Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

Featured Student Writer: Janika Nevlida

janikaJanika Nevlida was 8 years old attending Carrillo Elementary School in California when her poem “The Outside World” was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Summer 2013 national poetry contest.

Janika was born in China and grew up in Northern California. Last year, her family moved to San Marcos, California. Janika is in a home school program attending gifted 4th grade and 5th grade classes. She is also a gymnast and has been on a competitive team since age 5.

“I love reading and writing. My mom said I probably got it from my great grandma and my grandpa. I love writing fiction. I started writing stories when I was 4, but lately I have been fond of writing poems. I was inspired to write ‘The Outside World’ because I love nature. When we were in Northern California, my dad always took us hiking, playing by the river, biking near the lake, and playing at the park. Now we live close to the ocean and it’s a new outdoor experience for me. The beach is awesome! It was spring when I wrote the poem. My mom and I were just sitting outside and I could feel the fresh air and smell all the flowers and it inspired me to write a poem.”

To read Janika’s poem, click here.

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

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Featured Student Writer: Natalie Zink

     I used to stare in front of the mirror, wishing my appearance would change into something more beautiful than what I saw staring back towards me. Yet somehow, every time my reflection was cast back, I was still just the average girl, who looked nothing special…My parents always told me from a young age up that true beauty was on the inside, not the outside, and that no matter what anyone said, I was beautiful. I heard them, yet hearing and listening were two different things…

IMGP1298Natalie Zink’s essay, “The Girl Who Lost Her Eyes“, was selected as a Top Ten Winner for the Summer 2012 essay contest.  Natalie attends the 9th grade at Greenfield High School in Wisconsin.

The image shown is Natalie holding a 31.5 inch Walleye that was caught up in Canada last summer.  Natalie’s passion is fishing.  If she could choose to do anything in the world, it would be fishing off of her family’s boat in Canada.  The calmness and serenity of fishing relaxes her.  One of her favorite feelings is the tug of the rod as a fish runs with the line, putting up a fight. Then, hopefully, she can reel in a whopper.  Natalie also loves playing Poker (without gambling) and Pirates Dice.

“The last couple years have been hard in my life, and to escape some things, I started writing more.” Natalie explains. “My dad was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin Mantle Cell Lymphoma in 2009, which is a pretty serious type of cancer, but I don’t like to use that as an excuse to stop me from living life. I realized, in the many hours spent in the hospitals, that some people gave up on life; yet in my dad’s eyes, he was still a fighting spirit…He was not ready to lose his fight against his cancer.”

Natalie’s essay was inspired by her experience at her dad’s hospital.  “I think I have always felt insecure about myself, yet I realized when I saw other cancer patients that they were beautiful without hair, just like my dad was. It took me to be vain towards myself to finally see who I am.  Then, when I really looked at myself, I saw the person I was. My dad inspired me and still does.”

Natalie’s dream for her future is to help people.  “I don’t know what my future is holding out for me, but I want to make sure that one day I can look back and smile.  I want to be able to wake up each morning and know I am doing my best to help someone. You never know what a simple smile or ‘hello’ can do to someone’s day. I don’t know if I can help in someone’s life, but I hope to.”

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

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Featured Student Writer: Madeleine Dike

fallleavesMadeleine Dike is thirteen years old and is home schooled in Washington.  Madeleine’s poem, “1942“, was selected out of thousands of entries for the Summer 2012 poetry contest as one of the ten best poems in the United States and Canada.

Madeleine is not only a writer, but she is also an artist and a harpist.  Additionally, she is working on becoming a fashion designer.  Her poem was inspired by Edward Hopper’s painting, “Night Hawks.”  This is her favorite painting and she wanted to capture the art through poetry.


Darkness pours from the sky,
Cascading beneath the air,
Spilling onto the pavement.
A sleeping city, vacant streets:
A lit diner stands alone.

A small sight in a vast night,
Its fluorescent lights gently flicker.
Three people sit — two men and a woman —
Drinking coffee, dark and bitter.
Languished silence lingers
With delicate loneliness and subtle grief.

As time moves on, sunrise nears.
Effortless seams knit stars with dawn.
Night hawks traveling, disappear,
Leaving with the darkness,
Retreating, far and gone.
                                                   — Madeleine Dike

Madeleine’s plans for the future include writing a book and becoming a fashion designer.

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

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Featured Student Writer: Mollie Simon

Mollie Simon is a junior at Chamblee Charter High School in Georgia.  Her essay, “Strawberry Pancakes“, was selected as a Top Ten Winner for the Summer 2012 national essay contest.

Mollie’s passion is food, and her ultimate dream in life is to own a Bed and Breakfast. Before she gets there though, she hopes to make writing a big part of her future, though she is not sure yet in what capacity that will be.

Currently, Mollie is the co-editor of her school newspaper, “The Blue & Gold”, and is the president of her school’s Technology Student Association.  In her free time, she loves to bake, sew, felt, do aikido (a form of defensive martial arts), and take naps with her dog, Cotton.

“I have always been very passionate about food, and I have been lucky in that my parents let me into the kitchen at an early age,” Mollie explains. “My family often has big gatherings for the Jewish holidays, and we love to bake and cook for those occasions.

My essay submission, ‘Strawberry Pancakes’, was inspired by a trip I took with my family to Maine. On our trip, we stopped in the small town of Stonington, and it was there that I found world’s best pancakes. That was not my only run in with food on the trip though. When my sister and I read that whoopie pies were a specialty of Maine’s, we made it our mission to buy and try every one we came across from food stands at antique markets, to a lobster restaurant on the harbor in Portland.”

The picture shown is from Mollie’s trip to Maine.

Mollie was introduced to Creative Communication in eighth grade when her teacher Linda Chenoweth had all of her students enter a piece into one of our essay contests. “Since then, I have always tried to enter your contests and share my work! Thank you again for the opportunities to make that possible!”

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

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Take the Time to Finish…It Feels Good

Ten years ago, after I had been divorced for several years, I published a book called Broken Hearts….Healing: Young Poets Speak Out on Divorce.  It was a compilation of kids from across the US who wrote on their feelings and the stages they went through from a divorce.  It was written by the real experts, the kids, and received a couple of national awards.

Yesterday we published the ebook version at smashwords.com.  In doing this I reflected back to what made me create and publish a book.  After my divorce, my kids would come home and tell me that they were the only kids in their school that come from a divorce family.  In reality, about half of their classmates were in this group.   The book was created to help them realize that they were not alone.

However, publishing the book was more than the content of what was created. It was a project completed.  How many of us have large goals that stay as good intentions.  Something we think about and don’t follow through to completion.  When I received my Ph.D., one of my professors stated that there are thousands of students every year that start a graduate program, often they finish the classwork, but end up ABD (All But Dissertation) and never receive their Ph.D.  Aside from the big things in life like creating a book or getting a degree, how many small things do we need to cross off our list?  Small things that we could accomplish, yet don’t, due to our just not doing them.

I look back at things I have done for my students in the classroom, for the students we work with in the contests, my family and personal areas of my life.  When I take a task and finish it, looking back makes me proud of myself.  I feel more confident.  It feels good.

For the students we work with in the contests, we have hundreds of letters stating that becoming a published writer or artist became an event in their lives that is an accomplishment.  Taking the time to create and finish a task, at any level, is something we can all do.  Look around at the various parts of your life.  What can you finish?  What can you help your students finish?  For me, 10 years ago it was a book that is now used by school counselors across the US.  Something I did hopefully made a difference in some child or parent’s life.  However, I do know that completing a goal had made a difference in my life.

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Contests Create Life Long Learners

One of our goals as a company is to make a difference in the world.  To see if our contests and books can help motivate students and create life long learners.  This week I received two emails that I want to share.

From our writing contest:

“I am a literature teacher in Kentucky. Last year my 9 and 10th grade class entered the contest. Some of the students seemed to have no interest at all in poetry; others were just going through the rigmarole of class and tolerating our attempt. With the help of your teacher’s aids I was able to introduce poetry to these students. Several of our student’s received a request to publish their poem. One of our female students who had never written a poem in her life was chosen. Thank you so much! It was wonderful to see these kids come alive and embrace their inner poet. Keep up the marvelous work.”

From our art contest:

“One of my eighth grade students parents from last year had called just before Christmas. She asked me what she needed to get for her daughter to keep painting because she was so inspired and motivated by getting published last year.”

Our contest may be a one-time event, but when we can create a spark that then develops a flame that inspires students to develop into writers or artists, we have made a difference in the world.  I always tell teachers that this is their contest, that we are just here to make it all happen.  I am glad that we can work together.  Keep up the good work.

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