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Tuesday Tryouts: Ruins

7:45 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Starships sung by Pentatonix/PTX

Hello everyone. This will be the last post until Tuesday, January 6 (I finally looked at a calendar and worked out when we would be traveling). My thought, therefore, is to have our image prompt, today. Yes? I thought so.

A couple of weeks ago, in an email my niece sent out, was a photograph captioned: A ruin from the Hessie Townsite that I thought Margo might enjoy for poem-prompt purposes. I loved the photo, immediately. A week ago, in a dVerse post, I read an excerpt from an anonymously written 8th century poem, ‘The Ruins’. On looking up the etymology of ‘ruins’ I found, directly from the Latin, a collapse, a rushing down, a tumbling down.

baylee ruins

Wondrous is this wall-stone, broken by fate,
the city burst apart, the giant-work crumbled.
Roofs are ruined, towers ruined,
rafters ripped away, hoarfrost on lime,
gaps in the storm-shelter, sheared and cut away
under-eaten by age.

While not quite the fortress being described in the excerpt, above, the photograph and the poem seem to fit together. Note how clever I am to have it actually snowing as you look at the photograph. What to write?

1] You can go for a straightforward response to the photograph.

2] You can describe a ruin you have seen, either at home, or in your travels; or one that you have seen on television that fascinates you.

3] You can ignore the photograph and the poem except as metaphors for some universal, or personal, truth.

4] You can go with the etymological meaning I gave you.

5] You can do whatever your heart desires, but you know that.

As always, consider that form equals content.

I shall see you again in 2015. May your next two weeks not be too terribly hectic. Until January 6 and a prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
43 Comments

Posted by on 16/12/2014 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poetry Freeforall

9:44 a.m. — Atlanta

watching and listening to something my uncle sent round and decided you needed to see it too. I wonder how long it took them to rehearse.

Hello, everyone. Ready for some linking and prompting and writing? Let’s go.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week is Tale Weaver’s Prompt: The Funeral of Al Na’ash. I love the title. To find out what the prompt is about visit them.

sunday whirl

At The Sunday Whirl,  Brenda gives us a set of words that all have the same vowel sound. 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. gives us an image. It is a lovely photograph of snowfall, so head over to see it and to see if it inspires.

At The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, Adele announces her winter hiatus, but she gives us presents, too. To see and enjoy all the things she has under the tree for us, visit.

I am struck anew at how clever some of the limericks are 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 by Elene Usdin. I laughed as soon as it flashed on my screen and laughed again. I find it enchanting. Some might find it alarming. I notice that the number of entrants is small which usually means people aren’t sure quite what to do. Remember that you do not have to write about the whole, or write about the image directly. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Peggy gives us quiet. Visit.FPR-200

At the Found Poetry Review Beth has a cool prompt for us to try that involves a mirror universe. Go read what she has to say. Very cool.

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 a day in the life, learning to cook, and whimsical creature.IGWRTButtonrsz

Hannah, at imaginary garden with real toads asks us to transform with Lake Hillier. Wait ’til you see the photographs. Can anyone say Pepto Bismol? Go play with the toads.wewritepoems

At Red Wolf Poems Barbara has a fun exercise for us to try. It’s one of my favourite prompts (ones similar). To remember your past, head on over to read the whole prompt.

Poets United Midweek Motif asks us to focus on human rights. Susan has chosen some intriguing quotes, gives us a couple of ideas (one of which I find fascinating), and has a video. Head over to see what it’s all about.

dverse-nightime-finalOver at dVerse we’re in Poetics with Gabriella who wants us to think about city songs. Visit to read what she says and to read the poems she includes as examples. They’re friendly folks at the Bar, so stick around for some conversation.

I shall see you Tuesday for a prompt; and then, not again until January 6. Originally I had said the 30th of December, but apparently, I will be in the car that day.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 12/12/2014 in links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

christmasdividercorner7:45 a.m. –Atlanta

listening to the whistle and hum of the phone as my sister-in-law and I text about Christmas stuff

Hello, everyone. I seem to have gotten my days a trifle mixed. I tried to jump two days when I signed off my last post, so today is not the roundup. Clearly turning 62 traumatised my brain more than I knew. It fell apart Tuesday, but is hauling itself back together.

I don’t know how many of you travel during the holidays, or have guests, or this is the time of year you decorate big time, but my place looks like a storm hit it. Packing the car should be an interesting exercise, as not only are we hauling all our Christmas things (decorations and presents), but suitcases, and as many pre-move items as we can stuff in. Take a few minutes off with me and visit some places I think are fun and interesting.

1] The first is so cool. That was my initial remark on reading the article after my daughter sent me the link. It is the same remark I made a few minutes ago, as I reread it. ‘At Harvard, Technology Resurrects Long-Silent Voices of Poets,’ by Curt Nickisch, tells us that the voices [of poets] on many of these brittle, early records have been dead — silenced for nearly a century. They’re too damaged to play. That is, until today… We now possess the technology to do something that no other technology can do, which is to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Cool, right?

2] This next is one of those things where, because I find it fascinating, you’re getting it. Someone collected photographs of The Very Weird Handwriting of Very Famous Authors. You can live without the collector’s comments, but I found the photographs have an emotional pull for me. I’m willing to bet many of you will be surprised at the time you take looking at the collected pages. You might even try to decipher some of the more difficult handwriting, or haul out a magnifying glass for tiny writing. Me? I might have.

3] I enjoyed The Top 10 Words Invented by Writers and wish its author, Paul Dickson, had made the list longer, but then I’m slightly nutty when it comes to word origins. Dickson says, in his brief intro, that he is interested: specifically in the question of how a coinage makes it into the larger language, especially at a time when the English language seems to have more than enough words to sustain itself. He gives us the how of his ten favourites.

Side note: As Dickson mentions, Shakespeare had a written vocabulary of over 17,000 words, many of which he coined. Because I liked to impart this information to my kids, I know that Charles Dickens had a written vocabulary of about 12, 000. Native English speakers have a written vocabulary of about 1,200 to 1,500 words.

4] I post this article annually to remind those of us addicted to our blogs that there are ways to survive December. Susannah Windsor Freeman, of the blog Write It Sideways, tells us How to Avoid Blogging Burnout During the Holidays.

I will see you tomorrow for the roundup (truly, this time); Tuesday for a prompt; and then not again until the following Tuesday when we will have an image prompt.

Happy writing, all.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 11/12/2014 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: It’s Still About the Perspective

9:27 a.m. garland– Atlanta

listening to Danny Kaye singing C’est Si Bon

Hello, everyone. We have blue skies, sunshine and a chill in the air. Lovely stuff. While not sleeping last night, I had a conversation with myself that went something like this: That other site has flowers as a prompt. Okay, there can be two. Yeh, but… how about we shift. What else do we have? Death has been moved to January. Can’t have an image prompt because that’s on the 30th (when everyone will be frazzled and need something uncomplicated). We can do a word origin thing. Nah. Maybe, we do flowers anyway.

When I woke up this morning, I looked at my prompt collection (if I don’t write them down when I think of them, they’re gone), and found one I had thought of recently and which I think will be fun to think on before you write.

I went to a British elementary school and a lot of the songs we learned, for music class, were tied there. One of my favourites was Loch Lomond. We learned the refrain and possibly the first verse. I thought it lovely and romantic.

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Oh! Ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Imagine my horror when, only a couple of years ago, I listened to the entire song, which included verses like this:

O well may I weep for yestere’en in my sleep
We stood bride and bridegroom together,
But his arms and his breath were as cold as the death
And his heart’s blood ran red in the heather.

Think of something you only knew a small part, or one side, of that when you learned the whole, changed your perspective dramatically. Consider how you want to present it. You have the original knowledge and feelings; then the knowledge undergoes a transformation; the feelings may or may not change.  What’s the most important aspect of the change in knowledge? You might find it works better to tell this in the third person and you may wish to consider a tighter structure than free verse.

I shall see you tomorrow for the week’s roundup;and Tuesday for a prompt hitherto unknown. I will be travelling next Thursday and then we have Christmas week. I’ll be back with you on the 30th for an image prompt.

Happy writing, all.

 

 
11 Comments

Posted by on 09/12/2014 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poetry Freeforall: Pick One or Two

7:44 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to the throaty roar of a successful liftoff

Hello, everyone. Orion has left the ground and is getting ready to run through a couple of exercises, before taking off on its own to make a different kind of poetry. I can tell you that having the pre-launch chatter and the live video is quite addicting. Shall we investigate one of our addictions?

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week is the one asking us to embody the meaning of the Korean word ‘won’. Also, if you have ever had a desire to try your hand at a prompt or two [or have and want to help], they are looking for people to write prompts during the holidays. The information is within this particular prompt.

sunday whirl

At The Sunday Whirl,  Brenda gives us a challenging 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. gives a straightforward prompt about thankfulness. To read the rest of the prompt, visit.

At The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, Adele has Diane Lockward as a guest prompter. Diane’s focus is language, our choice of words when writing, and she has a gorgeous poem to use as an example. The prompt looks like fun, a bit of work, but fun. Go on over.

I am struck anew at how clever some of the limericks are 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 Bond of Union, by Escher. I adore anything Escher and this one is open to several possibilities. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Laurie Kolp talks to us about hands. Visit.FPR-200

At the Found Poetry Review Beth starts with, Select three or more titles and write a poem using only the text in the Book Concierge blurb. Titles of what, you ask. Go find out.

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 feasting, World of Toys, and secret keeper.IGWRTButtonrsz

 Fireblossom, at imaginary garden with real toads wants us to really play. She wants us to try a mashup of a different sort. Can you say, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter? Go play with the toads.wewritepoems

At Red Wolf Poems Misky creates this week’s wordle twist with a simple addition to the word list. Head on over to read the whole prompt.

Poets United Midweek Motif has a very interesting focus to do with a date. Intriguing. Susan has some quotes and a couple of poems to give us a start. Go over.

dverse-nightime-finalWe’re meeting the bar over at dVerse with Tony Maude who wants us to look at buzzwords and jargon. 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 a flower prompt; Thursday for links and such; and Friday for the next roundup.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on 05/12/2014 in links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity: Love a Little Link

8:35 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to live streaming of NASA’s Orion rocket launch

Hello, everyone. I may be a bit distracted. While down at my Florida brother’s he told us that they could sit outside their house and watch rocket launches [I am so jealous]. He also told us we could watch because one of their news groups always runs live streaming. I’m sitting here listening to the incredible patience of the NASA people as they try to get the rocket Orion off the ground. We have reached just outside three minutes twice and they are hoping to start a third count before they run out of launch time. It is exciting to listen to the process.

However, we are here for links. Having spent November in fiction, I have a backup of links, but will endeavour not to overwhelm you.

1] The first link is to a short essay titled ‘Ruthlessness’ by Douglas Goetsch, who is guest posting on Adele Kenny’s site. I was attracted to the essay by its title, as ruthlessness was a mantra of mine when I taught. On almost every essay or creative piece handed me for editing and remarks, I would write: Cut 10%. Be ruthless, ruthless. With my own writing, I keep the word to the forefront when I revise. Goetsch says, while bad poems are harmless, in that they would never deceive us, “good” poems are inherently limited and dangerous, in that they were made to please our egos, and are very difficult to come away from. Go read what else he has to say.

2] I found myself quoted everywhere this week ^–^. Poet Robert Peake has been analysing word frequency in a couple of different places and brings us his results along with a brief commentary. He came to the conclusion: For this reason, to me, there are no bad words, only words used badly. That was a phrase my students heard often, especially when talking about using swear words in creative writing pieces. This is just one of those interesting things to read, but I also thought some of you might like to use the words as a Wordle poem, or a remixed poem, or poems [i.e. only the words on the list].

Peake ended up writing three pieces: No Such Thing as Bad Words, Top “Poetry Words,” and Unconscious Preoccupations, Machine Revelations. That’s the order in which they should be read.

3] The final link is to a fun little exercise, a short video that explains the connection between math and Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. You only need five minutes. Link to poetry? Um. Just go watch it. It expands your neurons.

I’m going to sign off, quickly, before I put a fourth link in. Mustn’t overwhelm. Mustn’t. I shall see you tomorrow for the roundup of this week’s prompt sites; Tuesday for a prompt to do with flowers; and next Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, all.

I know you’ll want to know: NASA is changing the way they are monitoring the winds, to manual (!), in the hopes they can get Orion off. I’m thinking this means someone steps outside(?). They have one more chance. Fourteen and a half minutes to launch. They hope.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on 04/12/2014 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: The Truth About Holidays

holly-bar8:04 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Spirit in the Sky sung by Norman Greenbaum

I love it when my blog snows! No, It does not take much to amuse me. Hello, everyone. I hope you had a lovely holiday, if you had a holiday; otherwise, a lovely weekend. I had a full few days at my Florida brother’s: a six course Chinese feast cooked by him [with my sister-in-law sous chefing]; a Thanksgiving meal cooked by my husband; a ride on my nephew’s suitably powerful motorbike; shuffle-board and bocce, neither of which I had played before; and a drive through a wildlife refuge where we witnessed a feeding frenzy by about sixty spoonbills, egrets, and herons.

But, enough of that. To work. I had planned on a prompt to do with death. On returning from our holiday, I decided that even though I was going to keep it fairly objective, as a topic, this isn’t the time. Maybe in January. Instead, let’s work on a poem suited to the major holidays of this season that don’t talk about those holidays. Got that?

We have Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Boxing Day and Christmas. If there is another you want to play with — winter solstice, anyone? — let us know about it in a short process note. The holiday you choose does not have to be the holiday you celebrate. Pick one (or more) and list the themes associated with the holiday. Writing poetry is communicating truths about people and the world we live in. Good poetry seeks to raise profound questions about truths — which is not to say good poetry can’t be descriptive, but even then, some truth is inherent. We call it theme. You are after a truth of some sort to do with your particular holiday.

Once you have chosen what you want to write about, take the holiday out of the equation. The thing about the broader themes are that they are universal. Write about your theme for a bit. Yes, I’m back to free-writing. Just do it. I’m not kidding. Go on. Once you understand what it is you want to write about in a poem, you may put the holiday back in, if you wish, but it should be secondary to your main point[s]. You are not writing about the holiday. K? Good.

You can choose an incident from your life, the news, whatever, to make your point[s]. You don’t want an amorphous piece of writing that doesn’t offer specific details to make your reader part of the process.

Consider form as a way to enhance what you are writing about. Always consider found poetry. You’d be surprised how found poetry allows for a broader expression of a topic. Enjoy what you discover about your topic.

I will see you Thursday for links; Friday for the roundup; and next Tuesday for a prompt to do with songs we learned as children.

Happy writing, all.

 

 
28 Comments

Posted by on 02/12/2014 in exercises, poetry

 

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