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Poem Tryouts: Comic Relief

7:48 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to I Will Wait by Mumford & Sons

Hello, all. I hope you are ready for some time with the comic strips, but it’s not their content we are looking at, although you may read as many as makes you happy. We are looking at how their authors structure them. Comic strips are structured like poems. Each window is a stanza; they have a beginning a middle and an end; somewhere between the beginning and the end there is a turn towards the end.  More important, is that the good ones convey some truth about the world, or people, or life, in a very few words and images.

What about epic poems, you ask. Graphic novels.

What I want us to try, is to find a comic we want to use as a starting point, a kick off. You do not need to pay any attention to the content except as a general idea, but you may have a specific thought sparked by what you read. Then, structure your poem much like the comic. If there are other things you notice, repetition, sensory details, tone, anything, incorporate those.

Compose your poem. If you use something from a physical newspaper, tell us the strip’s name and a little about the one you chose; if you find your source on the computer, give us a link to the comic so we can see what started your poem.

You say you are caught by a one window cartoon. That’s fine. You will deal with a stanza-less poem. Look to see how the author structures the message and use those techniques.

For those reading this and asking where on earth they can find a comic strip, I am giving you the site my sister-in-law uses.

I shall probably, possibly, see you Thursday for a couple of links and Tuesday for an image prompt. I know the calendar says pot luck. We’ll make the image the pot luck part.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on 19/08/2014 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

10:30 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Only the Young by Journey

Hello, everyone. How are you? I am back on Thursday watch early because I seem to have been blessed (?) with WordPress’ new posts’ new appearance. It’s a little unnerving, it’s so clean and tidy. I figured I’d better try it out before Tuesday. If this appears before I’m done, you’ll know I hit the wrong button. A lot of hunting for stuff is involved. Not everything is intuitive.

Now, what have I collected during the summer, for you?

1] Haiku lovers, [Well, hell, there appears to be no see-able cursor. I hope that's me and not them] there is The Haiku Foundation for all things English Language Haiku. Head over to look around and read their complete mission statement, part of which says: THF [instead] is a series of projects organized not for poets per se, but for haiku itself. The realization of these projects will in due course help all haiku poets. Haiku has been very good to all the poets who have been fortunate to have found it. The Haiku Foundation is where poets go when they want to give back.

They have an incredible setup. [cursor back -- must be me -- not liking the new WordPress, at all]

2] The second link is to a thoughtful, fascinating even, essay by Jeffrey Levine, on reading submissions and reading fees. Ignore the dates, but read what he has to say. Here’s an excerpt: So, I might better say, of course we charge a reading fee each time a manuscript is submitted to us for our consideration. Even apart from the question of anonymity, we read every manuscript for every submission period as if it’s the first time the manuscript has ever been sent. It gets a fresh reading every time. We might assume that poets work on their manuscripts: revising poems, substituting poems, revising the order of the poems, etc. So even the “same” manuscript can be new in important ways. But even if no new work has been done on the manuscript, no changes made, even if it were exactly the same, it’s the time and attention given over to reading manuscripts (that each submission deserves) that we charge for.  And what we charge is the equivalent of half a tank of gas. He has a couple of links for us, too.

3] Wait until you have twenty minutes and listen to Professor Anne Curzan, a historian of the English language. She loves words and where they come from, how and when new words become real, and has an interesting perspective on language changing. Listen to What Makes a Word Real? I found it enlightening and highly amusing.

My thanks to Misky who told me to try saving a draft of this post, going away, coming back and re-opening… the old format is back. BUT, I have seen the other and I really did not like it. Ack.

See you Tuesday for the prompt on poems from comic strips.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
20 Comments

Posted by on 14/08/2014 in links, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Limes

8:14 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Simple Blackness by Kip Mazuy

English: Limes at a market.

Limes at a market. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello, all. I hope you are well, or at least in better mental shape than I. This morning, at six-thirty, I was putting toothpaste on my brush, by the light of the night light, when I noticed, dimly, a white rectangle propped against my water glass. My brain followed this process: White rectangle = envelope, envelope = card, card = … Oh, it’s our anniversary! Yep! I forgot. Not only that, but I hadn’t even started remembering, say a couple of days, or weeks, ago.

You all I remembered. Having a prompt ready I remembered. This is a challenging prompt and I will continue to toss in this challenge until you behave and try it! It’s a fascinating exercise. If it helps, I set it every year for my tenth graders and they came up with such creative poems and work arounds. So, if a tenth grader can do it… (I know, this from a woman who can’t remember her 42nd anniversary)

The prompt itself is simple: Write a poem of four quatrains that contains no adjectives, no adverbs, no similes, and the word ‘lime. This does occasion possible swearing and hair pulling, maybe even drink. That’s okay. Leeway? How about three quatrains is okay and they can be short lines? And, if you are going to rebel, no quatrains, but a single stanza (which you can then divide up… ). The other stuff, uh uh, although I relax somewhat over what comprises an adverb.

I’m going to try one based loosely on my memory of a student’s. I wish I had a copy of the original. It was better:

At the Store

She walked
down one aisle;
he walked
up another.

They crossed
each other;
eyes making contact,
they smiled.

Baskets filled
they came together
at the end,
meeting over limes.

That night,
at her place,
they got to know each other
over Margaritas.

Go to it. I shall maybe start gearing up for Thursdays and Fridays, so don’t be surprised if you see me. Otherwise, next Tuesday, same time, same place, for a prompt based on a comic strip. Start collecting possibilities.

Happy writing, all.

 

 
35 Comments

Posted by on 12/08/2014 in exercises, poetry, Summer

 

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d’Verse Limbo Challenge

Hello. No, Tuesday isn’t early. I can”t resist dVerse’s prompt. The photograph is from my sister-in-law who found this bit of enchantment in St. Maartin.

flamingo rex

Kinfolk or, The Joys of Juxtapositions

Pink plastic flamingos
fill the cavernous mouth
the empty eye sockets,
ride the undulating spine
and feather the trunk-like
legs of the iron T-Rex.

 

 
54 Comments

Posted by on 07/08/2014 in poems, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Baby, It’s Cold Outside. No, Really.

11:24 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to my husband coughing — damn allergies (I know. I promised music once back, but I’m fighting with my desktop.)

Hello, everyone. I hope all is well. Me? Rats, rats, rats, rats, rats. Whew! That felt good. My desktop is not speaking to me as far as my blog goes, so I am peering at the screen of my tiny travel laptop. Thanks, Barbara and Misky for your suggestions. When I post this, I’ll log out and work from scratch. Maybe by next Tuesday…

Before anything, if you have not visited last week’s post to read the fruit of that exercise, go! There is some wonderful stuff as a result. Just scroll through looking for the links and ignoring conversations. Then, if you haven’t written your own blazon and are thinking ‘Darn!’ go ahead. Write one. Post it.

Today is a lovely easy prompt. No particular exercising or stretching, unless, of course, you’d like to, hmmm? I want winter, your winter; not necessarily the winter you have [when it happens], but the thing that for you evokes winter. What do you dream of when you think winter? It might be the silence after a snow, fifteen blankets on the bed, cooking stews and soups, or, palm trees — I lived in the tropics for twenty years. We went to London for Christmas break so we could have miserable, cold, wet weather.

If you want, find an image, a photograph or a painting, and use that as your inspiration, giving us the image to see and feel. Sensory detail, people, sensory detail. Have fun making your day, and ours, wintry.

I shall see you next Tuesday for one of my favourite exercises — heh heh heh.

Happy writing, all

 
32 Comments

Posted by on 05/08/2014 in exercises, poetry, Summer

 

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Poem Tryouts: Blazon It!

7:28 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to the neighbour’s lawn mower

Hello everyone. I can’t believe August starts in a couple of days. The downside of summer is upon us. Today, I want us to explore Blazons. It’s an old form (13th c.), originally used to detail the various parts of a woman’s body; a sort of catalogue of her physical attributes. The term is taken from the official, written description of the coat of arms, called the ‘blazon of arms,’ a system to denote colours, placement, and styling by using an economy of words.

What does this mean for us? Imagery like we’ve never done imagery! Let me show you a blazon by Andre Breton:

Free Union

My wife whose hair is a brush fire
Whose thoughts are summer lightning
Whose waist is an hourglass
Whose waist is the waist of an otter caught in the teeth of a tiger
Whose mouth is a bright cockade with the fragrance of a star of the first magnitude
Whose teeth leave prints like the tracks of white mice over snow
Whose tongue is made out of amber and polished glass
Whose tongue is a stabbed wafer
The tongue of a doll with eyes that open and shut
Whose tongue is an incredible stone
My wife whose eyelashes are strokes in the handwriting of a child
Whose eyebrows are nests of swallows
My wife whose temples are the slate of greenhouse roofs
With steam on the windows
My wife whose shoulders are champagne
Are fountains that curl from the heads of dolphins over the ice
My wife whose wrists are matches
Whose fingers are raffles holding the ace of hearts
Whose fingers are fresh cut hay

The speaker has only reached her fingers! For the rest, if you are curious, go here. The blazon needn’t be positive and can be tongue in cheek. Note Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, where he writes a short blazon listing attributes back handedly [such a rebel, that man].

I see no reason a blazon cannot be written about objects, pets, animals that aren’t pets, pretty much anything that has attributes. The attributes don’t necessarily have to be physical, though those are probably easier to work with. So. Think of someone, or something, List the qualities/aspects of your chosen subject.

To help create images of the more surrealistic kind (should you wish to emulate Breton), consider how each aspect you list affects you sensorily — taste, touch, smell, sight, sound. Let your emotions go.

I look forward to your poems. Blazons fascinate me (I have no idea why). I shall see you again, next Tuesday, for a wintery day.

Happy writing, all.

 
44 Comments

Posted by on 29/07/2014 in exercises, poetry, Summer

 

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Poem Tryouts: Content = Form

8:18 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to a vociferous mourning dove

Hello, all. Surviving? I hope you enjoyed reading the poems posted this past week. I loved reading both the familiar and the new. We might have to have another reading day sometime.

One item of interest, which some of you will have seen on my Facebook wall: Many of you know Sasha Palmer, aka The Happy Amateur. Sasha has just written and submitted to a competition, a short story ‘Born’. The competition is based on fan votes and Sasha is in 1st place. Consider checking the story out and if you enjoy it, rate it.

First go to: booktrack.com [you do not have to sign up, or log in]
Then enter: hughhoweyfanfic in the search box

Sasha’s story is in the top line, Ist, ‘Born’. She also created the sound track. Enjoy!

Now, let me give you something to tussle with and distract you from any summer woes. Today, I want you to try a form you have never written in. I know, but it’s good for you. It’s good for your poetry, too. At its best, form enhances content.

Last week, I gave you two places to look: The Academy of American Poets and Robert Lee Brewer’s list at Writer’s Digest. You may have your own site — in which case, do let us have the link.

Where to start? Pick your topic and then read over some of the forms you haven’t tried to find one whose technique suits your theme. Or, find the form you have been meaning to conquer and figure out a topic that will work well with it. Then, tussle. That’s the fun part.

See you next Tuesday when we shall write a blazon, a form that fascinates me, thus appears each summer. It’s a form I think we can play with beyond its original intention.

I look forward to seeing the forms you choose.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
26 Comments

Posted by on 22/07/2014 in exercises, poetry, Summer

 

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