Poetics Serendipity

7:32 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Wild World sung by Cat Stevens

Hello, all, and a happy halfway through the week. I notice that most everyone has cooler weather, except the south south-western US. Feel free to share. While I’m waiting, here are some links to explore:

1] Hot off the presses: Penguin’s Vintage Books arm has signed several authors (Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, Anne Tyler, Howard Jacobson…) to write novels inspired by several of Shakespeare’s plays. Watch this video to see which plays and hear from the authors about the Hogarth Shakespeare series. The video is a little over four minutes.

2] The semi-colon is the most misunderstood and misused of the punctuation marks (although apostrophes are catching up). It’s also one of my favourites because no other mark implies the same relationship. The Writer’s Circle gives us Finally! An Easy Way To Know When (And How) To Use A Semicolon! at the end of which they have included a TED talk. I found their presentation, in the written part, to be admirably clear and fun to read.

3] Diane Lockward’s October newsletter is out. It’s always worth a read with its poetry, prompt, tips on the craft, and links.

4] This last is for Philly folks, or people who don’t mind driving into Philadelphia. Peter Murphy, of Murphy – Writing Stockton University, is holding a writers’ happy hour and invites anyone in the area to join them for an informal evening of socializing and camaraderie. Draw inspiration and support that comes from being a part of a larger community of writers. The date is October 21st and you’ll find more information on his site. I’ve given you the page with the October events.

Enjoy and I will see you again on Tuesday for our next prompt and Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 01/10/2015 in links, poetry, writing


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Poem Tryouts: This is Where I Want to Be

8:54 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Bohemian Rhapsody sung by Queen

Hello, everyone, new, old-timer, and in between. I hope you are well. Today is our image prompt and I have a place to get lost in for a while. I often use images from the Facebook group, I Require Art. We have the same tastes. In fact, I began following them in order to have a source for images. Then an unexpected thing happened. My Facebook friends enjoyed seeing the paintings I chose. I have almost as much fun seeing who likes what. Sometimes, we even discuss the paintings.

Today’s choice is a recent find and evoked more comment than almost anything I have posted. I remarked that I would like to be there, sitting, looking out over the water, sipping a cup of coffee. Apparently, plenty of people would like to join me. I’ve had to add a guest cottage around the corner.


The painting is Fisherman’s House at Varengeville, by Monet. You can approach the prompt in a number of ways. With each, remember that the painting itself does not have to be part of the poem.

1] Respond emotionally to what you see.

2] Go over the painting jotting down every single thing you note. Look at your notes and find your direction among them.

3] Make the painting part of the poem.

4] Write about your tranquil place. You can do this with, or without, the painting. It depends if you want to use the setting as a character, as in having it to specifically refer to. This might be your anti-tranquil place.

5] Do what your brain started as soon as it saw the painting.

Yes? Good. I shall see you Thursday for links and Tuesday for another prompt (and on your blogs, should you respond to this).

Happy writing, all.



Posted by on 29/09/2015 in exercises, poetry


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Poetics Serendipity

8:24 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Phil Collins sing A Groovy Kind of Love

Good day, everyone. You say you have things to do and places to be? Let’s get started.

1] I was havering on whether to give you Robert Peake’s ‘Why Poetry Workshops Matter’. He’s a poet who writes on poetry and I love his style, but this particular article isn’t structured to easily read: no paragraphs. It seemed unlike Peake (I discovered that it’s only when clicking through to the article that the paragraphs disappear). Then, I saw a link at the bottom, The Joy of Revision. Of course, as I love the revision process, I checked. Much better.

The first article is an update of the second. The second is properly paragraphed and has additional subject matter of interest. I would add a caveat. In his suggested questions about form, there should be a why after each. Otherwise it sounds like he’s saying this is the way things should be because we’re questioning them. He’s not. In the questions about content, readers and writers should be asking why and how.

2] It’s that time again: Peter Murphy’s Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway. This one I am determined to make some day (at least, one of the several Murphy offers each year). The dates are in January which gives everyone plenty of time to save their pennies. I love this in the description:The Getaway creates an environment that encourages each writer to take creative risks. Peter begins the weekend by singing in his off-key voice which leads participants to realize that if it’s okay for Peter to risk that kind of embarrassment, they can too. Clearly, a born teacher.

For those who live in the area, don’t forget The Collingsworth Book Festival, held on October 3. Peter will be offering a free workshop from 12:301:15 p.m. in the Festival’s Poetry Tent, with the theme Seeing the Sea Anew.

3] Feeling brave? I havered on this one, as well, but when I found I differed (no, not got it wrong — there are a couple I’d argue, but that’s why I don’t do well on multiple choice tests) on a couple of answers, I decided we all needed to read: 10 Outstanding Grammar Tips for Writers: Take the Quiz. I wasn’t sure about the quiz format, either, but the tips are more effective if you have a choice already made. So, take the quiz, read the whys of the answers. If you find it helpful, follow the links to Daily Writing Tips then Grammarly to find the next groups of 10 tips. Only the first ten have the quiz. If I were to choose one to keep by, it would be Grammarly’s.

A nice, hefty bunch of things to go through. Enjoy them and I shall see you Tuesday for our image prompt and Thursday next for more links.

Happy writing, all


Posted by on 24/09/2015 in links, poetry, writing


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Poem Tryouts: Indelible

9:08 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Daylight by Maroon 5

Hello, everyone. All well, I hope. The car fit in the garage, yesterday, for the first time in weeks, thanks to a niece and her husband, who carted off a load of furniture. The house is habitable. Now we fine tune.

The idea for the prompt comes from a poem written by Sara way back in January, in  response to another prompt of mine. That prompt asks for a moment in a movie, or on television, that evoked a response from you. This is similar, but it’s not the response as much as an image, I am interested in. Read the last six lines of the poem then come back.


Okay? Okay. Is there a television show or a movie you cannot rewatch because of an indelible image? There are plenty of shows and movies I don’t watch because my imagination is far too active, but only one I won’t watch and that’s the movie The Great Escape. Possibly if I had watched it as an adult, or at least an older teenager, I would have been okay, but I was twelve and the scene where the escapers hit the fence and are frozen in the lights gave me nightmares and has never left my consciousness.

Think of one such image for yourself and write the image, or write the moment, or write the part of you that cannot deal with the image. Although I am asking for an autobiographical moment, feel free to write in third person and to make up details, as needed.

But I have none, you cry. I’ll take a photograph you saw in the news, or a magazine, even an image so well described in a novel that you remember it and have not reread the novel. For me that would be something from Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

Let’s see what you come up with. I look forward to visiting you. Yes, I am finally back (yes, it’s about damn time). I’ll see you Thursday for links and next Tuesday for our image prompt.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 22/09/2015 in exercises, poetry


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Poetics Serendipity

7:27 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Lady sung by Kenny Rogers, one of my favourite voices

Hello, all. My apologies about Tuesday. Remind me not to say I will post the day after getting back from a road trip. I have a diversity of links today. Let’s see what to pick…

1] An Ear for Poetry, written by Julian B. Gewirtz and Rachel R. Kolb, for The Poetry Foundation, is a fascinating discussion of what that metaphor means to someone who is deaf. Kolb approaches the topic from the point of view of both a reader and a writer of poetry. She then broadens the discussion by applying the metaphor to the community at large. The essay is long, but well-worth the read.

2] We are going to get technical. I feel almost as strongly about the correct use of the dash and the hyphen as I do about the Oxford comma, especially as it pertains to clarity in writing, or understanding, a poem. At The Writer’s Circle, Mary Norris, copyeditor for The New Yorker explains the difference between a hyphen and the two types of dashes (I was fascinated to learn why they are called an en dash and an em dash) in a short video.

3] For anyone wondering whether to get their MFA, Poets & Writers has put out their guide for 2016.

4] This last, I have a feeling I may have posted, but it’s worth repeating. Poets & Writers has developed an app, Poets & Writers Local. The first feature alone is worth the downloading: Find local readings, book signings, poetry slams, open mics, and other literary events. Search by author or venue. Save events to your personal calendar. View exact locations utilizing your device’s map. Share event info with friends. The download is free and available for both the iphone and android.

Have fun with these. There’s a lot of territory to cover. I will be back on Tuesday for our prompt; and next Thursday for links.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 17/09/2015 in links, poetry


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Poetics Serendipity

8:54 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Mack the Knife sung by Bobby Darin (I never get tired of it)

Howdy! My computer is up and running. My room looks habitable. Things are looking up. I hope everyone is well and ready for links.

1] I follow two newsletters regularly. I’ve mentioned Diane Lockward’s Blogalicious before, but haven’t mentioned Origami Poems in a while. One of the things I most enjoy is the poems shared from their latest micro chapbooks. Check them out and, if you are anywhere near Rhode Island, attend one of their events, for heaven’s sake!

2] Bless Trish Hopkinson for the continuing work she does researching markets for poets. This time, it’s in regard to markets that pay poets. My link will send you to her blog where she has a downloadable spread sheet.

3] Parker Molloy has written an article for Upworthy, on what makes a word real. He focuses on The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, created by John Koenig, but mentions a TED talk on the same subject. You can read, then listen!

A great trio if I say so myself. Have fun with them. I shall see you Tuesday the 15th for my regular prompt.

Happy writing, y’all.


Posted by on 03/09/2015 in links, poems, poetry


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Poem Tryouts: Beyond the Pale

9:45 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Hotel California sung by Vocal Sampling

Hello all. I hope you are well. Parents, I’m sure you are heaving sighs of relief. West Coast USA, stay safe. Those fires are even scarier than usual. The unpacking and putting away has gotten to the point that we can see what finished rooms will look like. We may even be able to pull the car into the garage, soon.

I have used my family as prompt inspirations, often. This time it’s an email back and forth between my two brothers. They had been talking about one thing and shifted off on a tangent.

Steve: Speaking of beyond the pale, did you know that there actually was a Pale you could be beyond? There was also a Pale of Calais, which now consists of a large Muslim refugee camp. When you break it down to its “roots”, a pale is a fencepost.

John: You’re all wrong. Read Rutherford’s Russka. It has to do with Jews in the Ukraine. Beyond the pale that is, not the book.

Steve: That was a Pale, but it was from the earlier English term applied to Ireland, which itself was ultimately from the Latin palus, or stake.

I love having a family that has this kind of discussion. I had looked the term up some years ago, being curious about the usage. I looked it up again, yesterday, and found myself fascinated by the other words that derive from the original pale, or stake: Pale is an old name for a pointed piece of wood driven into the ground and — by an obvious extension — to a barrier made of such stakes, a palisade or fence. Pole is from the same source, as are impale, paling and palisade. (worldwidewords)

Where does this leave us? Somewhat undirected, I think. Some possibilities:

1] Go with one of the other words that derives from the original.

2] Use the idiom in some way. You may, but don’t have to, quote the actual idiom.

3] Use two or three of the italicised words together.

4] Run with your own idea.

I shall see you Thursday for links and then I’m off for a week. Skip is homesick for Atlanta. We’ll take a quick road trip and I’ll be back here Tuesday the 15th for another prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 01/09/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


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