Since 2011, the Indiana Writers’ Consortium (IWC) has been sponsoring the Power of Poetry Project (P.O.P.P.) to build students’ creativity by bringing poetry into the classroom. The program has taken place in schools in Crown Point, Gary, and East Chicago.
During November, special attention is given to the reading and writing of poetry in fourth and fifth grade classrooms. In December, the children select their best poem to edit and rewrite in their own unique voice until it is ready to submit to the competition.
In connection with the IWC mission, P.O.P.P. helps inspire and build Northwest Indiana’s literary community by providing instructors with teaching resources and suggestions for using poetry to meet educational standards. Students are encouraged to read and write poems in order to develop an appreciation for the genre, and their efforts are rewarded at an awards ceremony held in the spring.
The poems are judged anonymously in a three-round judging process:
Round one - judges review the entires and choose the poems to consider for local school awards;
Round two - judges select the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and honorable mention poems at the school level; and
Round three – judges review the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place poems from the school level and select the 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and honorable mention winners at the regional level. If there is an exceptional entry, the poet receives the Spencer Award.
All participants receive a P.O.P.P. lapel pin. Winning poems are published in the annual P.O.P.P. Poetry Book, and school level winners are presented with a medal, a certificate, and a copy of the book. Regional winners also receive a trophy and an Amazon gift certificate.
Beginning this year, the first ever Spencer Award will be given to the young poet most deserving of special recognition. Tom Spencer is a well-respected Indiana poet as well as a longtime IWC member. He heads the Northwest Indiana Poetry Society and has promoted poetry appreciation both locally and nationally for many years.
Thank you to the P.O.P.P Committee for its work organizing the program and judging entires. A special thanks goes to the grantors and donors who make P.O.P.P. possible: the Crown Point Community Foundation, Centier Bank – Crown Point Branch, and individual donors.
This year’s P.O.P.P. awards ceremony will be held on April 9th at Solon Robinson School in Crown Point from 6pm-8pm. It is free and open to the public.