The Gaelic Quatrain -- Students, Sharpen Your Pencils


The Irish Cultural Society announces its annual writing contest for students in the 9th through 12th grades in the Nassau County high schools.  The materials describing the contest, named the Martin J. Kelly Writing Contest, have been mailed to the English Departments of the Nassau schools, public and private, and they have been posted on the Society’s web site. 

The writing project for the 2017 contest is a poem called the Gaelic quatrain.  The student poets are asked to compose a four line verse using a complex, ancient Gaelic structure.  The first line of the verse is three syllables; the following three lines are seven syllables each.  The rhyme structure tasks the poets to rhyme lines one, two and four, and to cross rhyme the third line rhyme with the third syllable of the fourth line.  The challenge of this quatrain tests the students’ creativity and facility with language.  An example:

A Gaelic Quatrain for Steven McDonald


It confirmed your saintliness

                                   To people needing heroes.

                       The world owes you endlessness.

The Society’s web site also contains “Helpful Hints,” suggestions to the contestants about how to approach the writing task.  Entries are due by March 17, 2017.

The Society has been sponsoring a writing contest for over thirty-two years.  This year the Society will award $50 prizes to the best fifty verses.  Multiply verses are invited.  Every entrant will receive a Certificate of Merit mailed to the student’s sponsoring teacher.  The library of the schools which have an entry into the contest will receive a book on an Irish subject in appreciation of the role libraries play in promoting literacy.

Any interested student can get copies of the materials for the contest in the English Department of the student’s school and on the web site,

Views: 931

Tags: Contest, Literature, Poetry, Writing

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Comment by That's Just How It Was on January 24, 2017 at 6:37am

JOhn .. Have sent you a message to ask you to re-send the material ... Mary 


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