A poem isn't finished after it's written. Poetry is for sharing, so give your poems to your parents, teachers or friends to read - anyone you trust to tell the truth. Find out if they enjoy them and whether they have any suggestions. Once you are confident your poems are the best they can be, share them with more people in one or more of the following ways: Poetry Book A poetry book is a great way to showcase your talent. So instead of stuffing your poems in a desk drawer, put them in a binder or make your own book. Ask your friends for contributions if you don't have enough poems of your own. Jazz your poems up by handwriting and illustrating them. And remember to give your book a catchy title and a colourful cover to grab people's attention. You could distribute your poetry book at school or sell copies to raise money for charity. Performing A poem is more than just the words on a page. Some poems are meant to be read aloud. So why not treat your friends to a performance of your poems? Set them to music or make them come alive by varying the pace of your speech. For example, a limerick can be read fast, while a sad poem should be read slowly. Pause before something funny or important is about to be said to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Add movement for effect. Make eye contact with your listeners and you could wave your arms. Be an actor and your audience will never fall asleep. Publishing If you've had a positive response to one of your poems, you could try getting it published in a poetry book, a magazine or online. But before you start firing off letters to prospective publishers, do some research. Find out which publications are most suitable for your poem and who's in charge of publishing. Then type your poem on plain white paper and put your name, postal and e-mail addresses at the end. Write a cover letter to the publisher telling them why you think your poem is suitable for their publication - sell yourself! Then send your stuff (along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope) or e-mail it to the publisher. Here are a couple of magazines you can check out: Teen Ink ( www.teenink.com ) Kids on the Net (kotn.ntu.ac.uk/about/index.htm) Poetry Zone ( www.poetryzone.ndirect.co.uk/ ) Contests Entering a contest can be a great way to earn wider recognition for your work - and win a prize. Newspapers, magazines and bookstores run competitions all the time, so watch out for them. You can also do an internet search to find out about local and international contests. Read their guidelines carefully to increase your chances of winning. Here are a couple of organisations you can start with: The Hong Kong Arts Development Council ( www.hkadc.org.hk/events/hklf5/ index_eng.htm - 20k); The Poetry Library ( www.poetrylibrary.org.uk/competitions/ ) The Poetry Society ( www.poetrysociety.org.uk/youngnat/ynindex.htm ) Young Poets Canada ( www.youngpoets.ca/links/links.php ) Whether you choose to go as far as trying to get your poems published doesn't matter. The point is to enjoy what you write and to share it with others. Have fun!