With over 300 schools from Michigan represented in the book, approximately 10 percent were honored with the award. The purpose of the award is to recognize schools with excellent language arts programs.
"I'd love to think I taught the kids all this, but many just have a natural talent for expression," said Collier, who will begin the large task of preparing entries for the third year.
According to Collier, getting students involved in the contest has motivated them to learn about poetry, and has also boosted their confidence.
"They can say they're a published author now," Collier said.
Collier said that her students have participated in other contests, but they never enter contests that charge fees to participate. She added that this contest produces a quality hard-cover book.
"In years to come these anthologies will be a history of teen thinking at the time," she said. "It's like a cross-section of adolescent lives.
"We know these contests are coming up in January or February, so we teach poetry in the fall," said Collier. "We teach fun kinds, artistic forms, parody poems, Haiku and lyric, and then we tell them to go through their portfolios and choose something of quality."
Collier remarked that Carolyn Nash, a language arts instructor at the middle school, also enters her students' work in the contest, some of which have been published in the book.
Collier said the most striking thing about the poetry selected was that it came from students with very diverse backgrounds and interests.
Deanne Barcroft, now a junior, had poems published in both 1997 and 1998. Her poem, "Grandma," was selected in 1997, and "What if I Said Goodbye," in 1998. Sophomore Amy Ferriell's poem, "Plastic Crown," was selected as a top poem for grades 7-9. Justin Tidd, Jamie Collier and J.T. Charron published poems about their favorite sports. Many students wrote about love, both found and lost. Some wrote about war and the upcoming millennium, and nature poems were popular. Jeanette Aukerman's poem "My Dream" was published in 1997 when she was a freshman.
"I was thrilled to death," said Auckerman. "I got this letter in the mail that said my poem was going to be in a book, and I couldn't believe it!" "(Mrs. Collier) always had a fun way of doing things," said junior Deb Glenn, another published poet.
"It's clear that the students are very excited about having their work published," said Janet Tower, fellow language arts instructor in the high school. "It gives them a sense of accomplishment anytime someone recognizes and appreciates their work."
Published by permission from the Hometown Gazette East


Young Pens; Three northwest Minnesota youths named tops in poetry anthology contest
Printed by permission from the Grand Forks Herald

There are young poets among us.
Lots of them.
The May publication of the anthology "A Celebration of Young Poets" will showcase the work of about 2,000 fourth- through 12th-grade students from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Scores of the poems were written by young people in Minnesota's Red River Valley or adjacent to it, said Tom Worthen, editor of the anthology.
Of the 2,000 poems in the anthology, the top 30 were selected for special recognition by a panel of judges. Three of those chosen poets live in northwest Minnesota.
Sand Hill scribe
Kristen Ann Hassel said she never won anything before she got the letter notifying her that "Forest" would be published in the anthology.
"I just stood there staring at the letter for a while," said the Fertile-Beltrami eighth-grader, who added that she really got excited later, when she earned one of the top-10 honors for her seventh-through ninth-grade age group.
Hassel lives on the edge of Fertile and often wanders the adjacent Fertile Sand Hills, a region of open woods and meadows. She said she wrote "Forest" one day after coming home from the woods. "I thought, 'Some kids don't have this. Boy, am I lucky.'"
It took her five minutes to pen the poem.
She said the activist edge of "Forest" comes from her anger at people who disregard the environment.

The forest is one big blanket
That mother nature wove.
Every river, tree and thicket,
Every tiny little cover.
And if we don't protect it
From our civilized selves,
The only things left to see,
Will be the books upon the shelves.

He has no horses. Nick Bartels hopes to have a horse this summer.
A fourth-grader in the Fisher school, Bartels lives on a farm outside town. Though he rides sometimes, his family owns no horses.
Bartels wrote his winning poem, "Horses," during a milk break last year in third grade.
Writing poetry, he says, isn't a big deal. "I just get a picture in my head and put it out in words."
Winning the award was a big deal, he acknowledged. He said the family went to McDonald's to celebrate.
Bartels' teacher, Rod Haugen, believes the poem isn't just good for a fourth-grader. It's good, period. "Most kids write simple poetry. A lot of thought went into this one.

Listen, listen . . . here they come,
from the bend of the horizon watch them run.
There are big clouds of dust floating toward me,
the ground is trembling from the raging hooves.
The sound of neighing from the distant barn
carried by the winds of the stormy weather.
I wonder if I can handle the excitement
of a horse marathon.

Hawaii brought home
Meredith Maxson, a Bemidji seventh-grader, wrote "Honolulu Zoo" after coming home from a visit to her grandmother in Hawaii.
Her English teacher, Doyle Turner, spotted her writing ability immediately when he read her classwork.
Maxson was the only one of his students to enter a poem in the contest. She says she'll become a writer, in part because of this success. "I think I'll be a good one. I think it'll be fun."
Turner agrees. "She turns things around in her mind before writing." He likened her poems to polished gems in contrast with the rough stones so many young writers turn out.

    Honolulu Zoo
The bus came to a screeching halt
as we entered the sweltering heat
My hand gripped tightly
to my grandma's hand
in the excitement of the
squawking birds and grunting
pigs upset from their nap.
We paid admission and entered the zoo.
As we walked along
we came upon an extended field
filled with cold stone animal figures
with children toppling over them.
It started to get dark,
so we trudged on until we came to a red gate,
the paint chipped off.
We slowly heaved our feet on the bus
and sat down wearily.
As the bus slowly marched
our day into the past.

No fly-by-nighter
It could have sounded like a scam: Enter your poem in an anthology contest, and for $20 you can buy the finished collection.
But Hassel's English teacher in Fertile, Vicki Ledding, said she was impressed that fewer than half of the 6,000 or so entries finally were accepted for publication.
She plans to buy one for her classroom and one for the school library to use as learning tools for future writers.
Worthen says that Hassel's response to the anthology contest is common. "People ask questions," he said, "'Do they really create a book? Is it really a contest, or is everyone accepted?' When people realize that not everyone is accepted, they believe in it."
A money-back guarantee has resulted in only three anthologies being returned in five years Worthen said.
Creative Communication has published poetry anthologies such as "A Celebration of Young Poets" for several years, though this is the first time Minnesota and Wisconsin have been features.
And "quite by accident" "Celebration" contrasts life in the rural Midwest with a more urban, violent world, Worthen says.
"There's a remarkable difference between this one and one we're doing in Florida, where violence and crime are high. The anthologies freeze a moment in time. It will provide a picture of what youth in those states are dealing with."
And Worthen plans to make the Minnesota-Wisconsin anthology an annual publication.
Printed by permission from the Grand Forks Herald

Through verse, youngsters draw on imagination, gain recognition
Printed by permission from The Philadelphia Inquirer

A state anthology will feature poems by 2,800 students. The outpouring signals a shift in schools beyond traditional compositions.

Watching her beloved grandfather die of cancer broke Samantha Endur's heart, but she just couldn't seem to tell anyone how she felt.
Instead the fourth grader wrote a poem:

    He lies in bed all the time
He lies there thin and ill
He's dying here and now
Soon he will be far away . . .

"It was easier to write about it than talk about it," said Samantha, who attends the J. F. Cooper School in Cherry Hill.
Writing it down not only gave Samantha a means of expressing her sadness, but also landed her in a place of honor in a state anthology of student works.
Her poem was one of 2,800 chosen from among 7,000 entries last month for publication in an anthology titled A Celebration of Young Poets. The top 10 students in each grade level receive a $50 savings bond from Creative Communication, the educational organization that runs the contest.
The anthology's publication demonstrates that in more and more classrooms, poetry lessons are being added to the language-arts curriculum, signaling a departure from standard essays and compositions. Teachers say poetry allows students to let their imagination take flight and write about issues that matter most to them.
Karen Smith, associate executive director of the National Council of Teachers of English, said that the memorization and iambic pentameter exercises of the past had made some teachers "afraid of poetry."
"But I think teachers have gotten beyond that. (There is) more energetic and free-flowing use of poetry."
Ann Magee, Samantha's teacher, agrees. "'Just open the book to page 300 and write a sentence' is not the way I teach it," she said. "It is just not meaningful to them."
Instead Magee's students keep a daily writer's notebook, describing events and people in their lives. These thoughts are used as "seeds for ideas to work into finished pieces eventually," Magee said.
"I told (the students) that I cry when I read some of them," Magee said of the poems. "I said (to Samantha), 'Yours made me cry.' It really did, because it was so sensitive."
Samantha's work also touched her mother, Sheryl Endur. "It was an emotional thing for me because it was my father she was writing about," Endur said.
About a dozen of Magee's students will have their poetry published in the anthology.
Entering contests "really makes the kids want to write more," Magee said. "They know they have an audience."
The rules for the Creative Communication contest were simple: Each student submitted one poem, on any topic, written in any style, with a maximum length of 21 lines. The contest was run in a dozen other states, but this year, New Jersey and Pennsylvania - both in their second year of participation - sent in the most entries.
The quality of poetry "really comes down to the language arts teachers at the schools," said anthology editor Tom Worthen. "The common denominator is how much focus they put on language arts."
Marlton Middle School eighth grader Erin Bender, one of the top poets in her grade category, said it was easier for her to write poems than essays. When her teacher gives the class a choice, she often opts for poetry.
In her poem, she wrote about life's challenges.

    People in life see you in many ways
They can see you as fat or thin
They can say you're too young or too old
For the group you're currently in.
They can tease you and taunt you
and push you around
Yet still you try to fight back.
Life is a battle you never fully win
Perfection is one thing we lack.

The idea for prize-winner Maria Lipperini's poem about the sea came from a summer spent at a beach house in Brigantine.
"She was walking on the beach with her dad, and that night she was falling asleep, and she got up and wrote it," said her mother, Pat. "I was surprised . . . When you look at your child, you're like, "You think those things?"
Lipperini said Maria, a fourth grader at St. John's School in Collingswood, would probably use her $50 prize money to buy books.
Sixth grader Meng Meng Li, who attends Sharp School in West Collingswood, was another winner with her poem about the gifts of Mother Nature:

    "Take a step on the thick colorful leaves
Like a cozy blanket that covers the ground."

Sally Sharp Holland, a teacher at Forest Hill, said assigning poetry promoted "a new way of creativity. I feel it opens up the emotions," she said. "Once they've experienced success they can go to harder, more refined essays."
And who could resist Sharp sixth grader Chenke Li's poem espousing New Jersey's grandeur?

    I see clouds in the sky,
the beauty of New Jersey will capture your eye . . .
Come to New Jersey whether you are far or near
Because whatever you want you can always find here.

Printed by permission from The Philadelphia Inquirer


Young Poets Are Honored
Printed by permission from The Advance News, Ogdensburg, NY

The original poems of 21 Ogdensburg school district students in a single grade-level at Kennedy Elementary School in Ogdensburg have been chosen to appear in an anthology of poetry by students.
Their school in turn has been honored for producing such a large number of poets in a single year.
The students wrote on the theme, "Leaves Are . . ."
All the poems were written by last year's fifth-graders at Kennedy Elementary.
The "commission" was to write a brief and strikingly descriptive poem about leaves.
Receiving the honor of "Poet of Merit" in the volume, "A Celebration of New York's Young Poets for 1997" was Jared Flener, who this year is attending Madrid-Waddington Central School.
The teachers and students of Kennedy "should feel honored" said teacher Jacie Krause, "as there were thousands of entries that were not included in the anthology. The fact that we had numerous students who were accepted makes a strong statement about our school," she added, "representing a lot of talent, hard work, and dedication from both teachers and students."
She said the school has been "recognized as having an excellent language arts program."
Almost 1,000 schools participated, said Krause.
Kennedy is in the top five percent of the schools which entered the contest.
The publication was produced by "Creative Communication."
Printed by permission from The Advance News, Ogdensburg, NY

He's A Poet And He Knows It; Student has his work published in an anthology
Printed by permission from the Middlesex News, Marlborough, MA

Many people only dream of having their work published. But Hastings Elementary School fourth-grader Christopher Atchue has managed to accomplish that at age 10.
"He didn't gloat, but he showed it to me," said Marcia Hallock, Christopher's English teacher.
Christopher's poem, "Winnipesaukee," was one of thousands of poems entered in March to the 5th Annual Northeast's Young Poets Contest, sponsored by Creative Communication Co., an organization that holds education workshops, publishes newsletters and edits books and manuals. Fewer than half of the poems sent in were selected to be published in an anthology entitled, "A Celebration of Young Poets" put out by Creative Communication.
"I think it's pretty special that he took the initiative to want to send something in," said Hallock.
The contest, brought to Hallock's attention by Principal Nancy Spitulnik, came in the wake on an enrichment program sponsored by parents, which brought in a published poet. The poet, Carol Burnes of Maine, travels to different schools and holds writing workshops. She teaches the youths how to brainstorm ideas and how to use effective similes and description. Afterward, she asks the youths to write their own poems.
"She had the kids think of a special place in their mind. She had them focus and make a list of the things in their mind, what they would see and hear. She played music and talked about feelings," said Hallock.
That experience led to Christopher's first poem. "I go to Lake Winnipesaukee every summer and that's what came into my head," he said.
When Spitulnik asked if anyone would be interested in contributing to the contest, Hallock posted the sheet of requirements on the blackboard.
"I saw it hanging and asked if she could make a copy of it for me," Christopher said.
"Chris wanted to publish the poem written from the outline given in the workshop," Hallock remarked.
In a newsletter sent out to the school, Creative Communication described the poetry contest as a way "to reward creative students" and the final anthology as a device to "record the poetic insights of today's youth."
All poets published in the anthology have the opportunity to become a "Top Ten Poet" - 10 youths who, along with an award, will receive a $50 savings bond. Christopher hopes to hear soon but for now is content to have received a certificate of honorable mention.
"I'm really happy. There were a bunch of entries," he said proudly. The Hastings staff plans to buy a copy of the anthology for the fourth grade and a second copy for Christopher.
Printed by permission from the Middlesex News, Marlborough, MA

Richmond poet's work recognized
Reprinted by permission from the Richmond Review, Richmond

Local students enjoy a number of activities ranging from sports to writing. For one Richmond student her hobby has given her the opportunity to be published and a chance to win money.
Andrea Garlick is a ninth grade student at the Richmond Community Schools who began writing poetry in the sixth grade.
"We started going over different poetry in class and I really liked it," she explained. Andrea began writing soon after and has continued ever since.
Her talents gained the attention of her eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Sharon Swain, who recommended she submit her poem, "The People's Cry," in a contest. Andrea admitted she thought about submitting the poem to a contest, but her teacher's words of encouragement convinced her.
Her poem was sent to Creative Communication Inc., based in Utah, for a young poet's contest.
The company reviews all entries to determine which are deemed high merit poems. The selection process is based on certain criteria including literary merit and social awareness. Those poems deemed high merit by the judges will be published in an anthology of young poets across the state in A Celebration of Michigan's Young Poets. The number of poems chosen varies, depending on the number of entries and number of poems chosen as high merit.
Once the poems are chosen, the poems are again reviewed by judges to determine which poets will be awarded money for their work. $50 savings bonds are issued to the top ten poets in each of three age categories. Monetary winners will be announced later this month.
Andrea's poem was deemed as high merit by the judges. The poem reveals the plight of the homeless, although Andrea enjoys writing poetry on all different kinds of topics. All of her poems are written in free verse - she does not follow a set rhythm or rhyme in her work. Surprisingly, Andrea is not currently planning to use her literary talents as a profession.
"Right now it's just a hobby for me," Andrea says. "I hope to do something in the medical field."
She does, however, hope to continue her passion for poetry in Richmond by taking creative writing during her senior year, the only year she will have the opportunity to take the class.
While Andrea may be somewhat shy and prefers to express herself with the pen, her family is extremely proud of her. They are excited about her accomplishment and sees her achievement as a commemorative to her former English teacher.
Mrs. Swain suffered from a stroke last year and is currently unable to teach. The educator was Andrea's inspiration and without her, the poet may have gone unnoticed.
Andrea's poetry shows that the eye of experience is not the only voice of truth. The view from a young student can sometimes see what experience can not.

The People's Cry by Andrea Garlick
The people's cry is a plea that no one can hear,
it is a plea for food, shelter, a life.
It is like a scream into silence,
it is there, but no one will stop and listen.
If you were them, living for their life,
in alleys, scrounging for food.
Wouldn't you want someone to stop and listen to you.
Reprinted by permission from the Richmond Review, Richmond MI