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Poem Tryouts: Imagine This

7:58 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Harry Belafonte singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Hello, all. Snow’s a’ comin’. Start replenishing the just in case closet. Then settle in with a prompt, or two. This is our image day and I am going to pull a Magpie and see what happens with no guidance. I was working on what to say with each of these two images when I realised I wanted to see what you did with them on your own.

This first was found by my California brother. You’ll need to study it a bit.

one man's garbage

In case that one leaves you flummoxed poem-wise:

boy in jar with fireflies

Off you go. I shall be leaving for my Florida brother’s tomorrow (road trip!), so may not get to your poems until early next week. A lot depends on my tablet, and whether I am busy eating. Many of you may say the same about posting, so don’t worry about pulling in later than usual.

Remember: Wordgathering is dark Thursday and Friday. I shall see you again next Tuesday for a prompt, possibly to do with death. I have to dig out my notes (don’t worry, I’ll write it so you can be as distanced or as close as you wish).

Happy writing, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving, whether or not you celebrate it. I am more thankful to all of you than I can say.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on 25/11/2014 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poetry Freeforall: Take Your Time

10:35 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Walter Martin singing You Sing to Me – my new favourite singer. My son’s blog came out a little earlier this morning and he has two songs by Martin. I fell in love with his voice.

Hello, everyone. Yes, yes, I did sleep in. Yes, this is last week’s opening, but … I slept in. So, let’s go. NaNoWriMo-ers, come on. You are so close. Dig deeper.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie presents its usual bounty of poetry and prose prompts: fairytales, haiku, shadormas, and more. The prompt that caught my eye this week is the counterpoint to last week’s instruction manual for the dead (how much fun is that!). Head on over.

sunday whirl

At The Sunday Whirl,  Brenda gives us a fun set of words to play with. Go Wordle. If you join The Sunday Whirl‘s Facebook page, you can get the week’s list a couple of days early.

pink girl ink  Pink. Girl. Ink. asks us to look back at our childhood, for those moments of childhood magic. To read the rest of the prompt, visit.

At The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, Adele says, let’s just write a tribute about, or to, a personal hero or heroine (past or present). She has a list of suggestions, guidelines, and tips, all of which allow for many possibilities. Go on over.

Feeling a little grey? Your poetry not arriving? Then, you should be at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. I defy you to not enjoy writing a good limerick. One advantage to writing a limerick, or two, is they are short. You can post them in comments on the blog, or on Mad Kane’s Facebook page. Go over and check it out, to read and laugh, and maybe write.magpie

Magpie Tales has a photograph that is open to literal and symbolic interpretations. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Brian(!) talks to us about identity. Visit.FPR-200

The Found Poetry Review asks us to write a poem with Oxford Dictionary’s words of the year. Find out what it’s about.

Poets & Writers gives us three prompts every week. One for non-fiction, one for fiction, and one for poetry. My contention is that all the prompts work for poetry. They also, all work for prose. This week’s topics are Simple Twist of Fate, Surrealism, and Word on the Street.IGWRTButtonrsz

 I love what Margaret gives us at imaginary garden with real toads where she has taken a painting of a still life and broken the images down to details. It’s cool, so go look and find out what she wants us to do. Go play with the toads.wewritepoems

At Red Wolf Poems Nic creates this week’s wordle twist and what a twist! It should be great fun. Head on over to read the whole prompt.

Poets United Midweek Motif gives us health. Susan has some quotes and a couple of ideas to give us a start. Go over.

dverse-nightime-finalWe’re meeting the bar over at dVerse with Bjorn who wants us to look at defamiliarisation in our poetry. Go on over to read what he says. They’re friendly folks at the Bar, so stick around for some conversation.

I shall see you Tuesday for an image prompt; Thursday and Friday are dark; and the following Tuesday for a poetry prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
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Posted by on 21/11/2014 in links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity: Rhetorical Modes

8:01 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Joseph’s Dreams sung by Jason Donovan (when my Library is on shuffle, I get an odd mix)

Hello, everyone. There is no way, I can find, to make the following shorter, or snazzier, but rhetoric lies at the heart of what we do, whether poetry or prose. Rhetoric is the art of communicating with an audience which, for us, means communicating with readers using literary  and compositional techniques. There are many modes of rhetorical writing, but the following are the four main ones.

DESCRIPTION is a report of appearances, of how places or persons or objects strike the senses of an observer.

NARRATION is a report of actions, of what people do separately or to each other on a given occasion.

DRAMA (DIALOGUE) is a report of conversation, of people talking back and forth.

REVERIE (REFLECTION, STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS) is a report of thoughts and feelings, of what goes on in a particular person’s mind.

The following schemes are adapted by James Penha from Leo Rockas’ thinking and book, Modes of Rhetoric.

The various modes of DESCRIPTION, NARRATION, DIALOGUE, and REVERIE are often separate from each other, but also often mixed. REVERIE–the representation of a character or narrator thinking–tends to dominate the other modes it’s mixed with. Why? Because anything anyone thinks–thinking of the description of a garden once seen, thinking of the narration of an event that once happened, thinking of the dialogue of a conversation once overheard–tends to be subjective. Thus, reverie tends to bind the other modes mixed with the reverie to a particular “point of view.”

I.    COMPARISONS OF THE RHETORICAL MODES:

TIME comparison of the four modes:
DESCRIPTION: No story time.
NARRATION: Story time >/= reading time.
DIALOGUE:  Story time = reading time.
REVERIE:  Story time < reading time.

 SUBJECT/PRONOUN tendencies of the four modes:
DESCRIPTION: Things/people described as things; it.
NARRATION:  People/things described as people; he/she/they.
DIALOGUE: You/I.
REVERIE:    I.

VERB & TENSE tendencies of the four modes:
DESCRIPTION: Being verbs in the past or present.
NARRATION:  Active verbs in the past.
DIALOGUE: Verbs of feeling in the present.
REVERIE: Future, hypothetical, or speculative forms of verbs.

TYPICAL FORMULAS of the four modes:
DESCRIPTION: it is.
NARRATION:  he ran.
DIALOGUE:  you love.
REVERIE:  I will.
Notice that each mode gets closer to the self.

II.    LITERARY ELEMENTS & MODES.  Each of the four major literary elements tends to correspond to one of the modes:
SETTING is most easily rendered by DESCRIPTION.
PLOT is most easily rendered by NARRATION.
CHARACTER is most easily rendered by DIALOGUE.
THEME is most easily rendered by REVERIE.

III.    POINT OF VIEW & MODES.
DESCRIPTION, NARRATION, DIALOGUE are objective.
REVERIE is subjective.

The point of view is objective when there is no reverie.
The point of view is subjective when there is reverie.
The point of view is omniscient when there is reverie of more than one character.
The point of view is limited when there is the reverie of only one character.
“First-person” point of view almost always results in reverie.
In “third-person” point of view, the character with the reverie is talked about in third-person.

IV.    GENRES AND MODES

No recognizable genre—save perhaps haiku and list poems—is predominantly DESCRIPTION.
Short stories, novels, epics, and narrative poems are dominated by NARRATIVE.
Plays and dramatic monologues (Browning, Eliot, Tennyson) and dialogue poems (Frost) are dominated by DRAMA.
Lyric poems are dominated by REVERIE.

Whew! We will return to normal links and such Thursday after next. Meanwhile, I shall see you tomorrow for the roundup; Tuesday for an image prompt; and the following Tuesday for a regular poetry prompt. We’ll be dark next Thursday and Friday.

Happy ingesting and writing, all.

What? One link? Okay. If you don’t know about Galley Cat, the site is giving tips specifically for NaNoWriMo, but many apply to the writing of poetry. They are not long and there are several nuggets. I’ll give you the general address for the tips and you can scroll around.

 
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Posted by on 20/11/2014 in writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: It’s All About Perspective

7:49 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Best of You sung by Foo Fighters

Hello there! Brrr! The weather looks like it has decided to get serious. Pour yourself something hot (If your time zone is at the other end of the day, consider hot apple cider and brandy), pull up your computer and start the grey cells going. NaNoWriMo is on the downward slope. Keep your eyes on the barn door. You’re heading home now.

mountain far

far away

Let us consider perspective. Artists know it’s all about perspective. When describing a locale, people, and events, we need to keep in mind [more so in fiction than poetry], that in writing about a scene, based solely on distance and angle, we can’t apply the same degree of detail to everything. Our characters, especially whoever is narrating, can’t know many things.

Consider a character, or a person you know. The two of you are sitting side by side in a car. What do you see of the other person? The two of you get out and continue a conversation, over the bonnet (front part) of the car. How has your perspective changed? The other person crosses the street to talk to someone else. How do things alter as the person recedes? How does the scene change if, as you watch, traffic passes between you?

mid-way

mid-way

How much detail do you include? If you are describing a range of mountains you see in the distance, out your window, how much can you tell your reader. If you are getting out of your car in a parking lot near the foot of one of the mountains, how much more do you see? If you have begun the ascent, what will you focus on now. How much detail do you want?

close

close

You are watching reports of a protest, on your television. You jot notes. What do you see? You are in the crowd watching the protest. Now what? You are part of the protest. How has your angle and knowledge changed?

Perspective is an important consideration. We need to be able to give our readers a sense of placement and of distance (whether near or far), a sense of what our narrators do, or do not, know because of their perspectives.

The exercise: At different heights, degree of detail is different… the kinds of things

closer

closer

one can see are different… the sounds one can hear are different… the angle of vision is different… things don’t always seem to be what they are … depending on the proximity, smell might come into play. Time of day can join the crowd.

I have a lengthier, more complicated version that we did in 2012 which you can look at and even do if it piques your interest. This shorter, kinder version is specifically so poets can play.

Choose an event, or a setting. I want your narrator to consider the chosen item from a specific place. You need to let us know, without shoving it in our faces, where the place is in terms of its relationship to what the narrator is going to talk about, or describe.

too close

too close

Change the narrator’s view. Alter the angle or the distance and have your narrator discover something they hadn’t seen or known before about what it is they are describing.

Is there a significance, or an epiphany, with the new perspective? (There does not have to be)

That’s it. Nice and easy… or you can do the original exercise. Heh Heh.

I will see you Thursday for some talk on the different modes of writing prose, which might be interesting to consider in a longer poem; Friday for the roundup; and next Tuesday for our monthly image prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on 18/11/2014 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poetry Freeforall

10:18 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Harry Belafonte singing Crawdad Song

Hello, everyone. Yes, yes, I did sleep in. It happens [not often, mind you]. I’ll spend the day recovering from actual sleep, but listening to Belafonte helps a whole lot. Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo-ers, you are at the halfway point. Dig in.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie presents its usual bounty of poetry and prose prompts: fairytales, haiku, shadormas, and more. The prompt that caught my eye this week is, well, all of them. I love the idea of leaving haiku around the neighbourhood; I love writing poetry inspired by Metallica‘s work; the photo looks nifty… Head on over.

sunday whirl

At The Sunday Whirl,  Brenda gives us an intriguing set of words to play with. Go Wordle. If you join The Sunday Whirl‘s Facebook page, you can get the week’s list a couple of days early.

pink girl ink  Pink. Girl. Ink. has a fun image, created by Stacy, who gives us a choice of first lines to use with the image [she is open to modification of the lines] and reminds us that we can write poems or flash fiction. I am loving the creativity of her prompts. Visit.

At The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, we have a hefty post, well worth reading. Adele presents a ‘discussion’ of spiritual poetry, with thoughts from several writers. She quotes Jane Hirschfield, “The root of ‘spirit’ is the Latin spirare, to breathe. Whatever lives on the breath, then, must have its spiritual dimension—including all poems, even the most unlikely.” I thought that was cool. If you aren’t sure it’s going to be your thing, scroll down to her guidelines and tips and read them. Go on over.

Feeling a little grey? Your poetry not arriving? Then, you should be at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. I defy you to not enjoy writing a good limerick. One advantage to writing a limerick, or two, is they are short. You can post them in comments on the blog, or on Mad Kane’s Facebook page. Go over and check it out, to read and laugh, and maybe write.magpie

Magpie Tales has a photograph aimed at this week’s celebrations of veterans and their contributions. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Sumana has some fabulous images and a couple of thoughtful comments on dreams. Visit.FPR-200

The Found Poetry Review has found a beauty for us to Apply any constraint or found poetry technique in a way that will make you important to your friends and gaily, poisonously attractive to your enemies! Yep, you will not be able to resist seeing what that’s about will you? The source material is good for at least a laugh, but I think it will be a fun piece to work with. Find out what it’s about.

Poets & Writers gives us three prompts every week. One for non-fiction, one for fiction, and one for poetry. My contention is that all the prompts work for poetry. They also, all work for prose. This week’s topics are Helping Hand, The Berlin Wall, and Your Shadow.IGWRTButtonrsz

 I have given you the general address for Imaginary garden with real toads where we are offered prompts created around Freddie Mercury’s Love of My Life and Don McLean’s American Pie. Well, of course I stopped for a moment to listen. I fell in love with Freddie Mercury all over again. Go play with the toads.wewritepoems

At Red Wolf Poems Irene‘s title for the post is Still life with oysters (part one) and abalones (part two). Head on over to read the whole prompt.

Poets United Midweek Motif gives us swimming. Susan has some wonderful images to spark poems.  Visit to read what Susan says.

dverse-nightime-finalWe’re meeting the bar over at dVerse with Victoria who wants us to play with art techniques in our poetry. Go on over to read what she says. They’re friendly folks at the Bar, so stick around for some conversation. I smell cinnamon. Is it hot apple cider time?

I shall see you Tuesday for my next narrative prompt; Thursday for more things narrative; and Friday for the next roundup of prompt sites.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 14/11/2014 in links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity: Fiction Lies

8:30 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Mamas and The Papas singing Dancing Bear — a lesser known, beautiful song

Quotation-Hilary-Mantel-lies-good-reading-fiction-Meetville-Quotes-171028

Hello, all. When talking with writers, I have noticed a squeamishness about altering facts, if the story concerns them in any way.  When you recount a story to someone, do you always tell the whole truth and nothing but? How about if the story reflects you in a less than rosy light. Do you shade the details a touch? Do you think that because an autobiography is written by the person it’s about that the writer tells the truth through the entire volume? Uh huh.

When you use real events as a basis for your writing, remember: Fiction lies. Here are some strategies to help you tinker with an old and/or true story so as to make it your own new piece of fiction. While simple, even obvious, when you are rearranging your own history, or that of someone you know, you might not think about all you can do to make the event a piece of fiction rather than a piece of real life.

1.    Change the names of your characters to enhance the identities of characters and/or to protect the identities of human beings. Names need to fit.
2.    Change the setting to a room or locale more appropriate for the events. The real story happened in a grocery store. In your plot, a bar makes more sense. Okay, make it a bar.
3.    Change the point of view.  Narrate the piece from the third-person. Or tell the events in the first person from the point of view of someone else on the scene. The real event was yours. That doesn’t mean someone else can’t tell the story. After all, you aren’t in your novel, right?
4.    Invent details of setting or appearance of characters that will vivify the writing.  Add the names of products and streets, for instance. Details put a reader in the story, but don’t use details for their own sake. If a car races by, in a scene, what do you want the reader’s impression to be? That it is green, that it is a Mustang, that it is a green Mustang, or that it is a car?
5.    Invent events that credibly develop from the situation. This is where the Then What? exercise is helpful.
6.    Invent believable dialogue for your characters. Whether there was dialogue originally is irrelevant. If you need a conversation to move the story or provide exposition, then write dialogue.
7.    Leave out what does not contribute to the effect of the piece. Not everything that occurred in the real story has to be in the new story.

To amuse you and give you some more to chew on, I have Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses, by Mark Twain. You do not need to read the critique itself, unless you are curious, but the 18 rules that precede it are excellent. How can you resist:

Cooper’s art has some defects. In one place in “Deerslayer,” and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.

There are nineteen rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction — some say twenty-two. In “Deerslayer,” Cooper violated eighteen of them.

Rule 3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.

I love Rule 3 and the last seven.

See you tomorrow for the roundup; Tuesday for our next narrative prompt; and Thursday for more narrative natter.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 13/11/2014 in writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: Rashomon

8:14 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Run by Snow Patrol

Hello, everyone. Another gorgeous day outside. There are rumours of an early snowstorm in the Midwest which will bring our temperatures plunging by midweek. As long as the sun shines. Hey, NaNoWriMo-ers! You should still be in fairly full throttle, so let’s see what we can find to help you along. You can apply today’s exercise to your plot, or use it to stretch. Poets, think of this as a possibility for a dialogue poem, or a counterpoint poem.

We’re going to play Rashomon today. For those who don’t know the story, it appeared as a Japanese film known for a plot device which involves various characters providing alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident. If you are interested in more [I think it will make the exercise clearer], I have included a link to the least confusing plot summary. We are going to have two possibilities to work with:

1] Think of an incident that involves other people being around, as participants and witnesses. Have each of them tell their view of what happened. You will need to know who each person is, at least as far as occupation, and how they are involved. The incident can be from your life, the news, or made up.

2] Alternatively, have one person recount an incident to five different people. You will need to know who the people are and their relationship to the speaker. Think about it: do you tell a story the same way to your partner, your best friend, your mother, a reporter, a policeman, your employer?

This gives you a chance to play with voice, as well as point of view. Have fun with this when you decide how to structure the piece, whether narrative or poetry. In terms of a poem, you may certainly cut the number of people involved.

Wow! Short. So rare. I will see you Thursday for more on narrative writing; Friday for the roundup; and next Tuesday for another of my narrative prompts.

Happy writing, all.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on 11/11/2014 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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