Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

Printing the Books

Image“Where is my book?!  I ordered it over a week ago!”

Summer is upon us and most schools are now on vacation.  For our company, this is the busy season as we check every entry before creating the layout of the books.  We often receive calls asking why a book was not received since it was “ordered over a week ago”.  The process of creating a professionally bound hard-back book is not as easy going to a copy center and pressing print.  As a publisher, we work on making sure every student that gives permission is included in the book.  We check every name to make sure they are spelled correctly.  It is amazing how many parents and students give permission and their student’s name is spelled differently on the proofsheet and was not corrected.  This occurs after the deadline as we have to wait for the mail to receive all permission forms.  We then we work on the layout in creating the books.  The books are then sent to a printer and binder to be put together.  This last step takes almost a month to complete.  The books are then sent media mail in order to have the lowest shipping for our customers.

While students are enjoying their vacation and teachers are getting their classrooms ready for next year, we are working to create books that you can be proud to share with family and friends.  Thank you participating in our program and have a great summer.

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What Is Originality?

ImageIn judging contests for student writers, defining what is original is not an easy question.  The challenge comes with the entries that are shades of non-originality.  If a student gives credit to an author and takes just a few words, we allow that to happen.  In other cases, teachers will have an assignment where each student “patterns” their poem after one such as Shel Silverstein’s “Whatifs” poem.  However, if too much is borrowed, or credit is not given, the poem is not accepted.

Each year with the poetry and essay contests we discover hundreds of students who send in work that ranges from the Beatles to Langston Hughes and the student has submitted it as their own work. Word for word, there is no shade of gray when it is an exact copy.  My favorite plagiarist happened a few years ago with a poem titled “Honesty”.  

We spend hundreds of hours searching for poems that we suspect are not original.  When we do find a poem or essay that we deem is a case of plagiarism, then we reject the entry.  If the student has returned a signed proofsheet then we also contact the parents and the school.  We are educators and we hope that there can be a “Teaching Moment” for the students who are found to be plagiarists.
There are millions of poems and it is hard to catch every non-original poem.  But we take this challenge of only accepting original poems very seriously.

To learn more about our national writing contests, please visit www.PoeticPower.com.

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