Blog Overview:

Speech is a powerful tool that can be used to persuade, defend, communicate, manipulate, and more. Either the words being spoken, the tone and enthusiasm that they're spoken with, or both can be used to intrigue listeners. Politicians often use strategies to gain support of those who won't necessarily agree with the actual words being spoken. Poets, on the other hand, may convince readers without spoken word and simply through the elegance of their writing. Slam poetry, however, is arguably the most influential form of speech. When talented speakers convey powerful language, they seem to create the most impact. This blog will explore the influences of speeches in shaping history; specifically, the significance of poetry in bringing about change.

Questions being discussed in this blog...
What characteristics do persuasive speakers have? How has speech influence the course of history? How do politicians use speech to convey ideas and gain support? How has poetry been used to bring about change? Is speech a more powerful weapon than those that kill?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Final Website Outline

This week I continued to make finalizations on the content of the website. I have not yet begun to make the website, but I have a solid plan for the set up. I will be meeting with Silas in about a week and a half, however next week I'll be beginning on my own. I have family members who will help me with the first steps and I have some background knowledge myself as well. I've drafted out in detail the actual content of the website and will look to Silas to help make it all go as planned. Additionally, I've been in touch with Rick via email just to check in and run ideas past him. He's always willing to read through an writing that I do for the website. It's been helpful, because I'm not great at editing my own work! During the coming week I'll be doing slightly less work and enjoying the vacation, but starting next Sunday, I'll be right back at it!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Meeting Rick!

This week I continued with my project and made decent progress. I met with a man who's offered to mentor me and advise me throughout this project. He gave me some helpful suggestions and with his help I finished the "rules and information" page that I'll be putting on the website. I'm now just about done with all the information that will be on the site. In addition to Rick, I had a few brief talks with the man who's helping me set up the website. He seems confident that it won't be a huge project and he's definitely calmed my nerves a little around the technological aspect of the contest. Plus, I have family members who've offered to give me additional help in this area. Next week, over winter break, I'll be setting up the site. I will also begin to reach out to people who I feel will be helpful in spreading the word.  On January 1st the contest will be launched!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

First Steps

This week I've taken some of the first steps on my 20% time project. My proposal outlines the first few steps. Last week I contacted Rick, a Vermonter and wonderful poet, who agreed to mentor me and give me advice for the poetry contest. We've set up a meeting to further discuss my plan. This will take place next week. In addition, I worked on writing an outline of the website that I'll be setting up. I will be bringing this outline to Silas, who will be helping me in getting the website up and running smoothly. The outline is a rough draft, but I'm currently working on going into greater detail. I've written the prompt for the poetry contest and I'd like to have Rick edit it next week. Overall, my project is coming along as planned. I will have the website up by the end of the month and I plan to contact further resources within the next few weeks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

20% Time Project

Women’s Education- Poetry Contest

  1. Project Information
  1. Title- Poetry, Politics, and Perspective
  2. Summary- My project is a poetry contest for people of all different ages, nationalities, religions, etc. Each poet will be addressing a provided prompt on women’s education. 
  3. Time Frame- The entire project is due by the end of March. I will have the poetry competition completed by the end of February and up and running by the beginning of January.
  4. Prepared by- The contest much be planned out and set up by January 1st, the day that it will be launched.
  5. Project Contacts- 
  • Rick Bessette- Vermont Poet
     Role: Mentor, tips and advice, spread poetry contest
  • Timothy Steele-  Vermont Advocate
     Role: advice and tips, spread poetry contest
     Contact: Facebook
  • Jay Wright-  Vermont Poet
     Role: advice and tips, spread poetry contest
     Contact: 802-222-5286
  • Malala- Equal Rights Advocate
     Role: endorsing final project
     Contact: working on this
  • Governor Peter Shumlin, Patrick Leahy, Chris Recchia etc.
      Role: spreading poetry contest
      Contact: Vermont Department of Public Service- 802-828-2811
                    Exectuive Office- 802 828-3333
                    Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Karen Richards- Executive director of Vermont Human Rights Commision
      Role: spreading poetry contest, advice and tips
      Contact: 802-828-2482
                    14-16 Baldwin Street, Montpelier, VT 05633-6301
  • Silas
     Role: website creation help
     Contact: Alpine Shop 

  1.   Project Summary
  1.       I’m doing this project to follow my passion of poetry and use it to make a difference. By addressing the issue of women’s education through poetry, I can combine two of my interests. I will be creating a poetry competition via a website that I make explaining my ideas. The contest will be open to people of any age throughout the world. There will be two separate competitions. One will be for kids 18 and under. The other will be for adults over the age of 18. I’m not limiting it to the U.S. My goal is to get as many submissions as possible. To do this, I will come up with some “prize” to incentivize participation. The competition will be spread via social media and physical posters. I hope to get help from Rick Bessette, a Vermont poet, as well as other contacts. I will attempt to reach out to Malala after I get the competition together.  My final goal is to gather these poems and put them together digitally. Then I will spread this and get the word out about women’s education. In terms of a time frame, I would like to get the competition up and running by January 1st. I’ll have all submissions be due by the end of February. 

  1. Background
      The purpose of this project is to spread the word about the global issue of women’s education, while encouraging creative and peaceful advocating with the use poetry. The poetry contest will serve as a way to get the word out about gender inequality as well as better understand the perspectives of various people about the issue.

  1. Objectives
  • To create a poetry contest that is open to different age groups of people all around the world.
  • To compile the poetry received from this contest and create some kind of a publication in order to spread the word.
  • To contact Malala and other prominent figures around women’s education and get their advice and/or endorsement.

  1. Project Methology
  1. How will objectives be achieved?
       In order to create this poetry contest, I will start by making a website promoting it and giving background information about the project. I will make it so that there are different age groups, each with a prize for the winner. My family’s business will provide part of the first place prize which will most likely be a nice jacket, hat, or GoPro. I will also be reaching out to businesses in order to gather gift certificates as additional prizes. In order to spread the word about the contest, I will use my own social media accounts and ask others to do the same. I plan to reach out to other kids, teachers, and politicians to help with this. Mark will help me reach out to classes in other countries in order to open the contest up to students overseas. Technology will be the main way of spreading the contest, however I will also put up physical flyers. Upon receiving poem submissions, I will go through them myself and choose winners. Each poem will be submitted via the website that I create. A form will be filled out with each submission indicating the age, state, sex, contact infomation, etc. of the poet. I will then take the top 10-20 from each age group and create the final compilation. I hope to have Malala endorse and spread word about the final product. 

b. Detailed Schedule
        My first task for my project is to write up a detailed flyer for the poetry competition. I’d like to have this done by December 1st. It will relay the rules, deadlines, and additional details regarding the contest. Next, I’ll create the website. This will be up and running by January 1st, the same day that the poetry contest will begin. By the date, I will have contacted businesses and come up with a set plan for prizes. The specific date by which I intend to have all awards obtained is December 25. It will run through the end of February. During this time, I’ll be spreading the word about the contest and reaching out to contacts. March will be the month that I put together the poems and decide on the winners. Winners will be announced March 20th and on this same day I will launch the digital compilation. My project, a slideshow and a speech, will be ready to present for the first week of April. I also plan to present the final product and read the winning poems.

c. Deliverables 
        I don’t need specific materials for this. However, I will need to create a drop box on my website for poetry submissions. The poems will come straight to me. I intend to review them all myself, however if I am under a time crunch due to an unexpectedly large amount of submissions, I will enlist the help of the Literati Club at VCS.

  1. Project Risk Management
  1. Risks
       There are some risks associated with this project. For one, contacting Malala will be a big feat. It’s likely that I won’t be able to get in touch with her. Other contacts such as the Vermont politicians could also be risky.  In addition, the website itself needs to be set up well to ensure that there are no glitches. You never know with technology. One other big risk is the chance that I will either get a very small amount of submissions or an overwhelmingly large amount. 

  1. Risk Management
        In order to manage the risks around the contacts such as Malala, I will have numerous back up contacts. The more people I enlist help from, the more likely it will be to get responses. Also, I’m certain that I can get help from Rick Bessette, so it’s guaranteed that I’ll get mentoring from him. In order to ensure that the website is effective, I will get help from a man who works at my family’s business. He is the technology expert in the company and he will be willing to help me. Having him as a resource minimizes the technological risks of this project. In the case, that I receive fewer poems than expected, I will need to be able to adjust. I will use all the poems to create the final product and make the most out of what I have. If I receive a larger submission total than expected, I will enlist help to read through them and decide upon winners.

  1. Conclusion
  1. Potential Value/ Feasibility                                                                                                                                                                                 This project could be very effective in getting the word out about the lack of women’s education around the world. It could also encourage creative outlets among people of all ages. By combining poetry with a current global issue, children and adults will have the opportunity to speak freely and powerfully about their own opinion of the problem. The more perspectives that I get from the contest, the stronger the end product will be. Overall, this project could have a really amazing outcome. It also has the potential to not go as planned, though. Because of this, I must be able to adapt to unexpected occurrences and fix any issues that arise. I’m fully prepared to do this. This project is very dense and a big risk, but I will put all efforts into making it run smoothly. I will reach out to as many people as possible to help, because this will ensure it has the most potential. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


  In the United States it's common to hear about feminism and campaigns for gender equality. Unequal pay has been an issue in the U.S. for many years. Many women and men are now rising up and speaking out against this problem. So in America, discrimination based on one's sex still exists, but not nearly as prominently as it does in other nations.  Malala, a 17 year old Pakistani girl and women's rights advocate, changed what we knew about inequality. By advocating through writing and speeches, Malala made citizens of the U.S. aware of the many girls in the Middle East who don't have the opportunity to be educated. Malala is now a figure known world wide as a girl who stood up for her right to be educated. The power this girl has is in her speeches and publications. If she had chosen to stand down after being shot by the Taliban, the world may have never known her story. Speech is very powerful. It's so powerful that it almost got Malala killed. Now that she has spoken out, the issue of women's education is being fully addressed. Sometimes the most important part of creating change, is making the cause known through written or spoken word.

Check out this link....
Malala's UN Speech

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Global Perspectives on the Power of Speech

After viewing other country's google search results on the power of speech and poetry, it became evident that not all countries value the arts equally. In certain countries such as China and North Korea I was able to find very little information; whereas in countries like Israel, Pakistan, and Denmark, I was able to find much more about the power of speech in politics as well as information on poets/activists. The search results for the topic in different countries seems to tell a lot about each. In Afghanistan it's uncommon to find protest poetry, however cultural and religious poetry is greatly valued. In Mexico and other central american countries, there was abundant information on this topic. The influence of speech seemed to be highly recognized as well as the power of various art forms in advocating change. I came to the conclusion that, in general, countries with higher rates of nationalism within their populations, have a greater value of the arts in relation to politics. Influential speeches, poems, and songs seem to mean more in these areas. I think that in countries with more freedom, the emotions that speeches and poetry can bring to politics is embraced. Whereas in countries with stricter rules, their shot down. Also, countries with more pride in their culture seemed to have more poetry involving history and society.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Politician Strategies

What characteristics do persuasive speakers have?

Historically, politics has revolved immensely around persuasive speeches.  Some of the most influential political leaders have also been some of the best speakers. This is far from a coincidence. Those with the power to influence others solely through their spoken words, are often idolized. In politics, up and coming leaders gain support by convincing others of their solutions to specific issues. You'd think that the most important aspect of these persuasive speeches would be logicality, however as proven throughout history, speeches incorporating pathos create a more dramatic response than those using logos. Arguably, Hitler's speeches contained no logicality and created one of the biggest uprisings in history.