Play on Words Appreciated in D.C.

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Tonight is Poetry Night at the White House. The President and Mrs. Obama are hosting some of the most prominent contemporary poets of our time. The poets were recognized for the influence they have had on today’s American culture.The poetry event also includes an afternoon workshop designed to educate children on the art of poetry. 

Like opera and ballet, poetry is not always recognized for the beautiful art form that it is. This form of writing is not fully appreciated or understood by many. To fully comprehend poetry is to understand all that goes into the writing of it – the use of diction, syntax, imagery, irony, symbolism, connotations and more. An accomplished poet incorporates many of these writing complexities into their written piece. 

Sometimes, a poet’s work is not made public until after their death. Many poets are “closet writers” and never intend to publish their work. Poetry fulfills a need to express innermost feelings and emotions. It is used as a channel for soul searching and release. Because deep-seated emotions and difficulties in personal lives are often reflected in poetry writing, many poets are uncomfortable with revealing their vulnerabilities, and decide to keep their compositions private. The pick of words can sometimes bring distressing feelings to the reader too. 

In a town that seems to thrive on debate, even last night’s White House literary event was not without controversy. The invitation of a successful Chicago poet and rapper brought criticism. His work has been a source of contention due to the choice of words he uses in his poetry. For more information about this controversial poet, visit

Perhaps William Butler Yeats said it best about poetry “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.”

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Weekend Indie Publisher News


A great way to introduce yourself as a writer or gain recognition as a writer is to submit your writing to contests. There are many contests that are open for submission during the winter months. Here are just a few:

2010 Leap Frog Press Fiction Contest. Submissions accepted beginning Jan 15 for adult literary fiction and childrens fiction. For more information, please visit

2010 Women of Mystery Haiku Contest. Submissions accepted from now until the end of March. Results during National Poetry Month in April. For more information, please visit

Hurry! There is still time Writers League of Texas. Deadline for Manuscript contest February 24. Prize announced during the Writers League of Texas Agents Conference. June 25-27, 2010.  For full details visit

Tupelo Press Contests – now accepting submissions for Chapbook Awards and First Book of Poetry Awards.  The Snowbound Series Chapbook Award is now accepting submission until February 28, 2010.

The 11th Annual Tupelo Press Press Award for First Book of Poetry now accepting submissions ! $3,000 prize money! Entries must be postmarked or submitted on line before April 15. For more information go to

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Precious Poe

“That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit” ~ Amos Bronson Alcott

Christie’s of New York has been put in command of auctioning off precious items of jewelry, furniture, Art, wine, books and other collectible things since 1766. They have evaluated and sold the most extravagant and valuable collectibles from around the world. Despite difficult economic times, in 2008, their sales reportedly reached 5.1 billion dollars.

Several days ago, they shattered all previous records for the sale of a literary piece of work. William Self, a former senior TV executive placed his collection of rare books with Christie’s and among the collection was a rare copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s book “Tamerlane and Other Poems.”

This book was first self-published in obscurity in 1827. It was then republished under Poe’s own name. Edgar Allen Poe wrote most of the book before he reached age 14. Only 40-50 copies of “Tamerlane” were printed and only 12 copies remain today.

The new owner was willing to pay $662,500 for this book of antiquity. Sadly, in all likelihood, the book will not sit on his bookshelf, either. Rare books, like museum quality paintings, are often held in vault storage with optimum humidity, air circulation, temperature controls and little exposure to light, so as not to further compromise it’s already frail condition.

Edgar Allen Poe, a gem of American poets, would probably turn over in his grave if he knew just how precious our society views his literary work.