Six Steps to Awesome: How to Write a Free Verse Poem

Free Verse

Are you struggling with writing a poem without rhyme or meter? Some say free verse is easy, but its not. That’s why I’m here to help! Just follow my simple steps and in no time you’ll have yourself an awesome free verse poem.
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Poetry Slam: Press Annoucement

2nd Annual Poetry Slam and Multicultural Event

Poet Slam[Summerdale]On Thursday, August 28th at 7:00 PM in Scoozis Café, the Central Pen Literary E-zine will present its second annual Poetry Slam & Multicultural Event. This FREE poetic competition will be M.C.ed by 2014 Central Pen Poetry Prize winner, Jade Harper, and Drama Club member, Jamar Royster. Students will have the opportunity to win cash for poetic performances. Local slam winner and published author, Dustin Nispel, will be one of the judges and his new book, The Tower, will be available for sale and signing.


 

“Poetry slams make poems leap off the page! They bring poems to life for the common person. Poems can be about virtually any subject and poets have 3 minutes to drop it like it’s hot,” says 3-time slam winner, Professor Maria Thiaw. “They just have to remember that they’ll be disqualified for going over time, so no disclaimers or apologies!”


 

Poetry Slams were developed in the 1990’s at the Green Mill in Chicago and have since gone international. In a slam, poets perform their work in 3 minutes or less with no props.  In national slams poems are recited from memory, but for this event, students will be able to use a reading script.


 

“I’d just be sure that they can see their poem’” warns Central Pen editor, Dr. Melisssa Wehler, “Small print on a cell phone in a dim room may get in the way of a powerful performance.”


 

Four judges (2 students and 2 professional poets) will determine who will walk away with the prize money and Central Penn swag! The first place winner will receive $100, while second place will get $50 and third will win $25. The winners will be promoted in The Central Pen e-zine and invited to perform their award-winning poems at the [K]Night of Theatrics, on October 9th, the 1st event for the Underground’s new theatre!

The International Society will be providing an assortment of cultural foods at the event, and drinks will be available from Scoozi’s Café, so students can nourish their bellies as well as their minds!


 

Students that wish to compete can pre-register by emailing The Central Pen at thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu.  Registration will be available at the door as well, but space is limited. Be sure to sign up now.


The event is a group effort between the Central Pen staff, the new Central Penn Players Drama Club, the International Society and Professor Maria Thiaw’s HUM330 Contemporary American Writers of Color Class.

The Central Pen is a literary e-zine edited by Dr. Melissa Wehler and Professor Maria Thiaw. Check out the latest issue here.  For more information or to reserve your performance spot, contact thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu today.

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The Central Pen Rocks the Mic at Common Hour

1st Place Derrick "Muff" Johnson

1st Place Derrick “Muff” Johnson at the 2013 Poetry Slam

At the SGA’s common hour on August 7, 2014, The Central Pen rocked the mic with performances by our own Maria James Thiaw, faculty advisor, Jade Harper, 2013 Poetry Contest Winner, and Derrick “Muff” Johnson, 2013 Poetry Slam Winner.

Professor Maria Thiaw hit off the presentation with her ‘Wordaholic’ spoken word piece to an enthusiastic applause.

Thiaw was followed by Jade Harper who read her award winning poem, ‘I Am.’  Harper’s self-affirming poem won her the Academy of American Poets University Prize back in April.

The presentation was rounded out with Derrick “Muff” Johnson delivering his winning poetry slam piece from last year.

The crowd was also invited to join us for our 2nd Annual Poetry slam where Johnson will defend his title against all challengers.  The Slam will take place on August 28th at Scoozi’s cafe.  Performers should arrive by 7 pm to get their names on the list.  The slam will start at 7.30 sharp.  Prizes will be awarded and winners will be crowned!

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It’s Time to SLAM!

Poet Slam

 

When: Thursday, August 28th (doors open at 7 pm, the slam starts at 7.30)
Where: Scoozi’s
Why: Prizes!  $100 first place; $50 second place
Who: YOU!


For more information, contact us: thecentralpen@centralpenn.edu


See our other post about getting ready for the slam here and get inspired by our creative minds on campus: Isaiah Isley, Derrick Johnson,  and Dezmyn Edmond.

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It’s almost time for THE SLAM! Are you ready?

The 2nd Annual Poetry Slam Competition is almost here, and we’re looking for CPC poets to bring their A game.  

Poetry SlamTo get you ready to rock the stage, check out how some other poets have brought the slam:

How will you slam?

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Writer Spotlight: Isaiah Isley Teaches Self-Motivation Through Writing

JESS3_Social_MLK_QuoteMany of the people who converse with me would never believe that I had a problem speaking when I was younger.  Despite the numerous vocabulary words I knew, sentences would not flow effectively the way I wanted them to when I tried to plead my case.

However, I had a knack for writing poems, raps, and songs so my father said “if you can’t tell me your thoughts, write them down, I would love to read them.” Since that day, anything I see, hear, or say can serve as a catalyst for me to manipulate words and phrases in ways that I still cannot explain.


Embracing my own creativity with writing has served as an outlet for all of the negative aspects of my life such as stress, instability and a lack of self-confidence, which seemed impossible to explain to my father.


Yes, I, Isaiah Isley have doubts about myself and my abilities sometimes, but those doubts deteriorate each and every time I read aloud a small piece of material and I gauge the reactions of the audience because I am realizing that I have a gift; the gift of oratory. Utilizing my creative writing effectively has become a self-motivating technique and a reminder that I am capable of achieving a great deal of success, which is defined as one’s satisfaction with their accomplishments in this case.

 My favorite phrase that I have ever written down is “you are what you are, you accept you’ll be respected” because it encourages everyone to be comfortable embracing themselves. I am comfortable with my gift and it will not go to waste because I will not allow it to.


Creative writing opens up my mind by coercing me to paint a picture with words, which challenges my intellect, but results in a great deal of psychological pleasure in the end.


 I would encourage others to write down their thoughts in a journal, notebook, and if they are hip to the new fads they can write in their notepads on their cellular devices. Our thoughts, visions and ideas are important and they have the potential to shape and mold others over time. Shakespeare, Poe, and Twain are still idolized today because they wrote down their thoughts and someone else thought that they were important.

The many words that I have used to compose the multiple pieces of literature that I have completed have acted as my motivation and given me a sense of purpose in life.

…Creative writing is my life. 

[Image from Bok Fu Do]

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Isaiah Isley has written numerous poems, raps, songs and a short story since the eighth grade. He has performed his personal pieces in front of hundreds at talent shows, fashion shows, sporting events and open mic nights. Isley, majoring in Corporate Communications​, is currently on the Deans’ List  at Central Penn College and is on a mission to redefine success for the world through various forms of education. After graduating in 2017, Isaiah is going to attend graduate school.

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Writer Spotlight: Derrick Johnson Talks Creative Energy

Creative writing is a form of releasing energy. Whether it’s writing, typing or texting the word document, paper or text box is a place where you can store energy from within you. Releasing energy is good because it allows your body or system to create room for new energy.

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Feeding off of the same energy for too long can become a negative thing because you can lose motivation, it can turn into anger and become a burden to you, and allowing energy to build up can lead to stress which has severe side effects such as a change in your mood, behavior, and even your body.

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I compare it to a car getting its oil changed. Whenever a car gets its oil changed it allows the car’s engine to perform better, after a while through a number of ways the oil becomes dirty and affects the engine’s performance.  If a car runs on the same oil for too long the engine will eventually stop running and you will have to buy a new one.

David McCallum

Well it’s no different from any human being: if energy isn’t released new energy can’t form and that’s when it becomes a problem.

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Writing should be promoted more–too many people forget things nowadays and a simple written note to self could make all the difference.

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For those who have trouble getting ideas and thoughts across I suggest writing to them. Writing can simply be viewed as an alternative for outlet. For instance, if you want to be heard and you feel like your voice isn’t or can’t be heard you could simply write a letter, message or note.

…writing has no limit.

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Deric

Derrick A. Johnson known as “Muff” by any human being who shares time and space with him, is striving to be better today than he was yesterday. Born in the South part of Bronx New York and raised in Philadelphia he was a unique, self-motivated thinking child.  As an active high school student he participated in athletics, participated in community events, and participated as an advocate for justice.  Currently he is pursuing an Associates of Science Degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business at Central Penn College in Enola, Pennsylvania. He strives to positively contribute to the campus environment by serving as an active member of the Central Penn Literary E-Zine, supporting peers, faculty, and staff, and working part-time. His academic goals are to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and to conduct his (future) internship at Comcast in Philadelphia. His professional goal is to obtain employment as an executive with Comcast.

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Writer Spotlight: Dezmyn Edmond Talks The Saving Grace of Creative Writing

DE

Edmond (far right) with TJ Blackwell (center) and Khaleef Fields (left)

Creative writing has actually saved my life.  Before creative writing my life was horrible, and I had unexpressed emotions that only manifested itself into tears. I soon developed depression in high school, but very few believed I actually had it, more specifically my family. The more they did not believe I had it, the worse it got. Creative writing, more specifically poetry, was my outlet so I would not cry myself to sleep at night. When I started writing poems I started feeling better about the events that have happened in the past by simply writing about them in my poems.

 Quotation-Fierce-Dolan-depression-best-Meetville-Quotes-18732From my family to the fake friends I made in high school, they are all written in poems so I can creatively express my feelings toward them without actually expressing those feelings toward them in reality. However, sometimes I feel like writing about these individuals in my poems just is not enough. I still don’t sleep at night at times because when I think I’ve gotten rid of those awful heart aching memories, they come crawling back when it is the least convenient, which is when I am trying to sleep. I would try to write my feelings out, but so much is going through my mind at once that I would develop writing anxiety and lie awake at night wishing the memories would just go away and never come back into my mind.

When I could sleep, nightmares occurred, making sleeping worse and worse as the nightmares felt more real with every passing night. Now that I have depression, writing anxiety, horrible memories, and on top of that the nightmares worsening, it is no wonder I cannot sleep. Soon I realized I was still harboring leftover feelings that never escaped from the prison that is my subconscious.


When I started attending Central Penn I started to develop a whole new perspective on my life.


By talking to the college’s counselor and various professors I came to the realization that I have to try and come to grips with my past and not let it control my life. Using the advice, the techniques provided by the counselor, and creative writing as an outlet for whatever mood I’m in, I have better control over my pain from my past than I used to, though I still struggle with it from time to time, but I have control over it a majority of the time. To this day I still struggle with it, but I’m managing it the best I can and hopefully soon, with the support of the people that have helped me before, I can overcome my anxieties, depression and various nightmares so that I can have a good night’s sleep I really need. Until that time comes, however, I will continue to seek help from those same people, but not so much I become dependent on them.


 All in all, believe it or not, I’m happier than ever and living life the only way I can.


[image from the author and from meetville.com]

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DELiving in New Jersey, I spend most of my time out with my girlfriend. I enjoy doing Sudoku puzzles and word searches in my spare time. I also like bowling and I’ve gotten quite good at it, but I still aim to be better than my best. Poetry’s been my main focus, but when not doing those activities I’m playing fighting and adventure video games, like Pokémon; unlike some I’m not ashamed to say it. I like listening to real hip-hop music unlike the rap music nowadays that’s only about sex, drugs, violence, and money; everyone’s entitles to an opinion.

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Poetry Workshop

Poetry Workshop Flyer

The 2nd Annual Poetry Slam is almost here!  Get ready to bring your best with our poetry workshop hosted by The Central Pen’s own Maria Thiaw.  We’ll be talking about performance and poetry, tips and tricks for giving your best performance, and of course, how to SLAM!

 

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It’s not about having time, it’s about making time

If everyone waited until they ‘had some time’ to sit down and write, then we wouldn’t have William Faulkner‘s As I Lay Dying, Joseph Heller‘s Catch-22, Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures Under Ground, or much of the early works of T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Toni Morrison, Franz Kafka, William Carlos Williams, or Jorge Luis Borges.  These literary giants worked day jobs at some of the most mundane placespost offices, insurance companies, and banks–all while dreaming of the stories, expressions, and lyrics that have come to be a part of our literary genetic code.


What sets these authors a part from us is not that they had more time, but that they made the time to scratch the writing itch.


But how do you make time in a world where the most creative exercise many of us get is how to rig the alarm clock so that you don’t end up smashing it against the wall in the morning? Continue reading

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