Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

Featured Student Writer: Renee Ordoobadi


Renee is a rising senior attending Woodbridge Senior High School as a transfer student for their Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Creative Writing program. The four-year program has helped her develop her writing skills and gain confidence sharing her work with others and entering contests. In addition to her passion for poetry and non-fiction, she is the co-editor-in-chief of Woodbridge Senior High School’s Yearbook class.

Amalgamation” was selected as a Top Ten poem in the Spring 2013 poetry contest.  This means Renee’s poem is one of the ten best for her age division out of over 50,000 poems submitted into the contest.  “I am surprised and appreciative to be a Top Ten Winner for my poem.” Renee explains, “I was inspired to write ‘Amalgamation‘ after noticing the techniques of modern poets, such as writing about everyday objects that most overlook like a button or some string. One day I thought about what it would be like if shoes were animate objects. Would they feel unappreciated, abused by humanity living suburban lifestyles? Something told me they would.”

After high school, Renee plans to pursue her writing career. She voluntarily writes articles for online local newspapers such as Bristow Beat, Gainesville Beat, and Potomac Local News. After writing for Bristow Beat since last winter, the owners Jason and Stacy Shaw gave Renee her own column called Out Going Teen. Through this she plans to continue building her resume and gaining experience as a writer.

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

Leave a comment »

Poetry Across the Curriculum


As the Common Core dominates the classroom, so often teachers forget what they have been teaching for years and instead of finding ways their lessons plans meet the Common Core, they focus primarily on the Common Core and try to create ways to meet that as the end goal.  Yes, state standards and Common Core guidelines are important and are essential to education and to keeping our jobs as teachers.

In the early 80s (yes I am that old), I was hired by the state of Illinois to teach workshops for the Illinois Educational Service Centers located throughout the state. Illinois had come up with new guidelines on how speaking and listening should be taught in the schools. The first reaction from teachers was “I don’t have time to assess listening.  I am already overloaded with things that ‘must’ be done in the classroom.”  My job was to show how listening assessment could be achieved by methods such as talking a student through the process of writing a story problem in math on the chalkboard (yes, in the 80s we had chalkboards).  Bit by bit we found ways that, without changing the curriculum, we could tweak it and assess speaking and listening.

Now the Common Core takes more classroom time and many teachers tell me they don’t have time to teach poetry in the classroom.  I read an article today that can be found by clicking here. The author states:

“Poetry is the perfect medium to help students engage in authentic discourse and make connections to real-world events. What could be more powerful than reading a poem from a hurricane survivor after learning about the science behind the disaster? What has a more lasting effect on the human heart than reading a poem written by a Holocaust survivor after we have studied this horrific tragedy in a history class?”

This author has learned that when students write a poem using the vocabulary from math, science, or historical events, it makes them look at the words and interact with their meaning.  It create a more holistic education.  To see how a teacher takes poetry across the curriculum take a look at this video.

Poetry helps students and all of us to explore the world and helps us live a moral, fulfilling life. Yes, the Common Core is crucial.  But taking the Core and viewing the world to discover ways that the Core can be met inside what we as teachers currently love and teach, is also crucial to our students.

Tom Worthen, Ph.D.

To learn more about our national writing contests and the launch of our new Classroom Rewards program, visit www.poeticpower.com.

Leave a comment »

Featured Student Writer: Irene Fernald

IreneFernaldIrene Fernald lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  When Irene wrote her Top Ten poem, “The Sky Over the Land of Enchantment”, she was attending Zia Middle School as an 8th grader.  You can view her winning poem by clicking here.

Irene has visited many other states and a few foreign countries, but she has never seen skies as colorful or fantastic as in New Mexico.  “Our state motto is ‘The Land of Enchantment’, but I think ‘The Sky of Enchantment’ might be more fitting.” Irene explains, “I was inspired to write this poem while looking out the window of my school bus on the long, bumpy ride to school.  It was wintertime, the heater was broken, and writing this poem helped keep me from noticing the cold.  (Cold weather is something we aren’t really accustomed to here in New Mexico).  Being a Top 10 Winner in this contest means a lot to me; I guess I’m a better poet than I thought!”

Being a Top Ten Winner in the Spring 2013 poetry contest means Irene received a $25 check, a book with her published work, and special recognition in the book as being one of the best poets in the United States and Canada.  “I would really like to thank my 8th grade Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Chris Martinez, for teaching me so much in the past two years and telling me about this contest.”

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

Leave a comment »