Neopets Poetry Contest GuideElise Kozler
|Poetry Contest (click to play)
100 NP per 100 pts scored
As you walk by the Deep Catacombs at Neopian Central you may notice a poogle with a hat surrounded by pets. It is the Poetry Competition! So you click it and see some poems. Why not to send yours in? This calls for a personal experience…
Long, long time ago, when I first logged into neopets I looked for a game to play. On the Games room there was it! The poetry contest, rated as hard, so shiny and pretty. So I went to play it. And I quitted immediately: too hard! This is as simple as it seems: write a poem and e-mail them to neopets. But get the poem accepted… That’s the nasty part. So, let’s learn how to make a poem and how to e-mail it!
What is a Poem?
A poem is a writing technique that uses line breaks in way to create a song beat. This means that every poem, even the most complicated, harsh and insane ones, have a beat. If you’re not used to write poems try to pick a well known music and create new lyrics. Always think “music” when you are in the creative process.
With the concept of metric learned I will now present you the most used metrical patterns and forms. But before that you must learn the names of the Scansion (scanning metric. This means: “knowing how many syllables the verse has”) System:
- Spondee – two stressed syllables together
- Iamb – unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable
- Trochee – one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable
- Dactyl – one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables
- Anapest – two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable
Notice that “stressing” syllables is to gather two of them in a single one. For example “an aisha did” would be divided in “anai / sha / did.”Finally, the number of feet in a verse is defined by the following terminology:
- Dimeter – two feet
- Trimeter – three feet
- Tetrameter – four feet
- Pentameter – five feet
- Hexameter – six feet
- Heptameter – seven feet
- Octameter – eight feet
Now that you know all these names (I promise that this will be useful. Someday.) let’s check out the most used metrical patterns. Use them on your poems in way to get something technically perfect (or at least technically good)
- Iambic pentameter
- Dactylic hexameter
- Iambic tetrameter
- Iambic tetrameter
- Trochaic octameter
- Anapestic tetrameter
- Alexandrine (it’s an iambic hexameter)
Types of Rhyme
Thought that was enough theory? Nah… *joyful grin* That was just the very first part of the most complex guide I’ve ever written! Ahead!
Rhyming is harder than just find a word that sounds like another. It’s basically that, but to get a smooth and amusing poem you must know more than words that sound like each other ( example of dumb poem: “I love the ogrin / he’s so cute / you like me / and I love you”. See? This is bad o.O)
- Rhyme – Consonance of words or syllables on the end of a verse. In understandable words… it is when a verse sounds like other.
- Alliteration – Repetition of the same sounds, syllables or letters in the same sentence in way to produce a harmonic effect. This is done when you want to transmit a “sound” idea, as onomatopoeia. Example: “May Vira be like a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of her fate”
- Assonance – Repetition of vowel sounds. Example: “Try to light the fire”
- Consonance – Repetition of consonants. Especially used to get sibilant sounds. Example: “The sibilance of the hissing Hissi”
In way to make your poem more rich in terms of senses and feelings you may feel tempted to use techniques known as “figures of speech”. It’s a way to avoid the obvious and explain it on other words. It’s an ornament to the poem, a game of hide and seek of feelings and senses. This is what defines a good poem: the ability to transmit the obvious on a beautiful way.
Rhyming Schemes and Poetic Forms
Almost done with the theory!
Conventional Rhyming Schemes
The scheme is often displayed on a letter form, for example “aaba” or “baab” or “abba”. Each letter defines a different rhyme sound.
Ottava Rima – Stanza of eight lines with an alternating a-b rhyming scheme for the first six lines followed by a closing couplet. Most used in epics and heroic poems, since they have a very… “Heroic” beat, like an anthem.
Terza Rima – Each stanza has three lines, with the first and third rhyming, and the second line rhyming with the first and third lines of the next stanza (thus, aba / bcb / cdc, etc.) in a chain rhyme. It’s used to show a story that runs in a constant time progression.
Every poem is composed by the following elements: line and stanza. Lines compose a stanza and various stanzas compose a canto. Larger structures are called poetic forms.
- Lines – Can be combined in couplets or triplets (some authors consider these combinations as stanzas)
- Stanzas – Their names are defined by the number of lines that compose them: distich, tercet, quatrain, quintain, sestet, octet. They can be also called strophes, depending on the poetic form you are using.
Famous Poetic Forms
The following schemes are very used, famous and everyone likes them. Before finding your own style, try to use these forms. There are plenty of authors that only use a single form on all their work.
- Elegy – Written in the special elegiac meter, is a poem of mourning and reflection of death, sorrow and sadness. Neopets don’t have elegies and we don’t like them.
- Villanelle – These are almost pure music. The composition of a villanelle is very characteristic: a distinctive pattern of rhyme and repetition, with only two rhyme-sounds (“a” and “b”) and two alternating refrains that resolve into a concluding couplet. This is fun to use on Neopets, but can turn out very confusing. Since there are very young children reading your poems don’t abuse of this form.
- Sonnet – Usually it’s a poem of fourteen lines following a strict rhyme scheme and logical structure. They are easy, neat and always fit well. Can be used as love poems, sorrow poems or poems that transmit a single moment (not much can be said in 14 lines). It’s useful and dynamic: here we use a poetic diction heavily based on heavy imagery with twists and turns associated with the move from octave to sestet and to final couplet.
- Haiku – They are famous, aren’t them? Just go to The Haiku Generator at Mystery Island and get your own free haiku! Here, five or three lines organized on a 5-7-5 7-7 pattern show a small feeling or a brief moment. The 5-7-5 phrase (the “upper phrase”) and the 7-7 phrase (the “lower phrase”) generally show a shift in tone and subject matter. I must warn you that they are very cool to do (at least they give me an immense pleasure1) but they are not very common on the Poetry Contest.
- Ode – This one seems to be made for Neopets adventures. It’s a bit complicated to apply but let’s try to explain: it is composed by three parts. a strophe, an antistrophe and an epode. The antistrophes of the ode possess similar metrical structures and similar rhyme structures. By other hand, the epode is written with a different scheme and structure. Odes have a formal poetic diction and general deal with a serious subject. The strophe and antistrophe look at the subject from different, often conflicting, perspectives while the epode moves to a higher level to either view or resolve the underlying issues.
- Ghazal – This may not be the ideal for our poetry competition, because it’s used to transmit higher feelings as love and passion. It’s composed by five to fifteen rhyming couplets that share a refrain at the end of the second. Each line has an identical meter and there is a set pattern of rhymes in the first couplet and among the refrains. Each couplet forms a complete thought and stands alone. The overall poem reflects the complete feeling.
- Prose Poetry – I must warn you that this may not be the best thing to use if you want to win a place at the poetry gallery. Prose poetry is a weird form that is basically done like this: you have a story and you randomly insert line breaks where you feel that they would look well. They don’t need to rhyme.
- Free Poetry – Almost as the prose poetry, with the great difference that the authors normally use rhyming techniques on their stanzas. This is the poem that I often call “crazy poem”.
Phew! Now that we’ve finished with all the spam theory let’s face things on a practical view!
- Study vocabulary: you will need to find words after words in way to get original and fresh poems!
- I must insist on the beat part! Find your musical beat and write your poems based on it. For some people listening to music while writing works well. However I find this disturbing, because my thoughts get mixed with the lyrics of the music. Find what works well for you and try over and over again.
- Try to transmit a story, a moment or an attitude on your poem. Try to make it an adventure story with a happy, yet exciting, ending. If you choose to write about other thing instead of a complete story try to make it exciting (play with sounds and feelings).
- Focus on pet days or special happenings on the history of Neopia.
Things that often don’t work at the Poetry Contest of Neopia:
- Sad stories;
- Extreme and obvious parodies;
- Free poetry;
- An extreme attempt of making a comical poem.
Notice the last point. Comical poems are not a bunch of jokes that rhyme. The humor on poetic form is found with the irony and other less obvious style figures. Take this in attention when you intend to “make fun” of something on a rhyming form.Try to write your poem like you were writing a children book. Use visual senses, since they work better to the public range that we have.
Sending Your Poem
Uh-oh… This is the hard part. The Poetry Contest is one of the few contests that still do not have a fill in form. You will have to e-mail it. To e-mail just go to your e-mail, put one of the following addresses on your “Destination” bar and write the poem on the text box. Sometimes, just to be sure, I attach a file with the poem too.
Finally! You got in! And for each poem you publish on Neopets you will get the following prizes:
A Rare item
Yup, they say a rare item. But a “rare item” can be a lot of things… Fortunately on this contest TNT give us great, really great prizes. The cheapest prize I’ve known of was a Kauvara Potion while the most expensive one was a Maraquan Paintbrush! So… Don’t tell me that it does not worth to try!
And… Good luck! ^^