Themes for essays, short stories, and poetry may be evangelistic, inspirational, Biblical, Christian growth, patriotic, or historical.
Please write the THEME of the essay, short story, and poetry on the Judge’s Forms where indicated.
The contestant writes an original poetry composition with a Christian, patriotic, Biblical,
evangelistic, persuasive, or historical theme. The contestant should keep in mind his purpose for
the poem—why it is being written and what effect is being achieved.
1. The poem may be narrative or discursive with an assumed or personal point of view. All
poems are lyrical, though usually not written to be sung. You may, however, specifically
choose to craft your poem as lyrics to be set to music.
2. The poem must have been written after the termination of the previous International
Convention and must be the original work of the student.
3. Plagiarism of any kind will automatically disqualify the entry.
4. A significant portion of the poem must be written during school hours to verify authenticity.
5. One entry per contestant.
Checklist for Poetry Writing:
1. Format—At least eight (8) typewritten lines (double-spaced) and no more than thirty (30)
typewritten lines, using typewriter or letter quality printer. (Variations from these line
limitations must show evidence of very careful attention to word choice and structure, plus
strong thematic basis.) On a computer, use 10- to 12-point type with Times New Roman,
Helvetica, or Arial font.
2. Copies—Three (3) copies of the poem must be submitted as an early entry. All copies are to
be inserted in a clear plastic page protector with the student's name, school name, customer
number, school address, and telephone number clearly visible on the front of EACH copy.
At Regional Student Convention, TWO COPIES OF THE POEM AND JUDGE’S FORMS
WILL BE RETURNED. Entries submitted for competition at International Student
Convention WILL NOT BE RETURNED.
3. Creative Composition Affidavit (CF28) attached to entry and properly signed. You will
need three (3) copies of the Creative Composition Affidavit form; attach one copy to
each copy of your poem.
4. Three (3) copies of the JUDGE'S FORMS (CF26) are required for Regional and International
HINTS FROM THE POETRY WRITING JUDGES
Judges look for poems that are neat in appearance, complete in thought, and effective in message
and impact. The true purpose of a poem is to transmit in words a complete thought and, at the
same time, to move emotions. A poem must have a reason for existence; the emotional impact
and a resultant change in attitude is that reason. If your poem is correct in form, yet is not
logically correct or emotionally stimulating, the poem will not score well. A poem must DO
something, not merely talk about something. The theme, then, becomes of utmost importance;
for, if the poem is to do something, it must do something worthwhile. Second, but still
important, is the form of the work. If the form is weak or inconsistent, it will not fall correctly
on the ear, causing the message to be lost to the reader. Poems should also have a lyric quality,
though they may not be intended for music. Remember, a poem can only do ONE thing, not
several. Strive for unity of purpose and skill of execution. Technical errors of any sort,
especially those that might be thought of as minor, such as a misplaced comma or misspelled
word, often represent major weaknesses in aspects that are less obvious to the trained eye and
ear. A scrupulous writer always attends carefully to the smallest and most obvious detail. What
is said is always at the mercy of how it is said. When this principle is ignored, the reader will
not be guided by the writer’s thoughts but by his own. These thoughts may be counterproductive
to the writer’s subject and intention and become an unconscious use of stock responses,
formulaic phrases, hackneyed expressions, irrelevant associations, and sentimentality rather than
honesty. A poem that effectively treats a subject moves the reader to a place where he has never
been before. Refer to English PACEs 1105 and 1106 for ideas.