonderful entries, picking the Top Ten Winners is a tough job.  For poetry there are several things we look for.

We receive many formula poems that take a pattern and follow it.  Often is it hard to tell the differences between many of these poems as they are so similar.  For publication into the anthology, this is fine.  To be considered as a Top Ten Winner, then we do look for more originality.

How are the words used?  Do they evoke thought or emotion in the reader?  Does the language flow so that the words create images.  Often rhyme is forced too much and rather than add to the poem, it draws attention to the rhyme.

Topic is often an important factor.  A topic that is unique or has social significance stands out a bit more.   If there is anything that promotes anything illegal or immoral, it is not considered and is rejected.

We also consider the grade level.  We are much more forgiving with poems from the lower grades than the upper grades.   Overall, it is the top 45% that is accepted to be published.  To be a Top Ten Winner becomes much more selective.

Taking a look at the past winners will also help with an understanding of what it takes to be a winner.

We are heavily involved in the reading of each poem and judging them for the spring contest.  Good luck to you and your students.

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5 responses to “What Makes a Winner?

  1. Sophia says:

    What about the Fall 2011 Contest? When can the results be expected?

  2. Shayonna says:

    What about the Fall 2014 results? When will you tell us the winners?

  3. Alice says:

    Hello! What about the Fall 2015 poetry contest? When will the winners be announced? Thanks!

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