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Poetics Serendipity

8:49 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Kananaka sung by Keali’i Reichel (who has one of the loveliest voices I have heard)

Hello, everyone. We have another mild, sunshiny day to enjoy. I hope things are as mild where you are. Shall we get to it?

1] The first link was sent to me by Sasha Palmer. The Paris Review posted a piece of correspondence from Horace Walpole to Horace Mann, in 1754, regarding the invention of the word serendipity. The piece is short and fun to read.

2] I receive right hand pointing‘s newsletter.and they have two items of interest in the latest issue. The first is their latest volume of poetry, of particular interest because it is their first haiku issue. The second is a rather interesting call for submissions. Check it out because I can see several of you wanting to give this a try.

3] Galley Cat’s latest infographic is about The Weird Writing Practices of Authors, by Maryann Yin. I love their infographics, so you will often see them here.

Brief and to the point, today, but plenty to play with. The blog and I will be dark for ten days, or so. I will see you again, probably Thursday after next, for more links.

Happy writing, all.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 04/02/2016 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: Lights Out

8:51 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Cool Water sung by Marty Robbins

Hello, everyone. How’s things? We have blue sky, sunshine, and a promise of 62 as our high. Gorgeous. Not that I trust San Antonio’s weather. Two days ago, it was so hot, we stopped at Sonic for malteds. In January, for crying out loud. Enough chitchat, let’s begin.

In the past couple of weeks, we have had our electricity go out a couple of times, as work is being done in the neighbourhood. When we lived in Jakarta, especially the early years, losing our electricity was a common event and could last as long as two days. We have been known to move into a hotel. As I sat in the quiet of last week’s outage, I noticed, again, how still the world becomes without electricity, how quiet, almost the quality of a snow silence.

An unscheduled outage is what we’re looking for. Think back over your life to times when the electricity went out unexpectedly. Jot notes on the things you couldn’t, or could, do because of the loss of various electrical appliances, not to mention lights. How much of a nuisance was it? How helpless did you feel? Or did you revel in having no choice about certain things? If you want, go universal and comment on the dependency we have on electrical items.

The specific outage I remember best happened in Hong Kong, my senior year in  high school. Outages were rare and this one happened at night, as I was writing an essay due the next day. I sat on the living room couch with my mother’s Smith Corona typewriter on my knees and two candles on the coffee table. I got the assignment done.

Feel free to mash-up your memories. If you have lived your life without an electricity outage, you will need to adapt this prompt. 

I will see you Thursday for stuff and then the blog will be dark (yes, an electricity outage, heh heh heh) for a couple of weeks, while Skip and I head to Georgia for our Atlanta fix.

Happy writing, all.

 

 
27 Comments

Posted by on 02/02/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

9:18 a,m, — San Antonio

listening to On Broadway sung by George Benson

Hello, all. I made it. Apparently life has decided to resist happening, today. Speaking of which, I hope those of you hit by Jonas, in the eastern United States, are digging yourselves out. Having missed a couple of weeks worth of links, let’s get to it

Having missed a couple of weeks worth of links, let’s get to it:

1] If you have not come across the collection of essays that are Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings then you need to check it out. I am giving you a link to tell you what it’s about and a link to what she thinks are the best picks of the year.

If you want the quick what it’s about, Popova describes Brain Pickings as a cross-disciplinary LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces spanning art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology and …how these different disciplines illuminate one another to glean some insight, directly or indirectly, into that grand question of how to live, and how to live well.

If you have nothing else to expand your brain with [see under ‘life happens’], Pickings will give you some of everything and all connected to our creative selves.

2] From an article in The New Yorker, by Pauline Bock: they first had the idea for the machines one afternoon in 2013. They were taking a break in the hall of their office building, buying a snack from a vending machine. One of them—they don’t recall which one—said that the vending machines should offer short stories instead of drinks and candy. They had a prototype by 2014. Sounds like science fiction, no? No. ViV, we expect you to go to Grenoble and report on this! Read the article and you will be charmed while wondering why your city doesn’t have such a machine. How about one that offers poems? It has to be easier.

3] Galley Cat offers us TED-Ed Lessons for Writers to Kick Off 2016, by Maryann Yin. Need I say more?

Have fun with these and I shall see you Tuesday for a prompt and next Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on 28/01/2016 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: More Abandoning

8:19 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Maroon 5 singing One More Night

Hello, everyone. Thursday? Life happened again, this time in the form of an electrical outage. We’ve had the electrical people in the neighbourhood since November, tearing everything up, laying cable, replacing transformers. My Florida brother swears it’s a CIA setup.

I hadn’t done the maths right, last week, so today is our image prompt.Yay! Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I mentioned that Mark Windham had tagged me for a photo he knew I’d like? It gave me the idea for the abandon prompt. Here’s why.

abandoned house with doll

 

The photograph comes from a Facebook page that collects abandonings, among other things. Respond to any part of the photograph or to the whole.

I may, or may not, see you Thursday. I don’t trust Thursday anymore. I will see you next Tuesday for another prompt.

Happy writing, all.

 
45 Comments

Posted by on 26/01/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Join In

9:47 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to That Old Black Magic sung by Peggy Lee — for most of my growing up years, I gave dad Lee’s newest album, for Christmas

Hello, all. My apologies for the non-appearance, Thursday. Life happened. (It has that habit, doesn’t it?) Today’s prompt is one you can have fun with. List all things you can think of that join: the conjunctions of life. Obvious: bridges. Not so obvious: the ear canal.

1] Be literal.

2] Be metaphorical — that’s an option, literal people, not a must. I can feel your panic.

3] Weave a couple of the not so obvious joins together.

4] Use joining things as a motif, a thread throughout the poem.

The joining things can be a small part, or the entire focus, of what you write.

I’m looking forward to what you come up with. I will see you Thursday for stuff, and Tuesday for our next prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
32 Comments

Posted by on 19/01/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Abandon Ye!

9:30 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to… well, who else? Bowie, of course

Hello, everyone. Are we all bundled so we don’t freeze our patoots? Brrr. Enjoy your summer, southern hemisphere. To distract us from the cold, let’s play with a word. I decided I wanted to explore abandon several weeks ago when Mark Windham sent me a wonderful photograph he knew I’d like. You’ll see it for our image prompt in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the word. word book

Do you like my new word collecting book? My daughter gave it to me for Christmas. Hand bound with leather cover.

Abandon originally meant to put someone under bond, to put someone under someone else’s jurisdiction. Now, we use it to mean leave completely and utterly. I almost abandoned you this morning because of a video game the same daughter introduced me to at Christmas.

Then there is the phrase with gay abandon. Sounds more positive, you say? I always thought so until I pondered it this morning. Usually, if you have decided to throw yourself into something with gay abandon, you are abandoning morals, mores, possibly laws.

We haven’t played with a word, in a while. So, abandon whatever you are doing, gaily or not, and explore. There are many ways you can go with this.

1] Go to the page I have given you the link for. Write your poem using words and phrases from that page. If you choose this one, remember to credit the source.

2] Go to the page, but use it more as a spark for an idea.

3] Write about something you abandoned. Despite the general negative connotation of the word, this can be a comic story.

As the sun set
she abandoned him
to the wolves.

He was bigger
and brawnier
than she.

What do you mean you don’t see comedy?

4] Write about a time you felt abandoned or were abandoned. Seared forever, in my memory, is the time, in fourth grade, when, despite my parents’ warnings, I dawdled while getting ready for school. Fine, my mother said, we’ll leave without you, and they did. You should have seen me tearing down the stairs — we lived on the fourth floor, but our elevator was molasses —  screaming at the top of my lungs — the poor neighbours. Then my bag fell and everything spilled out…

That’s more comic, you say? You should have been me.

5] Write about a situation on a more worldly scale where the word abandoned works.

6] Go your own merry way.

I will see you Thursday where I will talk a bit about my day with Poets & Writers Live, in Austin and give you a couple of links; and, Tuesday for another prompt. I may do a borrowed one. Now, I am abandoning you and going back to my game.

Happy writing, all.

 

 

 
26 Comments

Posted by on 12/01/2016 in exercises, poems, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:29 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to one of my favourites, Mack the Knife, sung by Bobby Darin

Hello, all. I don’t know about you, but one foot is still in December. It will help when the tree comes down (it’s so pretty, we’d love to leave it) — ornaments are stashed and Christmasy objects packed away, although I have every expectation of coming on something in August, as our daughter is brilliant at finding spots to place small things. I keep being surprised into a laugh as I come across something. Okay, gang, ready for some sites to start the year with?

1] I can think of nothing better than a series of TED talks to kick us off. Jessica Gross gives us 6 Ideas From Creative Thinkers to Shake Up Your Work Routine. I love the way Gross has structured her article. The six ideas are ones we are all familiar with, but within each, she gives us a link to a playlist of talks to go to. There is everything from an excerpt by Pico Ayer on The Art of Stillness to a talk on the power of time off.

2] The next link is compliments of d’Verse, which has put together a schedule of what comes when submissions-wise. I don’t know about your brain, but mine requires this kind of help.

3] In an article for The Huffington Post‘s blog, poet Robert Peake gives us this year’s mix of UK-based poets whose work gave me pause and, sometimes, made me gasp, in his article Five British Poets to Watch in 2016. With so many accessible writers, now, I am always grateful when someone points the way.

4] Just in from Found Poetry Review‘s poetry editor, Beth Ayer, Volume 9 has gone live.

S’okay? Go forth and discover. I will see you Tuesday for the next prompt and Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 07/01/2016 in links, poetry, writing

 

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