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Skate Disaster boys skating
I glided up the side of the bowl to show Tim how well I could do a hard flip

'I glided up the side of the bowl to show Tim how well I could do a hard flip'
Illustrator Alicia Betancourt, 12 for Skate Disaster by Alex Chan-Kai, 11. Published July/August 2001.

A note from Emma Wood

We have been working our way through the many excellent submissions we received for the short, short fiction contest and are planning to announce the results shortly—thank you to all who shared their work!

For this week, though, we are excited to announce our next contest: concrete poetry.

A concrete poem is simply a piece of art in which both the visual and written element are essential. That means, if you just see the image, without the words, you lose something. That also means, if you just hear the poem, without seeing its layout on the page, you lose something, too. A concrete poem is one you need to see, not just hear!

'Swan and Shadow' by John Hollander (1969)

A concrete poem can be a poem that takes the shape of its subject

Many readers might understand a concrete poem to be a poem that takes the shape of its subject—a poem about a swan in the shape of a swan, for instance. You can see in this in the poem, "Swan and Shadow," by John Hollander.

'A Sonnet in Motion' by Paula Claire

A concrete poem can also be a piece of abstract visual art

Though I encourage you to experiment with this first kind of concrete poem, and to submit them to our contest, I also hope you will experiment with another type of concrete poem—one with a different relationship to space and shape. In the examples below, the words and letters do not take a recognizable shape. But the piece is visually interesting, and the relationship between the words, letters, and the layout creates a piece of art.

The deadline for this contest is August 15, 11:59pm. You can read the full details on the Contests section of our blog (from tomorrow), and read further details and submit as usual via Submittable, here.

Until next week

More great writing at stonesoup.com

Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at stonesoup.com!

Antara's 10 Fun Things To Do This Summer
Nina Vigil's book review of Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldregde
Abhi Sukhdial's book review of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Plus, if you missed Editor Emma's interview talking about what makes a great submission, you can also check that out at our blog.

Skate Disaster boy waking up
As I continued to stare out onto the empty street, I noticed something very strange

From Stone Soup
July/August 2001

Skate Disaster

By Alex Chan-Kai, 11
Illustrated by Alicia Betancourt, 12

I woke up as a small gap of light beamed into my eyes from a hole in the curtain. I opened my bedroom window to see what kind of a day it was. The sun was radiating on my face, but the only thing I could feel was the heat. There was not even the slightest breeze in the air; it gave me a strange feeling. My house is near the ocean, so I was accustomed to early morning breezes. But today the air was as still as a stagnant pond. I continued to look out my bedroom window, and I was pleased to see that there was not a cloud in the sky. I knew that it would be a perfect day for skateboarding. Even though the day was nice and sunny, something tugged at my mind, but I could not put my finger on it. I had an uneasy feeling that seemed to consume my thoughts.

As I continued to stare out onto the empty street, I noticed something very strange. Usually on a Saturday morning, all the dogs on the street are barking, wandering around, or even terrorizing a few cats. Today, not a bark could be heard, or a single dog could be seen. I could not imagine where all the dogs could be hiding. It was almost like something was going to happen, but I could not figure out what. Despite my uneasy feelings, I was determined to have a good day.

I jumped into my favorite pair of cargo pants, threw on my blue Tech Deck shirt, and slipped into a comfortable pair of black Emericas. I tossed the cat over my shoulder, and we both bounced down the stairs to get a bite to eat. As I was shoving a bacon-and-cheese breakfast sandwich into my mouth, I flipped on my favorite television show, “Junkyard Wars.” I was just getting settled into my chair when a news flash rudely interrupted my program. A reporter appeared and announced that several small earthquakes had rattled a town, just twenty-seven miles away. He said that these quakes measured 4.1 on the Richter scale.../more

Stone Soup's Advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.

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