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Do you know that today is the first day of the rest of your life? Well, it is. And every day that you get out of bed, you can truthfully say, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life."

Think about it -- it'll come to you.

But today also starts the countdown for submitting your entry (or entries) for "The Roy Chesney Poetry Contest." Oh, you didn't know about it? Well, in that case, let me tell you what's involved.

The 2020 topic is "Understanding the Times." That's right. Using your imagination, write a poem about your understanding of what's going on or what's happening.

I am asking all members of the Siloam Springs Writers Guild to submit entries. Also, everyone living in Siloam Springs and within a 10-mile radius of the town is invited to enter this contest.

You may submit up to three poems. There is no fee or donation for the first one you submit; but we ask for a donation of $3 for each of the next two entries -- for a maximum donation of $6 for three poetic entries.

And you, the author, get to choose your choice of poetic styles. You need to write a minimum of 14 lines, and a maximum of 40 lines. You may submit your poetry anytime in August. Yes, please submit your poems beginning Aug. 1, but not a minute later than midnight of Aug. 31, 2020.

PLEASE NOTE: all entries must be submitted by email. ALSO NOTE: go to the Siloam Springs Writers Guild web page at to read the contest entry rules.

In order not to miss the deadline, just remember: The Earlier -- The Better.

Is there anything else to consider? Oh, yes -- I almost forgot.

The award for First Place is $500. That's right: 500 smakaroos! Second Place winner will receive $200. Third Place winner will receive $100. But wait, there's one more. There is an award of $200 for a First Time Entrant Winner. That means if you've never entered a Siloam Springs Writers Guild annual contest, don't be afraid. You just might win this special prize.

Email all entries to [email protected], and write RC Poetry Contest 2020 in the SUBJECT line.

Years ago, when I heard the word "poem" I always thought of something that rhymed. But rhyming does not necessarily define poetry for there are approximately 50 types or styles of poetry. (For a brief overview of poetic styles, type in poetic styles of writing in Google.) Poetry is categorized by various factors, such as: the words in a poem; whether it rhymes or not; number of lines in the poem; poetic topic; etc. Eleven of the 50 types of poetry are: Acrostic, Alliteration, Ballad, Epic, Limerick, Narrative, Ode, Quatrain, Haiku, Free verse, and Sonnets. (You can look these words up on the internet.)

My favorite form is Quatrain -- 4 lines per stanza. The quatrain format is used quite often in church hymnals. For example, look at the first verse of this song:

Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word;

Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.

Tell me how angels in chorus, sang as they welcomed His birth,

"Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth."

See how easy it is to write poetry? You can do it!

Awards will be announced at an award ceremony Oct. 12, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. at the October meeting of the Siloam Springs Writers Guild.

So, what are you waiting for? Choose your favorite style of poetry, and start writing about "Understanding the Times." As I mentioned, go to to read the contest rules. (Rules are always necessary for some reason or other.)

And while you're at it, consider visiting the Siloam Springs Writers Guild meetings. They meet the second Monday evening of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Siloam Springs First Baptist Church at 2000 Dawn Hill Road. You'll receive a hearty welcome, and they normally have goodies to munch on.

And if you have a book, booklet, or pamphlet that you might like to have published, they can help you with that quite easily. And you will always find assistance in writing.

Have a pleasant week, and we look forward to seeing your poem in the 2020 Roy Chesney Poetry Contest.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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