About the Contest - Write to the World's MICROPOETRY

About the Contest:

MICROPOETRY was a poetry contest meant to make poets say more with less. The poems had to be no longer than five lines, with no more that five words per line. The poems could be on any theme, and had to be submitted via text. The contest lasted for seven weeks with a winner for each week, running throughout August and September 2011.

The MICROPOETRY contest was organized by Write To The World in conjunction with Radio Univers 105.7fm. Founded in 2007 by Kofi Gyamfi Anane-Kyeremeh and Maxwell Odoi-Yeboah, Write to the World is an organization that aims to help youth to identify, enhance
and utilize their writing talents.

Four Questions with Contest Organizer Kofi Gyamfi Anane-Kyeremeh:

1. How did the idea of this contest come to you? Who originally came up with the idea and how did they bring the other groups on board?

The idea of MICROPOETRY (on radio) came to me in the month of July after participating in "micropoetry" blogging on Twitter. There many writers wrote very short poems and gave it the "MICROPOETRY" hash tag. I thought the whole activity could be further expanded to radio and so I came up with the MICROPOETRY contest for radio. I then spoke with a few people who expressed interest and finally got Open Air Theatre on Radio Univers 105.7fm to host the show in partnership.

2. How important was it to you that the contest happen via text? Do you see texting as a long-term medium for poetry, or a short-term one that will fade with the development of new technologies?

The poems were not supposed to be more than twenty-five words and texting afforded that more easily (a text is 120-140 characters), and our belief was that this would help the entrants to follow the rules easily. Secondly, texting was faster and more versatile, such that poems could be submitted in real-time. Texting is dynamic and it gets developed as technology develops so I don't see poetry and texting being something short-term.

3. In some ways, new technologies which limit how much we can say (texting, Twitter, etc.) force us to be more poetic, in that they force us to think about how to use language efficiently. In other ways, of course, they allow us to be lazy with language, throwing out message after message without much concern for grammar, sentence structure, etc. Do you think texts, tweets and the like are having a good, bad, or indifferent influence on the development of language skills?

To me, there are two sides to every coin. Tweeting, texting, paging does compel people to be considerate of what to say and how to say it as in the case of this contest. It made the poets who usually write so much cut down on what they say. In the same way it makes some people very abusive of the English language. As such I think the issue of texting is double-edged.

4. What's next for Write to the World? How are you going to build off the momentum of the MICROPOETRY contest?

Write To The World has a global outlook, to get writers from all the world to share ideas and also provide the platform needed to help them improve and utilize their writing talent. We shall utilize all forms of communication/media to advance our core values and to meet our three simple aims: Identify, Enhance and Utilize.

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