In Verse

In Verse: Citizen Writer writing challenge

Writing songs or poems is a creative, powerful way to express an opinion, convey an emotion, send a message, or tell a story. Through folk songs, raps, country music, spoken word and other genres, songwriters and poets have used their words to protest, to unite, and to inspire listeners and readers. Sometimes these works are straightforward and their meanings are clear. For example, "We Shall Overcome" is a powerful anthem that was very popular during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and 1960s. Other songs and poems use imagery and symbols to convey their messages, like the folk song "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie or the bilingual poem "From the Belly Button of the Moon" by Francisco Alarcon.

Write a song or a poem that tells a story or expresses your opinion about something important to you. Include lots of details to convey your message. (Minimum length: three stanzas or three verses). Optional: You can include an audio file of you performing your song or reading your poem.

Submission guidelines

  • Deadline: April 30, 2011
  • e-mail a Word doc or PDF of your song lyrics or poem.
  • If you recorded an audio track, please e-mail as an MP3 file
  • Subject line for your e-mail: 2011 Writing Contest
  • Include your name, age, grade level, and address with your submission.
  • If you are not able to e-mail the lyrics or poem, please send a hard copy to:
    Reading Rockets
    WETA Public Television
    2775 S. Quincy St.
    Arlington, VA 22206

Common Core Standards

  • Range of Writing
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge
  • Text Types and Purposes

See Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (2MB PDF)*

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