As part of the year-long Singapore Writer’s Festival 2015, Words Go Round (a platform which brings Singapore and international writers into schools to meet and interact with students and teachers) is launching a whole new host of exciting talks and workshops for schools and the public from 2 to 14 March 2015. This year, something of interest is the first ever Newspaper Blackout Poetry writing contest.
Inspired by poet and cartoonist Austin Kleon, this contest challenges students to be creative with newspapers by blacking out a poem. Participants will be required to black out the unwanted words and leave the unmarked words in the newspaper article to form a brand new poem. Entries in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil are accepted. Winning entries in each language category and age group will receive $300 Kinokuniya book vouchers. Merit prizes comprising $100 book vouchers will also be given out.
Submissions can be made for these three age categories:
Junior (7 to 11 years old) | Youth (12 to 15 years old) | Senior (16 to 19 years old)
We tried our hand at our first ‘Blacked Out Poem’ last night with this news article which I had cut out from Saturday’s Straits Times.
I had it photocopied, read it through once with Dana and asked her to circle some words from the article which she thinks can be used to form a poem. Then once she’s decided, she crossed out all other unwanted words with a pencil (Tip: Using a pencil helps as she can erase when she changes her mind). After several revisions, she was satisfied with this final product:
Bright and colourful gardens
Housed dazzling beauties
Chrysanthemum, daisy, marigold, dahlias
Large, vibrant blooms
Against towering field of golden-hued moss and roses
Golden shower orchids wrapped around nature
Spring is fantastic!
As we’ve never attempted Newspaper Blackout Poetry before, it does seem daunting at first as I was unsure how the girl would take to it. But it proved to be achievable and fun to set aside time to indulge in word play with our newly-minted P1 daughter who has discovered the beauty of the written language (she has read 15 books from the school library in the last 2 weeks!). I was quite amazed how an expository piece can be transformed into a short and sweet poem. I hope this exercise will motivate Dana (and all kids) to start dabbling in some creative writing!
Apart from the poetry writing contest, here are some events which may be of interest:
1. “Forest Fables” storytelling workshop by Kamini Ramachandran – for children ages 4 to 9 (FREE). Be prepared to be enthralled by professional storyteller Kamini Ramachandran as she takes you on a rollicking journey – one in which you encounter animals from lands far beyond. Welcome to a fantastical world where animals speak and tricksters rule.
2. “Fun with Opera” by Susanna Goho-Quek – for children ages 4 to 9 (FREE). Colourful opera costumes, beating drums and clashing cymbals! Join Susanna-Goho-Quek for an interactive session based on Fun at the Opera, a tale of the dramatic delights found in Chinese Opera. After reading and singing along, kids will even get a chance to colour their very own opera masks.
3. “Words Go Round Open House” – for students from 15 to 18 years old (S$20 per student). Created just for budding writers and readers – the event aims to gather students with a passion for literature and good writing. Upper Sec. and JC/Poly students will be given the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals to inspire creativity and celebrate the beauty of words.
FYI: Words Go Round (WGR) is a Singapore Writers Festival initiative launched in 2011 to bring literature closer to a new generation of budding writers and to cultivate a strong readership and interest among the young for words. For more information on Words Go Round, please visit www.singaporewritersfestival.com/wgr .