Poetry Contest Winners

In honor of National Poetry Month, we had a language-themed poetry contest. Congratulations to the winners.

Mignon Fogarty
2-minute read

Poetry Contest: Ode To The Adverb



"Ode to the Adverb" by Peter J. Francis, www.hgpublishing.com

Some say that you are dying slowly
Your suffix spurned like something lowly;
My lover tells me to drive safe—
Her words, my grammar sense do chafe.
Whence went thee my lovely –ly?
I write so freely, but I feel free.
Slyly, wryly, skillfully Thou
Are used by knowledgeable writers now;
But woefully, awfully, even sadly
Your demise makes me feel bad (not badly).

(Slow in the phrase drive slow is called a flat adverb. Read more.)

First Runner-Up

"Proofreader's Dream" by James Knaus http://www.gwallc.com/

As I pored over texts ‘til midnight,
Proofreading submissions in dim light,
My mind must have shut down
When I examined a noun
And dreamt I was out on the town.
So strange were my glimpses of verbs,
Shadowy creatures lurking near curbs.
The nouns and the verbs in the ‘burbs
Had aromas reminiscent of herbs!
What a wild sensation to witness a comma,
So anthropomorphic in nocturnal drama,
Growing large as a Peruvian llama
But sounding like President Obama!
Such unusual sights were pure delights,
A respite from tedious plights.
Assiduously laboring on all things verbal
I had felt like a stressed out gerbil!
Now with enthusiasm I can edit.
People will say they’ve read it.
Not a single mistake can let it
Detract from my linguistic credit.

Second Runner-Up

"Semicolon" By Jan Haag janishaag.com

You can get through your whole life
without one, I tell my students.
Really. You can. Periods and commas
will do you fine, if you use them
correctly, if you resist the urge
to polka dot a page or sprinkle
them through a field of letters
like so many chocolate chips.

If a period puts a button
on the end of a sentence,
halts a declaration, and
a comma serves as a mere pause,
when you combine them—
that simple dot over a curvy
wink—you arrive at the spot
dividing two complete thoughts.

It creates parallels;
it speaks of relationship—
your road running next to mine,
each of us equals,
holding our own weight
in this lovely dance
of a sentence together.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

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