Author Archives: margo roby

About margo roby

I spent the first twenty years of my life in Hong Kong, where my parents met and married and stayed. I spent the second twenty years of my life following my army husband around the world with our two children. The second twenty overlapped with the third by two years. My husband’s last posting was Jakarta, Indonesia and when he retired he joined me teaching at the international school. We lived there twenty years and I discovered writing poetry. Now we are living in Atlanta. My husband teaches at the international school and I retired from teaching, so I can concentrate my energy on my poetry.

Poem Tryouts: Pack It

10:15 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to the music from Swan Lake

Hi all. I hope things are going well and that you are not in one of the two dark red spots on the weather map that indicate incredibly hot. It occurred to me a few days ago, while moving mom and unpacking us, that I had a natural topic for writing on. Let’s pack and unpack, people.

I am going to make a generalisation, often a dangerous thing to do. I am going to venture that there isn’t a person on this earth who has not packed and unpacked sometime in their lives (alright, maybe not babies — although my husband used to pack baby food in his cheeks [apparently everyone thought he had chubby cheeks] and then unpack it when left in his crib.).

Packing. Unpacking. Packing for a trip. Packing to leave a place. Packing to run away. Metaphorical packings. Unpacking. Packaging. Big gift, intimate gift. unusual packaging. Given or received. There are so many possibilities for a poem. Go nuts. If you feel like stretching, choose a form that unpacks, or packs, such as an etheree.

I hope to be here Thursday. If not, I’ll see you next Tuesday for another prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 04/08/2015 in exercises, poetry


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Poem Tryouts: Some Things Never Grow Old

2:34 p.m. — San Antonio

No time to listen, but hold this space.

Hi, everyone. I don’t want to say I forgot I had a post to write today; more like, it didn’t appear through the fog until now. Another image, to start us.

Insomnia and the Poet

Insomnia and the Poet

Ignore the title, although it’s why I picked the image, originally. That and the blowing bubbles. Some things never lose the magic they held for us in childhood. For me, it’s blowing bubbles and Crayola crayons. List the things which for you still hold that childhood magic, when you see them. Your poem can focus on an item, itself, and something you want to say about it, or you can write about its magic.

I am missing all of you, but still won’t be able to come around and comment. Any free time is spent in a rather zombified state… although, I may try to come around right now and read last week’s. A plan.

See you next Tuesday for our next prompt.

Happy writing, all.




Posted by on 28/07/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, Summer


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Poem Tryouts: Picture This

6:55 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Bach

Hi everyone. I hope your summer (winter) goes well and that families are storing enough together time to be looking forward to summer’s end. We are more or less moved in, although our stuff doesn’t arrive until next week. We have hired a storage unit for the nonce. We are also moving my mother this week, so I am going to give you an image today, and probably next week, to make my life easier. Alright, fine, because my brain has not kicked into gear, yet.

dali city of drawers

City of Drawers by Dali

This image fascinates me. I saved it, originally for the dream images, but let’s not limit ourselves. If you have an immediate idea, go for it. Otherwise, peruse the image from bottom left to top right, jotting notes on what you see (not what you think). Go over it one more time. Look at your notes and start adding what you think, as an idea for a poem.

I will try to get around to reading, but life is still a little upheaved. I will see you next Tuesday for another prompt and hopefully, be able to return to our regular schedule, next week.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 21/07/2015 in poems, poetry, Summer


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Poetics Serendipity

9:54 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to the sound of tape and paper (Skip is packing in the next room)

Hello, all. I hope everything goes well. This will be my final post from Atlanta, so let’s see what we can find to occupy ourselves with.

1] This won’t help you with your writing, but for the amusement and interest factor, I had to share: 1871 Treaty hinged on Americans agreeing not to split infinitives. And, you thought the Oxford comma was a contentious point.

2] Almost all of us deal with a painful memory in our writing, at some point. At She Writes, Bella Mahaya Carter gives us 8 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself While Writing Painful Memories.

3] This last I found interesting despite the unlikelihood of my going into the digital realm. Many of us do use technology as part and parcel of the poetry, or prose, we write. Shae Killey gives us: Digital poet Jason Nelson urges others to forge new frontiers in electronic literature.

We have one announcement. Sasha, the Happy Amateur, is putting her blog and wikems on hold for the near, and possibly far, future, while she works on building an official site.

Now, when will I reappear? We will be on the road to San Antonio, next Tuesday. I suspect we will collapse in little heaps for a couple of days. Let us pencil in Tuesday the 21st as my reappearance and, hopefully, a return to uninterrupted wordgatherings.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 09/07/2015 in links, poems, poetry


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Poem Tryouts: Dream the Day Away

9: 01a.m. — Atlanta

listening to the Tour de France

Hello, all. Heat is building around the world. It’s hotter in England than the US! We spent a wonderful week up in DC and Vermont, where the temperatures were unseasonably autumn like. With our kids visited and my Florida brother seen several times, we turn to packing out.

During one section of our trip, DC to Charlotte, NC, I was ruminating about nothing in particular. My brain was in free float mode and I wasn’t guiding it. When this happens, I find that (even more than night-time dreaming) my brain will often drift into dark areas, or problems I don’t want to deal with, at which point, I have to shut down the day-dreaming. My free dreaming tends to go way back in my past and drag things out that I have long left behind. Free float mode is also where I work on a poem.

My free-floating almost always happens when we are on a car trip. Think about your own free float times. Where are you? Go there. If possible to physically go there, do. You know this post is open for as long as needed. Let your brain go; let your mind wander. No censoring, no thinking deliberately, no worrying about notes. Float.

At some point, either stop the day dreaming, or bring it to an end and jot notes, without thinking about a poem, yet. Now you need to decide how to approach your thoughts. Dreams do not have to come into the poem. You can take your content and use it to tell a story, convey a universal truth, or to dig further into the topic and your life.

Consider the technique of repetition, of some sort, whether it be a word, a sentence structure, or one of the repetitive forms, such as the cascade.

I am going to go pack a box, but I will see you Thursday for a couple of links.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 07/07/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


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Poetics Serendipity

9:22 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Continuo in G Minor

Hi, everyone. I notice the heat is spreading across the US’s weather map, except for New England, where it will be in the 70s today. I hope they can keep that until our visit, next week! As it will be too hot to go outside, for many of you, let me see what I have found for your education and entertainment.

1] The first article, ‘5 ways writers can steel against online haters’ written by Brooke Warner for She Writes, touches on a topic that some of us have encountered and some of us might. While the article focuses on fiction writers, it pertains to any writing that the public has access to, and can comment on.

2] How about a lecture? It’s a long lecture, mind. You will need 45 minutes, or you can break up the lecture into bits and get something done every 15 minutes. Professor Geoff Ward (see credentials on site) lectures exquisitely, on the question, Why is Modern Poetry Difficult? I forgot the blog, I forgot you, I forgot there was anything around me. There is something mesmerising about his voice.

3] Because it is summer and you might have more listening time, I am also including an interview with poet Edward Hirsch: How to Read a Poem & Fall in Love with Poetry. I realise we already know, but I found a lot to learn from Hirsch. This one requires an hour and twenty minutes but you can slide the slider to 7m 50 s, if you want, as that is all introduction. If you don’t quite have the time, the interview works fine with the volume cranked up, so that you can multi-task.

If you know you can listen to only one, listen to each for five minutes and decide which you are going to enjoy the most.

I will see you again Tuesday, July 7, with a prompt.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 25/06/2015 in links, poems, poetry, writing


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Poem Tryouts: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

10:52 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to sirens wailing past on Peachtree (I’ll be glad to get settled and back to my music)

Hello, everyone. I hope you are well. I learned a couple of things about traveling and computers. I learned there is no signal approaching, in, and leaving West Plains, Missouri (except the local McDonald’s). I discovered that no matter how much I want something to be, the tech gods really don’t care (Miz Q: I had such fun. I wanted to post those poems, truly I did). And, I learned that learning a new operating system, while wanting something to be and traveling, is not a good idea.

Thus, our image prompt will be a week early, I’ll be here for Thursday’s blog and then the blog will go dark until Tuesday, July 7, for our next prompt. During that time, we will be in DC and Vermont, visiting our kids. If I find (now that I have taken the pressure off) that I am sitting around and the computer works, I may appear. I have found that having the blog and keeping in touch with you all, even on the fly, helps me in this summer of uprooting.

To the images. In keeping with the theme of dreaming, the image that started my thinking on the topic is The Poet Sleeps, by Chang Houg Ahn, which I first saw on The Mag a couple of years ago. I thought the subject of a poet sleeping and then having visions, or being visited by a muse, or dreaming, something my mind will not let go of. I will present two images here and save some for next month if I think they will allow you a different direction on the topic.


The Poet's Sleep by Chang Houg Ahn

The Poet’s Sleep by Chang Houg Ahn

The Kiss of the Muse by Cezanne

The Kiss of the Muse by Cezanne

In case you are tired of dreaming (:-)), you can strike out in the direction of a poet’s inspiration. You can write about where ideas come from — yours, specifically, or in general. You might write about a specific time when a specific poem came to you while sleeping. Or, you can be caught by the sight of the skulls outside of the window and want to write about them. Not a problem. I took care of the dreaming part with the images. You go where your mind wants. You do not have to reference the paintings, in any way, unless you wish to.

See you Thursday for a couple of links.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 23/06/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


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