Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

Featured Student Writer: Albert Konotey Nii Adjin Sackey, III

Konotey 2nd grade pictureAlbert was in 2nd grade at Hamilton Avenue School in Connecticut when his poem, “Family,” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2013 national poetry contest.

Albert is a seven-year-old who loves his family.  Discussing his family, Albert explains, “They are really sweet and kind.  When I think about my family, I think about love.  I really love learning about the history of my family.  Half of my ancestors are from Africa, a quarter are from the U.S., and a quarter are from Europe.  Some of my ancestors were racist.  It is really hard for me to understand that so much of my family was racist.  I think racism is bad.  I think that since the end of slavery, it has been a painful struggle for all African Americans.  I think the racism that has happened since then is horrible.  It makes me upset to think that some of my ancestors were racist and even slave owners.  So, I decided to write a poem about that.  The first paragraph is about how nice my family is now and how much I love my family.  I know that not all of my family was perfect, so I did the second paragraph.  My mom and dad and all my immediate family really have inspired me to be proud of the person I am today.”

In the future, Albert would like to make the world a better place by stopping racism.  He plans to become a lawyer and fight to stop racism.  He is also going to run for President.  If that doesn’t work, he would like to be an inventor and invent a time machine.  Albert figures that maybe racism will be illegal in a thousand years, so he could help people travel to the future to when there is no racism. To read Albert’s winning poem, click here.

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

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Featured Teacher: Jackie Johnson

ProfileJackie Johnson is a 9th and 12th grade English teacher at First Academy-Leesburg in Leesburg, FL.  Jackie’s students participated in our contest last Spring 2013, and a whopping 31 students were accepted for publication in our anthology.  As only 45% of students across the United States and Canada are accepted for publication, this is a very impressive number.

“I’m just beginning my third year of teaching.” Jackie explains, “I received a letter from Creative Communication notifying me that one of my students, Allan Purcell, was one of the Top Ten Winners for the Poetic Power contest (he was a 12th grader). I’m thrilled for him and was excited to hear the news! This was the first year I’d had my students enter the contest and I was just overwhelmed with the results I received back from your organization and with the positive feedback I had from my students.”

We asked Jackie her thoughts as a teacher on engaging students in writing in the classroom.  Jackie told us, “When it comes to teaching English, there’s no more important skill to teach than communication. And communication encompasses so much — reading, writing, speaking, even analyzing. When you teach a student how to write, you give him or her power. Power to communicate. Power to express. Power to be creative, to discover a unique style, to play with words, to manifest thoughts. There is ‘conventional’ and ‘unconventional’ in writing, but there really are no (or few) hard and fast rules. I think taking the ‘prescriptive’ out of writing and simply teaching young students that writing is about being an effective communicator (did you get your point across? did you do it well? good! then it was a success) instills both confidence and creativity in the students. I like to give my class a variety of writing experiences in the classroom. This allows them to find a niche — do they enjoy writing analytic essays? creative stories? poetry? Instilling a passion for the creativity of writing and communication is key. That’s my goal. If the kids learn to love writing, then they’ll be good at it. That’s why I loved this contest. It allowed the students to write just a little about anything they wanted. When they found out that their work was recognized, it was a confidence boost to their writing abilities. Now that they’ve been recognized as being ‘good’ at writing, they’re excited to do it more!”

Congratulations to Jackie and all of her students who are now published writers! We look forward to seeing more work from her very talented students. You can read Allan Purcell’s Top Ten essay by clicking here and see his feature on our blog here.

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

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Featured Student Writer: Olivia Zoltak

OliviaZoltak“Insecure” was picked as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2013 poetry contest.  At the time, Olivia was a 7th grader attending Santa Rosa Technology Magnet School in California.

Olivia loves writing poetry.  She finds that it is like writing songs, which she also enjoys as she plays multiple instruments.  “When I was told about this contest I was thrilled to write a piece of poetry to enter.” Olivia explains, “However, I never expected that in only seventh grade, my work would actually be published, much less win a spot as one of the best along with nine other incredible entries.”

Olivia wrote this poem after having a few friends over and watching as they voiced a great deal of insecurities and flaws they have. This bothered her, as it is an issue that many people today face, the kind of issue that can lead to eating disorders and even self-harm. When she was assigned to write a poem for class, she decided to make this issue the subject of her poem. “I had my peers examine it to give me feedback, and all of the people who read it thought it was a good poem with a great message. When I received an email saying that it  would be published in the anthology, I was thrilled. But the feeling I got when I received the letter that informed me that my poem was part of the Top Ten poems in my age group was incredible, and my parents and I were all so proud. I would like to thank Creative Communication for establishing this contest, publishing my poem, and the prize of twenty-five dollars sent to me in the mail. This success has inspired me to write more and more, and I would love to enter this contest again.”

You can read Olivia’s poem (shown with her pseudonym, Stormy Creek) by clicking here.  To enter your poem in our national writing contest or to learn more, go to www.PoeticPower.com.

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