Poem Tryouts: Image Potluck

8:31 a.m.

listening to Three Dog Night singing Pieces of April

chariot VBGbQBU

Hello, all. I see we in the U.S. seem to be under a heatwave. I can hardly complain, given the mild summer up ’til now. However, it can feel free to go away. Today we have our monthly image prompt — I hear the cheers. I know you love the images. An image can be freeing or constraining, depending on how you approach it.

Now, I had promised a pot luck day, today, so you may happily browse the Net for a painting, or a photograph that yells ‘Helloooo!” as you go by. Or, you can look at the photograph I will post for those with no Net time this week and see what it sparks.

Things to remember when using an image as inspiration: The poem does not have to bear any apparent relationship whatsoever to the image that inspires it. In fact, people don’t even have to know your inspiration is an image. Having said that, it’s fun to see from where people are drawing their poems, so consider posting your image.

You don’t have to write about the whole thing. One aspect of the whole might fascinate you. Write about it.

When you study your image, start at the bottom left corner and move to the upper right. It’s the way our brain assimilates images.

If you give the piece a close study, I have found that listing everything I see helps me be consciously aware of all the image is composed of, to include placement and light.

The photograph I am posting comes from my California brother, just yesterday. I felt an immediate emotional connection, which is one reason it’s going up. The subject is a Thracian chariot that has been dug up in Bulgaria. I find it fascinating. Click on it to receive a full-screen image.

I shall see you Thursday for links and Tuesday for our first September prompt [September!].

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 26/08/2014 in exercises, poems, poetry


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Poetics Serendipity

7:52 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Simon Says by the 1910 Fruitgum Company

Hullo, all. Yep, I made it here. WordPress is offering us the choice of the old or the new, so I’ll keep showing up. Let me see what I have in the bag and get some of my first cup of coffee down. I slept in a bit.

1] Over at Write to Done, Jessica Baverstock gives us ‘How to Complete Every Writing Project You Start: Become a Completion Addict‘. She makes the point that we’re addicted to the intoxicating high of new ideas. As I look through my notebook at how many things I have started but forgotten when I moved to another something, she’s right. There is an excitement to starting a new poem, a something that gives new energy to us.

Baverstock presents short, simple steps to carrying out a little brain retraining so we’ll feel more in control of your goals and projects, instead of frantically jumping from one idea to another. You will also recognize and face your fears, a great way to keep them in check.

2] I enjoy WordPress articles [i.e. from WordPress, not articles that appear on WP] and have a couple saved for you. The first is Spring-Clean Your Blog in Five Easy Steps. [Hey, it's almost spring in the lower portion of the globe] I never quite get around to cleaning out my blog, but if I have steps to follow, I am more likely to do at least a couple of things. Ben Huberman [one of my favourite WordPress writers] has five things you can do in the next ten minutes to see immediate results. Ten minutes, people. Let’s get out those brooms and dusters.

3] The second article from WP is Four Features to Publish Your Poems, by Cheri Lucas Rowlands. The features look interesting, but do mean we have to roll up our sleeves and try writing with the text editor [see tab upper right when you have a new post]. I know some of you already use it, but most of us… The features offered allow for some ease in getting a poem to look like a poem on our blogs, without turning ourselves inside out.

Now, off you go to clean, create and complete. I shall see you Tuesday for a potluck image prompt;and Thursday for links, more links.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 21/08/2014 in links, poetry


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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.


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.


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.



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.



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


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


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