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Liberty poets to be published in anthology

The next edition of “Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans” will feature work by 75 Liberty Middle School freshmen.

Freshmen composition students in Clay Combs and Kristi Combs’ classes wrote throughout ‘Poetry Week.’ Kristi Combs selected poems that displayed creativity and impressive ability. “We fine tuned them and began the submission process,” Clay Combs said.

The annual poetry anthology will be available in hardback and paperback in April 2012.

Daily, Clay Combs is impressed with creativity, style and content of the Liberty teenagers’ writing. “Their perspective on the world is unique. I love to see it mature and develop with their writing style over the school year,” he said.

Their poems had no theme or length restrictions. “The students had complete creative freedom,” he said.

Herself a writer, Kristi Combs always has enjoyed telling stories. “In eighth grade, my English teacher, Gwen Cole at Monrovia Middle School, knew she could use that passion as a catalyst to improve my reading and writing.”

Cole asked Kristi to enter an essay contest. “Surprisingly, I was first runner-up and even received a cash prize,” she said. Her achievement built confidence and showed her writing potential.

“I want that same thing for my students,” she said. “Many of my students having their work published do not consider themselves writers or even, as they would say, ‘Good at English.’ Hopefully, this will give them some confidence in not just writing but in themselves in general.”

Clay Combs wants to give his students “the opportunity to succeed in a multitude of ways. An ‘A’ on a test is great but to actually hold a nationally distributed book and say, ‘I’m in that’ — that’s pretty unique.”

Kristi Combs anticipates seeing her students’ faces light up when they are officially published authors. “The real reward was the reaction of students who never thought in a million years they would be featured in a book of poetry. Their expressions were priceless,” he said.

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