Local girls publish poems

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Rich Antcliff of Smithfield encouraged his granddaughters to write some poetry when the coronavirus pandemic brought a new normal to everyone’s doorstep, on the premise that nurturing creativity often eases the anxiety of boredom and uncertainty.

Emily Greene, 14, and Kate Greene, 8, of Carrollton, took the opportunity to heart in expressing their thoughts, feelings and dreams, as in “Seasons,” a six-stanza poem by Kate which concludes with a tasteful, concise rhyme:

“The seasons come with a leap of grace

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And end the day, without a trace”

“The best way I write poems is I just like to look out the window and see what really inspires me and what I really think is interesting,” said Kate. Her work on another poem, “Cheddar Cheese,” netted her a $25 prize from the Poetry Society of Virginia. Getting the prize and money “made me feel really excited,” she said.

“Cheddar Cheese” is about exactly what one might think: the virtues of one of everyone’s favorite foods.

“Honestly, we’ve been surprised at the response of the magazines that so many would be interested in their poems,” said Antcliff. “This was the beginning of the lockdown, and I was looking for something fun and uplifting for the girls to do. So we encouraged them to write some poetry. And then in order to give them some feedback, some positive feedback, I thought, ‘let’s just submit some of these things to some of these magazines and just see what kind of feedback they get.’”

“I went online and found a site and listed all the different magazines and contests and things where you could submit your poems and they then produced some poems and I submitted them back in May,” he continued. “And in June and July we started getting responses back.”

The poems have been published in “Skipping Stones” literary magazine, among other print and online publications. So far, feedback has been mostly positive. But even the negative feedback has been constructive. “I think we’re up to like eight publications that have said they’re going to publish,” Antcliff said.

Emily says she took a different approach in composing “Secrets.” It ends with a weighty last line:

“Destined for greatness, they thought, but condemned to crushing isolation”

“Most of the time I normally write poems that rhyme,” Emily said. “So that was the first poem I’ve ever written that has not rhymed. I kind of wanted to expand on looking outside my window and seeing what I saw and just thinking about ‘What does life look like from someone else’s perspective?’”

Although she hasn’t thought about exactly what she’d like to do for a career, “poetry and writing is definitely something that I will look into,” Emily said.

“I’m currently writing a book right now,” she continued. The book is a murder mystery in the style of Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie “because I love interesting plot twists,” said Emily. “I’m hoping if I can stick with that, I can also get that published.”