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The Neopets Poetry Contest Guide

by anjie


Also by chivo

Far below the hustle and bustle of Neopia Central’s merry marketplace, it is said a series of winding tunnels entwine and entangle, sloping their way beneath the unsuspecting realm above. Some old wags will tell you that this mysterious realm is known as the catacombs, a place which radiates creativity and enjoyment. Here dwell Neopia’s artists and writers.

Now and then, should you find your way through the bewildering tunnels, you may come across a rather refined Poogle reciting poetry to an eager crowd of fans. He is known as Alstaf, rumoured to be Neopia’s greatest poet, judge of the poetry contest. Each verse he scrawls is a work of art, a perfect example of the poetry which those who enter his contest aspire to match.

The Neopian Poetry Contest is one of the site’s oldest features, and runs not only on the English version of the site, but holds competitions in other languages as well. Updated twice a week, usually on a Tuesday and Friday there are also special poetry editions published on special days that fall within the Neopian calendar. Celebrations such as Halloween, Krawk Day and all manner of important moments are often marked with a selection of themed poetry, five poems for each gallery edition.

It should also be noted that once every 100 poetry galleries, a rather special event happens. It’s the centenary poetry edition, where ten of the year's finest poems are chosen for display. Some claim that it’s impossible to be published in one of these special editions more than once, though this has never been confirmed nor denied by Alstaf or his associates.

So where to find inspiration for your attempt at Neopian poetry? Anywhere around the site, of course. All poetry in the gallery must be Neopets related and fall within the site’s rules and terms. Don’t think that this restricts your choice of topics; there is an entire world out there waiting to be written about! Browse the Neopedia for some of Neopia’s most famous characters and their stories. Why not wander into a store and select a random item to write about? The key to choosing your subject is originality. The poor poetry judge must get hundreds of poems about how pretty Fyora is each edition. Give the gallery something new; you might just find it increases your chances!

On the subject of originality, make sure everything you submit to the Poetry Contest is your own work. Altering a famous poem a little or entering something you didn’t write is against the rules and could land your account in trouble.

The next issue to contemplate, now you have your subject, is what type of poem to submit. The gallery publishes free verse, rhyming, couplets, haiku and beat forms of poetry, pretty much any style you can think of. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Below are a couple of examples of poetry forms which might help you make your choice.

1) Rhyming Couplets: This style of poetry is fairly simple. The last word of each line should rhyme; two lines equals one couplet. A good poem should be made up of several of these. Two, four, six or eight couplets per verse is always a good starting point. The example below is from the poem ‘Arnold, the Malicious Mynci’ by Chivo, published in poetry gallery 801.

“Some dimming lights, an empty stall

The chilling vendor's voice does call.

Bored and unimpressed you roam

Might as well pack up, go home.

Until a whisper, hoarse and sly

Tempts as you hurry by.”

2) The Limerick: These short poems are often humorous; the first, second and fifth line of a Limerick should rhyme with one another, and lines three and four must rhyme with one another. If you decide this is the kind of poem you wish to submit, it might be wise to submit a few, perhaps four limericks about Shenkuu, as an example. The Limerick below is by Anjie.

“There once was a Lupe who was blue,

So sad, he had nothing to do!

A Chia walked past,

He gave chase quite fast!

The end? I'll leave that to you!”

3) Haiku: This traditional form of Japanese poetry follows a certain rhythm based on syllables per line. Most Haiku poetry contains three lines, the first and third lines containing five syllables and the middle line containing seven. This type of poetry has been made rather famous in Neopia by the enigmatic Haiku Kougra of Mystery Island. Again, if this is the style of poem you would like to submit, it might be advisable to enter a series of them as one poem.

“Clouds lined in white silk,

Grace Faerieland's shining realm.

Glowing, the tower.”

4) Rhyming Poetry: This style is the most common seen in the poetry gallery, with good reason! It’s simple to follow and the beat within its lines makes it pleasant to read. Traditionally, every second line should rhyme and the poem should contain four lines per verse. Of course, you could add more; don’t be afraid to experiment with your writing! The following example is from the poem ‘Wings of Tangerine’ by Anjie, published in poetry gallery 941.

“Alabaster drifts the breeze,

The wisps of wind do guide.

She on wings of tangerine,

Upon the clouds, may glide.

Commanded by the whispered wind,

She lets it lead her high.

Clouds soon visions far below,

So endless seems the sky.”

5) Acrostic: The first letter of each line in an acrostic, when read downwards, forms a word. You could write a non-rhyming acrostic poem. It’s much trickier to rhyme one, as you’ll find yourself restricted by the forced first letter of each line. The example below is by Anjie. Can you work out the topic of the poem by reading the first letter of each line?

“Lunging, dashing, wild and free,

Under the searing sun.

Prey doth flee in morbid fear,

Eternal shall he run.”

Of course, there are countless other forms of poetry you could try out. Don’t be restricted by anything more than the site rules and your own imagination.

So what do you get out of entering the poetry contest? First is the most obvious reward, the enjoyment of seeing something you worked hard on published for all Neopia to read. You’ll also gather a shiny new trophy for your efforts, a brilliant gold number depicting a Chia rather passionately reciting poetry. In addition to this, you’ll win 1000 Neopoints and a random item. The item varies; it might be a codestone or petpet, or perhaps you’ll be lucky and win some kind of paint brush!

Once you’ve submitted your poem, it’s time to wait for a response. Most often you’ll receive one of two Neomails. The first is a rejection, often accompanied by an explanation of why your poem didn’t get in. The reasons range from there being too many good poems in the edition you submitted for, to spelling mistakes or lack of originality. It’s important to make sure each poem you submit has been spellchecked and the punctuation is correct. This makes the judge’s job a little easier and might hold some bearing as to whether your work is accepted.

The most important thing about entering the Neopets poetry contest is to have fun! It might be a competition but it’s also a chance to express yourself and your thoughts on Neopia in poetic form.

So what are you waiting for? Get rhyming!

Note from the Authors: All poetry examples used on this page are the work of either Chivo or Anjie; please don’t reproduce them without permission.

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