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.

PoMoSco Day 21

Snarl… not really, but I will be glad to get some of my days back. Today’s instructions: Select a source text . Copy down all of the questions it contains. Create a poem made up of a series of questions from your list. Working with a digital text? Press CTRL+F on a PC or COMMAND+F on a Mac, then search for the “?” character (no quotes). Alternately, use FPR Book Reviews Editor Doug Luman’s “Questions” tool. Select “Questions” from the drop-down list, paste your source text into the box, then press the “Run” button.

Can you imagine creating a poem that works, but only uses questions? My questions come from a book of questions and I enjoyed drawing out the ones I wanted to use: What Tree is Cut During Moonlight?

Other questions:

james moore: hadn’t you rather

Rebecca Siegel: What I Really Want to Know is This

Zann Carter: What Have You Done With It?

Nancy Chen Long: Let Me Ask You This

J.Lynn Sheridan: Two Novices in a Boat

Misky: Are Those Shadows Me?

Barbara C:

Richard Walker: Won’t You Be Scared?

Doug Luman: Burrowmaking

Alright, alright, I’ll stop, but there are so many I like, such cleverness and beauty. Enjoy and I will see you tomorrow.

One more from someone who occasionally shadows us: de’s Won’t you have a sip of ocean?


Posted by on 21/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 20

Twenty down, ten to go. I am pretty sure I do not have ten poems sitting and waiting, so I need to get to work. Today’s instructions are the kind I like, as they offer almost total freedom to remix: Head to your local library or bookstore, making a note of things you see on your journey there — construction,  a used car dealership, a printing shop or a group of birds.

Make one of the things you saw your research topic and find five books. Compose a poem using only the words and phrases found on the first five pages of each text, excluding introductory matter.

I had a fairly wide assortment of texts, and had making sure I had at least one phrase from each book, in the poem. Having this slight constraint allows for using unusual, or unthought of descriptions: A Chorus Blooms.

Other journeys:

Doug Luman: Bear-Proof Fence

Misky: Ley Line Histories

Barbara C: Italian Haiku

Laurie Kolp: On Living Life

Richard Walker: pedal to the mettle

Vinita Agrawal: Blue Green

Enjoy and I will see you tomorrow for more.



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Posted by on 20/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 19

I have to laugh at the poem I wrote for this prompt. The instructions are: Choose a television program, podcast, or movie of at least 30 minutes in length. Transcribe what you hear. You won’t be able to keep up, and that’s the point. When completed, create a poem out of your transcribed words. You can delete — but not reorder — your text.

The poem you will read leapt out almost immediately. I tried for days to make something else work: The Colour of Sapphires.

Other set pieces:

Barbara C: American Family

Misky: The Basics

Tara Miner: how the world ends

E. Kristin Anderson: Powerful and Undeniable

Richard Walker: with splayed legs

Just a few, today.Tomorrow’s… well, I don’t know. Show up and we’ll see. Enjoy.

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Posted by on 19/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 18

I’m going to get up May 1st and not know what to do with myself, aren’t I? The instructions for today’s poem are simple: Find a two page spread, in a book or magazine, and pick words and phrases you like. Keep them in the order found and create a poem. As with so many found poems, the source text is crucial: Letting Go.

Other open books:

Lori Brack: An interior artifact

Zann Carter: And All the Spaces of Our Past

Barbara C: Amazon

Misky: A Stream of Sky

Doug Luman: Self-portrait of City in Death Mask

Mary Bast: A Handmade Card

Jen Karetnick: To Make Pies So That the Birds May Be Alive in Them

Richard Walker: boxes and holes

Have fun!


Posted by on 18/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 17

I warned you this prompt was a little strange. I had to give up understanding the instructions and just follow them: You’ll need your source text and a “seed” phrase of at least 20 characters, which can be related or not to your source. If your source text is on baseball, you might choose “Take me out to the ballgame”. If your source text is the Beatles, you might choose, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.

Visit the Diastic Poem Generator. Enter your seed phrase and source text in the corresponding boxes, then click “Generate.” The program will create a “spell-through” of your text. Using the “take me out to the ballgame” example, the program will search through your text for the first word that has T in the first position (it might be a word like “the,” “travel,” or “true”) and add it to your word list. Next, it searches for a word that has “a” in the second position (e.g. “cap,” “batboy,” “game”), and so on, until it reaches the end of your seed text.

Add the results to your word bank, and keep clicking “Generate” to add additional iterations. For a more experimental text, keep the resulting text intact. Otherwise, remove text to create your poem — but try to keep the words in order. You’ll read my process at the poem: landscape world never lonely

Other generations:

Vinita Agrawal: War Torn

Misky: Those Thump Stick Poems

Gary Glauber: The Riot

Lori Brack: Unimaginable Rewilding

Barbara C: Eyewitness

Richard Walker: you who held me all your life   note what can be done with a long generation

S.E.Ingraham: Ships That Pass

Scott Wiggerman: A Separate Reality   see how a final poem is arrived at

I know, I know, but I like so many of them. Enjoy. I will see you tomorrow.





Posted by on 17/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 16

Okay. Where are we? Today’s prompt. Right. The instructions: Choose a source text. Next, go to The Text-Mixing Desk at The Lazarus Corporation, paste your text, adjust the controls and click “Start the Mix!” Copy down the result exactly as it comes out of the Text Mixing Desk. Repeat the mixing process with additional sections of text if you want a longer language bank to work with. Craft your poem from the results using words IN THE ORDER they appear in the original. You may delete words but not reorder them.

A couple of things. If you try this and like the possibilities, the instruction to keep the words in order is for this prompt. Also, I prefer the text mixer at: Language Is a Virus, but I use the one given to check possibilities. I loved playing with this and allowing metaphorical possibilities to run through the poem: Enter Here.

Other blends — remember, we have to keep the words in the order they come out of the text machine (although we can cut):

Martha Schuh: Reverence

Gary Glauber: Heart troubles in our native land

Rebecca Siegel: The Hinges

Mary Bast: The Eye Perceives

Karen Massey: I was margins

Andrea Janelle Dickens: 13

Tomorrow’s prompt is a little crazier. I’ll see you then. Enjoy.



Posted by on 16/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 15

Whoo. I am beginning to flag. How many days are left? Ack. Really? Today’s bit of fluff comes from these directions: Locate a community bulletin board — try places like a library, coffee shop or university campus. Create a poem using only words found on the posters and fliers. I used a Starbucks bulletin board: Bonus Star.

Other bulletin boards:

Kristina McDonald: Self Portrait in Seven Parts

Misky: Opportunities

Robbie Bolluyt: you’re a Darkroom

Richard Walker: exclamation point

James Benger: Crimson Maple Ridge (sometimes a double spacer gets by the brain — for me the spacing adds to the poem’s working)

Ingrid Jendrzejewsk: Ask in Entrance Hall

Barbara C: Give Us This Day

Debra Bennett: Dust Off Your Dancing Shoes

That’s plenty to be going on with. Enjoy. Tomorrow’s prompt is a wild and woolly one.


Posted by on 15/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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