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Poetry Freeforall: One Month Down

first photo 308:18 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Poems sung by Mandy Patinkin

Hello, everyone. Massachusetts, are you with us? Have you dug out from under? I love to follow the Weather Channel when a storm is on and I couldn’t help but notice that this storm had no interest in any place other than Massachusetts. It was strange to watch it circling the state.

Let’s see how successfully techy I can be. I received a request from Tawnya Smith (who many of us know as Yousei) to post a submission opportunity. Tawnya is the Poetry Editor for The Mayo Review, the literary journal at her university. I took a screen-shot which appears to have worked well (and which, I notice, allows you to see what I’m up to with all the tabs). Note that the deadline is next Friday.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week is the image of the woman and lily pads. Check out their other prompts for the week.sunday whirl

At The Sunday Whirl,  Brenda is having problems with her linking service, so be sure to read her note to us. Then, wordle. If you join The Sunday Whirls Facebook page, you can get the week’s list a couple of days early.

pink girl ink

Pink.Girl.Ink. Stacy is asking for one of my favourites: postcard poetry. By now, you know she always has suggestions and alternatives, so hie yourself over.

The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, asks us to try our hand at lunes, one syllable based and one, word based. Head over to read the full prompt and for Adele’s suggestions and tips.

Make tracks to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. 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 somewhat surreal, partly because it’s a close-up. It’s pretty cool. 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 several choices for a seasonal poem: this season, somewhere. Visit to see her photographs and read her ideas.FPR-200

At the Found Poetry Review we are given the annual Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annual letter as our source material. Go over to see what the prompt says and for a link.

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 messing with your favorites, glitter bomb, and snowtastrophe. Visit to find out what the prompts are about.IGWRTButtonrsz

Hannah is here to transform our day with the beauty of nature. At imaginary garden with real toads Hannah gives us lavender. Go play with the toads.

Poets United Midweek Motif gives us humour. Visit to read the poems and quotations Susan has chosen. See what she has to say on the topic and the other bits of inspiration she has for us.sasha

NEW ENTRANT: Yay! Sasha Alexandra (who many of us have known for a long time) enters the fray. She will be posting every Thursday at The Happy Amateur and is taking on Wikems. Don’t know what a wikem is? Head on over. You’ll like them.

 

dverseOver at dVerse Tony Maude challenges us to a form… his adaptation of a cinquain. These are hard, and therefore satisfying, to do well. Head to the bar. They love visitors; I smell hot apple brandy.

So many fun things to play with. I shall see you Tuesday for my prompt; Thursday for links and such; and Friday for more prompt site roundups.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 30/01/2015 in exercises, links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:15 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to One Night in Bangkok for the second time — it’s Houston’s song of the week and I love the beat; even more, I love his presentation of it, so you have the link; after all it’s link day and song and poetry… besides, there is a wonderful example of using an extended metaphor, in the blog

Hello, all. Does Margo sit around all day and look for links, you may have wondered. Yes, yes she does. I have quite a collection, which is why I will sometimes give a link to something written last year, or older. The good news about writing articles is that they don’t get old. Today’s group of links is rather diverse.

1] Let’s start with National Poetry Month’s poster for this coming April: 2015 poetry month

2] A reminder to register with the Found Poetry Review for their Poetry Month challenge, PoMoSco. So far, 170 poets from 37 states and 7 countries, have registered.

3] In my inbox: Drunken Boat, one of the world’s oldest electronic journals of the arts and the winner of a South by Southwest Web Award, is adding to our staff. We’re accepting applications for the positions of Managing Editor/co-Managing Editor, Production Editor, and NonFiction Editor. Full position descriptions available here.

We’ve been publishing an immense variety of work, especially innovative and experimental literature and arts, since 1999. We are an entirely volunteer staff, dedicated to literature and art and the internet (well, more like literature and the art on the internet, but we’re fans of the medium too). According to The Review Review:  “Drunken Boat is, or should be, central to any discussion of literature online or online literature . . . Drunken Boat is a . . . beautifully presented, carefully maintained space.”

Applicants with familiarity with working online and working in publishing are preferred. This is a great opportunity to be responsible with an independent publisher that publishes books and a highly-acclaimed journal and that reaches over a hundred thousand unique visitors annually worldwide. If you’re interested, please send a CV and a cover letter to Managing Editor Erica Mena at editorATdrunkenboatDOTcom

In case anyone is interested in an online editorial job.

4] You may have seen this on Facebook, but I don’t want to take a chance. If you haven’t read Neil Gaiman’s Advice to Those Who Just Can’t Get Their Thoughts on Paper, make sure your mouth is not full of coffee when you read.

I told you I had a diverse collection, today. I know, it looks long, but the post is actually short. I wanted to include the entire text of the letter from Drunken Boat. I will see you tomorrow for the week’s roundup of prompts; Tuesday for my prompt; and next Thursday for links and things.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on 29/01/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: Take Wing

7:49 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Alabama singing If You’re Gonna Play in Texas

Hello, everyone. New England people, take care. The snow continues. Down here, I’m just trying to hang onto a suggestion of winter. What can I say? I like winter clothing.

I have an unusual image that I found recently on indgoblue’s tumblr site (indgo is not a typo — someone already has indigo). The image draws me with a strong emotional, almost visceral, pull.

wings indigoblue

The image is presented as vertical. I think that’s part of the pull. I don’t think my reaction would be as strong with a horizontal presentation. There are a number of ways you can approach this:

1] Do you have an image that has an emotional or visceral pull on you? You may use that instead of this. If you do, it would be lovely if you can post the image with your poem.

2] Part of the pull, for me, is the Icarus thing. Icarus hounds my poetry brain, always has. You might write a poem that has something to do with Icarus, or with the themes suggested by the myth.

3] Wings. Is there something about wings that you want to address. For that matter, flight, or flying.

4] You may have noticed something in the image that fascinates you. Write about it.

As I say when posting The Mag’s link every week: You do not have to write about the whole image. Write about what you respond to. I look forward to seeing what you fasten on.

I shall see you Thursday for links and things; Friday for this week’s roundup of prompts (we have a new entrant); and Tuesday for my regular prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
30 Comments

Posted by on 27/01/2015 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Poetry Freeforall: Challenge Yourself

first photo 308:19 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Yesterday’s Songs sung by Neil Diamond

Hello, everyone. Another week down and a weekend to write. Winter appears to have fled far, far North. Anyone feeling uneasy about February?

First, a reminder to submit to Gnarled Oak. They are reading for Issue 3, due out 15 April. To get an idea of what they are looking for, visit.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week involves a bit of play. You don’t want to create a monster? Then the other prompt that caught my attention is the haiku one. Check out their other prompts for the week.sunday whirl

At The Sunday Whirl,  Brenda is taking time off while she travels. Watch this spot. If you join The Sunday Whirls Facebook page, you can get the week’s list a couple of days early.

pink girl ink

Pink.Girl.Ink. Whoa! Stacy has changed the look of the site. Focus, Margo: The prompt is fun and based on the art of Tarot cards. You don’t have to own a set, or even believe in it. Think of this as an image prompt. To see her example cards and read what she says, go on over.

The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, gives us birds. Adele asks for a theme that somehow relates to or juxtaposes bird life and human life. She also gives us a list of birds and their symbolic associations. Head over to read the full prompt.

Make tracks to 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 would seem to be a What’s the story, kind of image. The photo needs close study, as there are many details not apparent, at first. Remember that you do not have to write about the whole, or write about the image directly. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Gabriella gives several choices for writing about writing, so visit to read her ideas.FPR-200

Oh, what fun. At the Found Poetry Review: “What does it mean when you dream you’re being chased by an elephant?” Or: “Can I get a book telling me how to be mistress of ceremonies at a musical orgy?” Go on over to find out what that’s about. I promise fun, even hilarity, even if you don’t end up with a poem.

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 stability, going backwards, and maladies. Visit to find out what the prompts are about.IGWRTButtonrsz

Mama Zen is in the house, at imaginary garden with real toads, where she gives us a quote from Poe and a question, as inspiration. Go play with the toads.

Poets United Midweek Motif gives us fashion. Even if you are thinking ‘Fashion? Enh.’ go read the two poems Susan has chosen. See what she has to say on the topic and the other bits of inspiration she has for us.dverse

Over at dVerse Brian challenges us to a form… our choice. Then he wants us to, well, go see what he says. Head to the bar. They love visitors; I can hear the clinking of ice.

I shall see you Tuesday for my image prompt; Thursday for links and such; and Friday for more prompt site roundups.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on 23/01/2015 in exercises, links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:36 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Beetle sung by Run River North — I love their sound, particularly the lead’s voice

Hey, everyone. How are you? It’s one of those mornings when I wanted my second cup of coffee as I was finishing the last drops of my first. I am holding out. Links first.

1] As we all know, there are many, many, articles written on creativity and how-tos. Every now and then I find a particularly well-written article, or one focused on things I have forgotten, no matter how many times I read them. I figure one of my tasks is to put things in front of you, every now and then, as a reminder. This link takes you to Write to Done: Unmissable Articles on Writing. They have collected ten articles, on the subject of creativity, in one place (which is a bonus for us). How to Be Creative and Find Your Brilliance gives us topics that tell us naps and messy desks are fine and what to do in case of burnout. Many are written with humour.

2] The next link is one to grab your coffee, or tea, and sit back to enjoy. Jennifer Schaffer, of BuzzFeed Books, has collected 51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature, as proposed by members of the BuzzFeed community. I found it fun to see what was chosen and to stop and ruminate over many, remembering the novels, plays, or poems, from which they came. (Also, of course, to wonder why some were chosen, or some not put forward)

3] I received an email from Sasha A. Palmer, to tell me that Creative Bloomings has risen from the ashes. The new site is named, appropriately, Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild. Walt Wojtanik says of the new site, that he hopes to take it back to his and Marie Elena’s original concept for a poetry group. To read what that is, you can read the opening statement. The site goes live, February 1.

I will see you tomorrow for the week’s roundup of prompt sites; next Tuesday for our image prompt; and Thursday for more links and such.

Happy writing, everyone.

P.S. I am collecting sites that help us with graphics online, whether it be our own photographs, or something we find on the Internet, that we want on our sites. If you have a favourite source, let me know, and I’ll pull everything together for a post.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on 22/01/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: Opposites Attract

7:55 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s Beautiful Night

Hello, all. We are going to work with an adaptation of a prompt by Gray Jacobik, from Diane Lockward’s book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop (of course I own it — you know how I like this kind of book). We have written counterpoint poems before, where the points stand in opposition to each other. This exercise asks us to pair opposites, to have them run through our poems woven, one to the other.

Jacobik tells us that Yeats believed these opposites, or contraries, are what moves history forward, as well as good poems, making sure a noble act was paired with a despicable one, day with night, interior with exterior, the sacred with the profane, the objective with the subjective, and so on. Yin and yang.

She suggests that we consider having opposite moods within a poem, shifts to the opposite pole on the emotional spectrum.

A shift in diction toward words that carry opposite connotations is an area that might be great fun (this is where I tinker for hours). If your words have connotations of lightness of being, ground them with words that carry the opposite feeling. A subtler contrary within diction choices is sound. If your words are light, be sure the words that oppose them are heavy in feel and sound.

Give us imagery (any and all of the senses) that allows us to see the threads working with and against each other to move the poem forward.

If you are in a hurry, pick more obvious pairings such as seasons, time, place, or personality traits. Otherwise, look at the ones Jacobik mentions above, when discussing a Yeats’ poem.

Topic? Ah, well. The whole wide world, or something small and intimate, is yours. Lockward gives us, ‘In Answer to Amy’s Question What’s a Pickerel,’ by Stanley Plumly, and ‘Anatomy Lesson,’ by Lisken Van Pelt Dus. A fish and matters of the heart are the examples she chose for us. I could not find the text to Van Pelt Dus’ poem so have found another by her that has intriguing, more subtle contraries, ‘Virginia’s Walking Stick‘. Read them if you aren’t sure where you are going. As you go through, find the contraries, remembering that some contraries are stylistic. Otherwise, read them afterwards.

Give this a try. While it’s not an easy exercise, it is a satisfying one and a good stretch. Don’t worry about the contraries so much for your initial draft. Be aware and when you go back in, you can strengthen the threads. I look forward to what you come up with. If it’s a struggle and you have initial work you don’t want to post on your blog, post it in the comments so we can see what you were aiming for.

I will see you Thursday for links; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and Tuesday for our image prompt.

Happy writing, all.

P.S. The italics are Gray Jacobi’s words. Any bolding is mine.

 

 
27 Comments

Posted by on 20/01/2015 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Poetry Freeforall: Write! April is Around the Corner

first photo 309:53 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Vivaldi

Hello, all. We have blue sky and sunshine. My cacti are very happy. I’m a little late, so let’s get to it.

First, a reminder to submit to Gnarled Oak. They are reading for Issue 3, due out 15 April. To get an idea of what they are looking for, visit.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week is a list of quotes from Pema Chodron. Check out their other prompts for the week.sunday whirl

At The Sunday Whirl,  Brenda gives our set of words to Wordle. I am tempted… 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. Stacy talks a bit about poem sketching and has given us a bunch of mini-wordles with which to practice; she suggests we use them in any combination we wish. To see the lists and read what she says, go on over.

The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog, has this warning from Adele: Whatever you do, don’t read the articles, only the headlines. She has a new take on using headlines as inspiration and a list of tips. Head over.

Make tracks to 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. The photo looks a trifle bizarre until you figure out the photographer’s purpose. Remember that you do not have to write about the whole, or write about the image directly. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, Mary says: shoes or feet. Visit to see what about them and to read a fabulous Bukowski poem.FPR-200

Oh, what fun. At the Found Poetry Review: “What does it mean when you dream you’re being chased by an elephant?” Or: “Can I get a book telling me how to be mistress of ceremonies at a musical orgy?” Go on over to find out what that’s about. I promise fun, even hilarity, even if you don’t end up with a poem.

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 stability, awkward mistake, and kindling. Visit to find out what the prompts are about.IGWRTButtonrsz

Fireblossom, at imaginary garden with real toads, gives us a lovely wintry photograph and Vivaldi’s Winter, as inspiration. Go play with the toads.

Poets United Midweek Motif gives us birthdays. Head on over to see what Susan has to say on the topic and the different bits of inspiration she has for us.dverse

Over at dVerse Victoria revisits a new form developed by Brian, the ten-word. Head to the bar. They love visitors and rumour has it they are offering hot buttered rum.

I shall see you Tuesday for my prompt; Thursday for links and such; and Friday for more prompt site roundups.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 16/01/2015 in exercises, links, poetry

 

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