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Poetics Serendipity

8:06 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to a sampling from Google Play, based on my play-lists

Hello, all. How are you? Enh, you say? Come with me and wander through some distractions.

1] The first has all sorts of possibilities for distraction. Poet Robert Peake is one of a small group I have been following since the inception of this blog. He has written a lovely little essay ‘How Bedtime Stories Restored My Faith in Humanity‘. Sounds heavy, but it isn’t. In his essay Peake describes a recent epiphany regarding paper and ink books: I never thought a slim paperback of children’s poems, packed with silly illustrations, sing-song rhymes, and bottom humour would restore my faith that printed books will endure.

As for further distractions, you will have noticed that Peake writes beautifully. Look at the right hand column and check out some of his other posts. He also mentions a free, live online poetry broadcast and gives the link to investigate this project which he helps produce.

2] NaNoWriMo is hoving into sight and while many of you sharpen your pencils, you may have forgotten that Robert Lee Brewer has a November Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge. I have known some of you do both challenges [I will wait until November to give you a hard time]. Brewer tells us: While I’ve always considered the April challenge as a free-for-all; November is when I try (though don’t always succeed) to write around a specific theme. The article to which I have linked you, gives the guidelines.

3] This next is a weightier, but none the less interesting read. Kimberly Veklerov wrote an article for the Daily Californian, titled Poet in Motion about Robert Hass. One of my theories regarding the writing of poetry is that not only should we read a lot of poetry, but we should read about some poets and their work. Ideas spring from a variety of sources many of which we aren’t expecting. Reading what a writer says about his work can be helpful to our own. Besides, I love the final statement by Hass: Grief is the poetry of the world. What happens to bodies is the prose.

That should do us for today. I shall see you tomorrow for the prompts roundup; Tuesday for our image prompt – we might go surreal again; and Thursday for more links and such.

Happy writing, everyone.

P.S. Did you notice that all three posts involve Roberts? I didn’t notice until proofreading.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 23/10/2014 in links, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: It Was an Accident

7:38 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Burl Ives singing A Little Bitty Tear — that’s what happens when I put my entire music library on shuffle

Hello there! I have realised that Fall weather is an adrenaline shot. What gorgeous weather we are having. Not, mind you, that I’m actually going outside my cave. Twelve hours ago, today’s prompt was something else. While trying to lull myself to sleep, I thought about topics to add to my collection of possible prompts; this one came to mind and never left. When I woke this morning still framing the post, I decided to go with it.

Some time in my youth, when I was still young enough to need our amah along when I went somewhere, my younger brother John, Chen, and myself were up at the top of the Peak. We loved our trips to the top — hauled up by the Peak Tram — where we walked the circle around the mountain. We never got tired of the view, or of all the places to play. We were on the last leg, probably tired and full of fresh air and running around.

There was a set of stairs. I’m pretty sure my brother was involved somehow, but that’s all my memory is going to give me on the how. What I remember is the stairs’ rough edges and steepness. They plunged down the side of the mountain and seemed an odd place for stairs. The only thing we could see was trees and rocks. Why a staircase? I started down. I was in a hurry. I’m pretty sure I was angry. That’s when I fell.

The topic I was mulling was accidents. The event I describe came immediately to mind. I’m sure there have been others, but this is the one my memory is insistent about. Think about accidents, for a moment. They can be ones that involve you, or a friend, or you saw on television. Jot down likely ones and add notes as you think of details. The accidents can be tiny and seemingly unimportant, or large with ramifications.

Why does each accident occupy a memory cell? What is it about each event that keeps it with you? You can write a straight forward poem recalling an accident. Or, you can reach for a larger universal truth with the accident merely highlighting that truth. The speaker might, or might not, be you. Consider writing in present tense as if the accident is happening now.

Remember: when in doubt, go with whatever came to mind as you read the above.

What happened to me? Nothing broken, but the most gorgeous black eye I have ever seen, on anyone.

I shall see you Thursday for links; Friday for this week’s prompt roundup; and next Tuesday for another prompt from me.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
18 Comments

Posted by on 21/10/2014 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poetry Freeforall: It’s That Time

8:29 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to a live feed from Hong Kong

Hello, all. Ready for the roundup? Forgive me if I am abrupt, and if there are typos, or I am less than articulate. Things are getting bad in HK and that is where my attention is focused.

Mindlovemisery presents its usual bounty of poetry and prose prompts: fairytales, haiku, shadormas, and more. The prompt that caught my eye asks us to write about yourself through the eyes of someone else. Head on over.

sepia sat 2Sepia Saturday has a lovely lantern slide image for us to study. The possibilities suggested are: Street traders, roadside artisans, menders, cobblers, tools-of-the-trade, hand-colouring and lantern slides. Or, if you just want to post an old photograph or two, that can be your contribution (which is fun, isn’t it?). Get writing and posting, people. sunday whirl

The Sunday Whirl is beloved by many. Brenda has a gift for choosing words for her weekly Wordle. This week, she tells us, fellow poet Catherine McGregor contributed the words and they are intriguing. I plan to dash over to check the poems created from these words. If you join The Sunday Whirl‘s Facebook page, you can get the week’s list a couple of days early. Check it out.

adele kennyAt The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, Adele shares the first poem she had to memorise and challenges us to heed what the great poet Marianne Moore once said, “Poetry is all nouns and verbs.”  Adele gives us a noun list and a verb list. Visit to find out what to do with them.

Anyone can write a limerick, but a good limerick is an entirely other matter. I learned that at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. One advantage to writing a limerick, or two, is they are short. You can post them in comments 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 fun photograph, Self-portrait, by Vivian Maier. The more I studied it the more portraits I spotted. There are a number of interesting possible commentaries to spark a poem from this. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Laurie Kolp wants us to consider graveyards. Cemeteries are one of my favourite places to visit, to stroll through and read the brief histories. Go check out what Laurie has to say.FPR-200

The Found Poetry Review give us a chance to play with another underrated form, one difficult to do well, the acrostic [it helps if you write a longform and don't capitalise the beginning of every line] Head over to see what it’s all 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 blood moon, story in a song, and super powers.IGWRTButtonrsz

Imaginary garden with real toads has a prompt I could not resist. I ignored the one with lovely marble statues and went with Isadora and her request that we imagine a world where the Zombie Revolution is upon us, and you have holed up in a bunker, which you cannot leave. I mean, really. How can you resist? Visit to read  the whole. Go play with the toads.

Red Wolf Poems and Barbara give us another hard to resist prompt: Write a Gilligan poem. Again, I mean really. Head on over to read the whole prompt.

Yes, yes this is a new entry. Wordsmith Studio has a weekly (sometimes every other weekly) prompt. This week’s is A wordsmith studioDark and Stormy Night. Go on over to read the prompt and explore the studio. They have been around a while now (I’m proud to say I have been with them, albeit quietly, from the start) and I’m glad I can show them off.

Poets United Midweek Motif gives us a topic that many of you are particularly fond of, trees. This time, Susan accompanies the motif with poems and several van Gogh paintings of trees. Visit to read what Susan says.

dverse-nightime-finalWe’re meeting the bar over at dVerse where we have a fairly new form to try: The Pleiades. They’re friendly folks at the Bar, so stick around for some conversation.

Go to it, poets et al. I shall see you Tuesday for a word prompt; Thursday for links; and Friday for the next roundup of prompt sites.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on 17/10/2014 in exercises, links, poetry, writing

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:33 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to They Rage On sung by Dan Seals

Hello, everyone. As Fall and Spring try to make their way across much of the world, Washington DC gets hit with everything; as my daughter put it when I checked that she was home in one piece, It’s downright apocalyptic round these parts. They got hit with a hailstorm accompanied by thunderstorm and cyclone warnings. Exciting times. I’ll try to provide an eye of calm with a few things to read.

1] The first is an announcement from Red Wolf Journal. Red Wolf Journal requests your submissions for its Winter 2014/2015 Issue #4, and invites your poems to “Play. The journal has an interesting shtick: Poems are published on an on-going and random basis on this site. Each posting is announced on the Red Wolf Journal page on Facebook. Your poem may be published at any time from October 2014 to January 2015. The entire collection will be released in PDF format in January 2015.

Head over to read the submissions guidelines. You might click on the editors tab and read about your editors. Misky and Barbara are helming this issue. Deadline is 21 December 2014.

2] I’m going to let Robert Lee Brewer do the talking for this next post, which he titles The Poetry World A–Z. (There is an audible ad, but you can pause it after it starts — on the right, scroll down)

Poets, save this post! It just may be the most incredible, informational, controversial, and blah-blah-blah poetry-related post you ever read! Ever!!!!

After saving the post, be sure to share it with everyone–whether they like poetry or not. Because this post is about uncovering the wide world of poetry by using the…wait for it…alphabet! Spectacular, I know, and yes, I’m being silly right now.

This list includes poets, events, publishers, and more. Any and all omissions were either made intentionally (because I’m a snob) or more likely through pure ignorance (because I don’t know everything–that’s why blog posts have comments). If you see any glaring omissions, please don’t keep it all to yourself; share in the comments below.

I thoroughly enjoyed the list and Robert’s inimitable style.

3] Check out this next bit of play, Word as Image, literally (using the word as it should be used). Ignore all the bumph surrounding and push the play icon. The whole will take you a little under three minutes. Enjoy (someone has a strange sense of humour… thank goodness).

I will see you tomorrow for the prompts roundup; Tuesday for my next prompt; and Thursday for more links and such.

Happy writing, all.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 16/10/2014 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: Wide Open Spaces

7:56 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Home From the Forest sung by Gordon Lightfoot

Hello, all. I am back from an exhilarating four days with our son, his wife, and our grand-daughter who is the bees knees. They live in one of Vermont’s many tiny urban areas [really, it's a village], surrounded by the countryside — yes, the leaves were gorgeous. That leads us into our prompt. No, not the leaves, but urban versus rural.

The novel Once Upon a River, by  Bonnie Jo Campbell, emphasises ‘landscapes liberating wildness‘. For our purposes, landscape is an  expanse of rural scenery, usually extensive, that can be seen from a single viewpoint. Landscape implies few, if any, buildings. While it does not cover the sea because, well, it’s land, I often see it used inclusively.

Wherever you are, picture a landscape, or several landscapes, and jot notes on how you feel, or what you think, about those scapes. If you need visuals trawl through Google’s images — their choices are interesting. I caught myself mentally putting together a Pinterest board and realised my choices of landscape would differ from Google’s collection.

Okay? Thoroughly inhabiting your feelings about non-urban places? Here’s my question for you: Do you try to escape civilization or to make peace with it? Didn’t expect that, did you?

Having made you inhabit landscapes for a while, you may, of course, write about the ‘liberating wildness’ and what that means to you (or your speaker, if you decide to present another point of view). If you go this way, you might allude to the confinement felt in so-called civilization.

Or, you can focus on civilisation as a cage, something that blocks freedom — what freedoms are inhibited is up to you.

Or, you might see wide open spaces as the inhibitor. You might want to write about the liberating freedom of Costco, or a mall, or downtown, places with plenty of people and things.

I realise I’m giving you a somewhat loose exercise, but I’m curious about it all. You might write a point counterpoint poem, where landscape and cityscape are pitted against each other, or rub shoulders in an uneasy alliance.

Go to it! I shall see you Thursday for links; Friday for this week’s prompt sites roundup; and next Tuesday for the next prompt from me.

Happy writing, all.

 
32 Comments

Posted by on 14/10/2014 in exercises, poems, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: There and Back Again

2:15 p.m. — Atlanta, as I write; Essex, Vermont, as you read

listening to the shower

Hello there. I’m in Vermont. I thought I had another week, which shows you how conscious I was of actual dates. We are up here to see our grand-daughter, Hazel, and to celebrate our son’s 40th birthday. Even knowing my age and being good at arithmetic, I find it hard to say ‘son’ and ’40th birthday’ in the same sentence.

I will give you today’s prompt, but will probably be dark Thursday, and definitely be dark, Friday. Here is the link to last Friday, which will get you to everyone’s site and you can go from there.

I had been mulling the connection between revolve and revolution for a couple of weeks before Hong Kong erupted. As it is my home, I have been following the Umbrella Revolution closely [live feed] and decided to make those words our focus.

In the etymology of revolve, the oldest is the Latin: re “back or, again” + volvere “to roll”. Additionally, unroll, unwind; happen again, return, go over, and repeat. Not a turning, or circling of any kind [more a back and forth-ing], nor anything inflammatory. In the 15th c. came the added meanings, of turning something over in one’s mind, and to cause to travel in an orbit around a central point.

This becomes the first of the possibilities for a poem. Think of a time, an incident, an event, when you did something, watched something, or thought something that in some way corresponds to the oldest meanings of revolve. That’s my preferred focus for you (i.e. I’m curious as to the poems that might arise), but I know you well. You might also consider one of the 15th c. meanings.

Given the meanings, also consider a form that will suit; although you do not have to use a form, this begs for that kind of play.

Revolution began with the revolving of celestial bodies and only became used to indicate a shift in affairs of state, in the 15th c.; the political meaning, the overthrow of an established political system was “first recorded c.1600, derived from French, and was especially applied to the expulsion of the Stuart dynasty under James II in 1688 and transfer of sovereignty to William and Mary’ [I gave you all that because I got a kick out of the historical origin].

This brings us to the second possibility and that is a poem to do with a matter of revolution in your life, or the world’s.

I shall see you for sure, next Tuesday for another prompt. I’m off to play with Hazel.

Happy writing, all.

 

 
28 Comments

Posted by on 07/10/2014 in miscellanea

 

Poetry Freeforall: Grab Bag

7:45 a.m. –Atlanta

listening to Growing Up sung by Run River North

Hello, all. It’s October. Ahem NaNoWriMo-ers: time to start warming up. One way is to do all the narrative prompts as an exercise. The rest of us? Play, of course!

Mindlovemisery has a number of narrative prompts, that are fun into the bargain. They range from fairy tales to scary tales and will stretch your tonal muscles and give you some practice in structuring a story. Strictly poetry people, I spotted two image prompts, a wordle, and a couple of short form prompts. Such largesse! Head on over.

sepia sat 2Sepia Saturday gives us a Rockwell painting for this week’s spark  Marilyn also says, I’ll just mention that there is a Facebook group for Sepia Saturday contributors. Why not join us as we have a lot of fun and post some interesting items there. You will need to have posted on Sepia Saturday at least once; then we’ll welcome you with open arms. Get writing and posting, people. sunday whirl

The Sunday Whirl is beloved by many. Brenda has a gift for choosing words for her weekly Wordle. This week, she tells us, Fellow poet Pamela Kaler Sayers engaged in a word association with me to come up with this week’s words. If you join The Sunday Whirl‘s Facebook page, you can get the week’s list a couple of days early. Check it out.

adele kennyAt The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, Adele has a guest prompter, Peter Murphy (whose writing getaway I am determined to get to this year). Peter is talking postcard poems and apologies. Visit.

Anyone can write a limerick, but a good limerick is an entirely other matter. I learned that at Mad Kane’s Humor BlogMadeleine gives us a limerick she has written and our challenge is to use the same first line. She always gives a little wiggle room. Go over and check it out, to read and laugh, and maybe write.magpie

Magpie Tales has a lovely paintingAutumn in Madeira by Jacek Yerka. Look at this one a while. It’s a charming piece and the more I look at it, the more I see. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Sumana gives us a little magic to play with. See what she says on the topic and think of all the ways magic has been part of your life. FPR-200

 

The Found Poetry Review has a fun prompt. Okay, yes, I think they’re all fun, but this made me want to stop writing and try it right now. The title is dissonance but maybe not in the way you think of the word. Head over to see what it’s all 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 autumn almanac, waterfall and the flip side.IGWRTButtonrsz

Imaginary garden with real toads has a couple of prompts that I couldn’t choose between, so you get the general address and you can make the decision [or do both]. One prompt is an offering from Hannah, which means a spectacular piece of nature; the second is from Mama Zen and has to do with personification, a difficult technique to do well. Go play with the toads.

Red Wolf Poems gives us prompts rich in detail and depth. Barbara talks about technology from a couple of different perspectives and then gives us an exercise that uses technology as a detail, not the poem’s core topic. Interesting. Head on over to read the whole prompt.

Poets United Midweek Motif presents us with a motif each week. Susan accompanies the motif with quotes, photographs, and the occasional video, to spark ideas. This week’s motif is children’s books. Visit to read what Susan says.

dverse-nightime-finalHey! Oulipoemers, here’s one for us! Those who have not written an oulipo poem, try it. dVerse focuses on N+7, but also say that we can pick our own form of constraint. They’re friendly folks at the Bar, so stick around for some conversation.

Go to it, poets et al. I shall see you Tuesday for a word prompt; Thursday for links; and Friday for the next roundup of prompt sites.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
15 Comments

Posted by on 03/10/2014 in exercises, links, poetry, writing

 

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