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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.

Place and Hold for Next

One thing I have found about trying a daily prompt: I pretty much have to go with what comes out of my mind, even if that hadn’t been my plan on starting. Miz Q has given us three word lists, from which we are to use one, two, and three words in a poem about place (then save the words because there will be more).

I forgot the place part, happily chose my six words and whipped them into a short poem of sorts. Then the part of the brain that lies in wait for this sort of thing, said: Place? I kept the six words I had chosen, originally — that was my challenge to myself. The poem is metaphorical because that was the only way I could work place in.

When You’re Not in Kansas Anymore

When life is no longer a sprint
to the finish line. When you
look down your lane — marked
with its measured white —
and the tape is fuzzed. When
the track’s surface is no longer
smooth, you have a choice.
You can limp, or crawl, your way
to the end, or you can flatten death
with respect and a sledgehammer.

 

 
24 Comments

Posted by on 06/06/2015 in poems

 

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Poetry Freeforall: Take One

first photo 3

7:51a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Firehead sung by Infinity Girl

Hello, all. It looks like a sunny day outside. My husband is at his final day of work and then he will be retired, officially. We were bemused to see a piece of paper he was handed earlier this week, titled: Separation Notice. Yikes! The state of Georgia is divorcing him. Texas, here we come.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week is the photograph. As with poetry, a viewer’s interpretation may not be what an artist intends. The image is titled Beyond Hope. I see almost the opposite. Check out their other prompts for the week.adele kenny

The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog: Adele talks about a personal poetry pharmacy from which we can draw for our therapy poems. Poems centred around deeply felt emotions are some of the hardest to write well. But, their importance as therapy is boundless. Visit to see what she says on the topic of therapy poems.

pink girl ink

 Pink.Girl.Ink. Stacy wants us to let a coffee shop be our poem starter. Head over to read what she says.

Feeling blue? Need a laugh? Need warming up? You need to read a limerick or two. Make tracks to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. Read several. They are in the comments so you don’t even have to leave the page. One advantage to writing a limerick 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 — read several, write one.magpie

Magpie Tales gives us a black and white photograph by Toni Frissell. It’s one of those photographs that holds on, both while studying it and after leaving it. Remember, as with any image prompt, you can focus on one aspect rather than the whole. Take a look.

Found Poetry Review The FPR is looking at propaganda posters. Beth gives us a wonderful link to a page of poster thumbnails — if you hover your cursor over a thumbnail, it will show you the text. Head over. (If you find a different prompt, Thursdays is changeover day.)

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 maps, specialty dishes, and tributes.  Visit to find out what the prompts are about.IGWRTButtonrsz

At imaginary garden with real toads Susie gives us flowers. She has images and quotes to help us on our way, but the most inspirational thing in the post, for me, is when Susie says imagine surfing through velvet brilliance or the sky smelling of orchids. Check it out.

At Poets United Midweek Motif Susan gives us sustainability as our motif. Visit to read Susan’s quotes and a poem by Ginsberg.cooltext1387356024

Jeremy’s Weekly Challenge I have to laugh at myself. When I see this site coming up, I begin to happily anticipate what Jez has put together for one of his multi-faceted prompts (It’s okay, Jez — after a month you’ll be a regular and I won’t keep putting you to the blush). Check out the possibilities.sasha

At The Happy Amateur Sasha explains wikems. Head over to see what she does with summer.

dverseOver at dVerse I chose the Open Link Night. I don’t think I have done that before, but Bjorn talks about us using images with our poems. As many of us do, I thought you might like to see what he says, but, more importantly (:-)), he gives us a fabulous link. I don’t know if you know of Wikiart, but if you head to the bar, Bjorn is waiting.

See you Tuesday for the next dream prompt; Thursday for links and such; and the following Tuesday (I hope — I’ll have our dates sussed out at some point) for the third dream prompt. Wordgathering will be dark next Friday, while my husband and I drive to Missouri.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on 05/06/2015 in exercises, links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:32 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Audrey Assad singing Show Me

Hello everyone. Whichever of you is in charge of keeping time from galloping away is losing control. See to it, please. The rest of you can play.

1] A little while back I posted Murphy’s Laws for Writers, Pt. 1. A couple of days ago, part 2 landed in my inbox. Head over to read Peter’s laws for writers. He provides a link to Part 1, if you haven’t seen them, or don’t quite remember. I like many things about Peter’s laws. For one thing, he knows what of he speaks; for another, they are short.

2] Poets & Writers continues to update and present us with databases. A couple of weeks ago I gave you a link to contests. Today, how about a database of magazines? There are only about 1,000. Start winnowing. Create your own database.

3] I mentioned Miz Quickly’s return a couple of days ago, but this is the official announcement. Miz Q, she comes and goes. We never know quite when she will pop up and when she might disappear, so get your rabbit hunting gear on and visit. She’ll give us a prompt a day, until she doesn’t. You have only missed three, so head over.

Let’s see, something nice and short, something in which to lose yourself, and something to inspire. My work here is done. See you tomorrow for the week’s roundup of prompts; Tuesday for my prompt; and Thursday for more links and things.

Happy writing, all.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on 04/06/2015 in links, poems, poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: Dream the Summer Away

7:41 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Familia sung by Badi and Clarice Assad with Yo Yo Ma

Hello, everyone. In a summer when I’m on the road more often than not, I pick dreams, about which I know nothing, as my focal topic for prompts? Really? Well, it might be easier than fighting the brain, which insists. It does mean a series of prompts that are not quite as light as my summer prompts usually are. The caveat, as you know, is always that you can read the prompt, shrink with horror at the thinking involved, and adapt like mad.

Curious, I looked up dream’s etymology before creating our first prompt and am so fascinated, that has become the first prompt.

The word ‘dream’ is thought to be derived from (at its earliest) Proto-Germanic, meaning:  deception, illusion, or phantasm, with a side of Old Norse, meaning: ghost or apparition. The Old English definition of dream as something to do with joy, mirth, noisy merriment, and music, comes from a different root, altogether, and is not thought to be a connected word. We can play with that later.

Dreams as we think of them, a series of images or thought passing through our minds when asleep, did not come about until the mid-13th century. Let us leave this one for another time and go back to the original meanings.

Answer, in some form, the question, How are dreams deception, illusion, phantasm, ghost or apparition? There are differences in the meanings, so choose one, or more. The word ‘dream’ does not have to be in the poem.

I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I will see you Thursday for links; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and Tuesday for our next dream prompt. I’m off to pack some more, or at least look at stuff.

Happy writing, all.

 
25 Comments

Posted by on 02/06/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, Summer

 

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Playing Prepositions

For those who haven’t noticed, Miz Quickly is back in town. Her prompt for today regards prepositions, so my poem is a bit of silliness, designed to be a vehicle for prepositions and to answer Miz Q’s instruction to write about how one thing relates to something else. Head over to her place and read the prompt. Meanwhile, I think I have about 18 prepositions in here (I didn’t count doubles).

Better Than Packing

I sit in my large desk chair
at my computer console, seven
floors above ground level.
Over me rise eleven stories more.

We, myself and the apartment
building, sit on Peachtree Road,
which runs north south through
Atlanta, bisecting the city.

Atlanta is located in Georgia,
which lies in the southeast of
the United States, itself taking
up space between two oceans.

The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans,
via which I can reach Asia or
Europe, engirdle the Americas,
and separate them from other lands.

If I had a way to see, lying
opposite, across the Atlantic, in
the sun and sand, is Morocco,
surrounded by the Sahara Desert.

I sit in my large desk chair, sixty-two
miles from outer space and  about
four thousand miles above the earth’s
core, regarding the marvel of being,

when all the immensity of lands
and populace dwindle upon looking up,
above all surfaces, beyond all
thought, towards the overarching sky.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on 01/06/2015 in poems, poetry

 

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Poetry Freeforall

first photo 310:03 a.m.– Atlanta

listening to the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo Yo Ma

Hello, all. Need a few prompts to take your mind off things? Here we go.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week is the image with its photograph of tattooed wrists, but also, the haibun opportunity at fairy tale. Check out their other prompts for the week.adele kenny

The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog: Adele gives us a prompt that helps us take a memory and write that memory into a poem. Her tips and guidelines give us a process. Visit.

pink girl ink

 Pink.Girl.Ink. Stacy asks us to try creating a new spin on the fairy tale Alice In Wonderland. There are so many possibilities. A haibun might be an interesting form to use. But, what caught and held me, for quite a while, is the image Stacy has accompanying the prompt. My inspiration would come from it. Head over to read what she says.

Make tracks to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. This week’s rhyming word has intriguing possibilities. Read several. They are in the comments so you don’t even have to leave the page. One advantage to writing a limerick 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 — read several, write one or two.magpie

Magpie Tales gives us a Still Life, 1907, by John Frederick Peto. I find it remarkably compelling. Consider the textures of things. Remember, as with any image prompt, you can focus on one aspect rather than the whole. Take a look.

Found Poetry Review Beth has added a twist, a challenge, to her prompt. The source text concerns lithography, but she asks us to create a remix poem concerning anything other than lithography. Head over.

The Sunday Whirligig has our Wordle words ready. Even if you don’t wordle, it’s fun to see how she lays the words within a photograph.

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 maps, picture a story, and making connections. Visit to find out what the prompts are about.IGWRTButtonrsz

At imaginary garden with real toads Isadora tells us to get our groove on. I love her idea for freeing our minds if only for the moments between dance and paper. Head over.

At Poets United Midweek Motif Susan gives us weeds as our motif. I love the quotes she gives us, almost all of which support weeds. Go on over and read.

Jeremy’s Weekly Challenge I am officially hooked on the way Jez presents his prompts.  I find myself anticipating arriving at his page to see what he has for us. You like ekphrastic? Go for it. You like  possibilities for found sources? Yep. Ideas for a theme? Sure. Check out the possibilities.sasha

At The Happy Amateur Sasha explains wikems. If you haven’t tried one yet, you should, especially if you like found poetry (but it isn’t necessary).  Head over to see what she does with mind.

dverseOver at dVerse Gabriella talks to us about the poetry of the everyday. You might want to check the prosody post, as well, even if just to read. To the bar!

See you Tuesday for our first prompt of the summer; Thursday for links and such; and Friday for the roundup of the week’s prompts.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on 29/05/2015 in exercises, links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:00 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Brandon Flowers’ new album The Desired Effect — which I just bought

Hello, there. Everyone okay? Staying dry and away from water sources, all my Texans? I don’t visit people’s Facebook walls, as a rule, but yesterday I spent some time checking on all the people I know. More rain coming. Stay safe.

On Tuesday I alluded to my summer program. I usually go dark on Thursdays and Fridays, give you a program of the summer’s prompts ahead of time, and don’t comment. Having the knowledge that summer is here burst on my brain last week (yeh, yeh, back off); I had a modified panic, decided to try a serial prompt, and went into avoidance mode. The new plan is I will post the usual Tuesday prompt. I will still try the serial prompt, based on one topic. I may or may not do Thursdays and Fridays, as they will be the only ‘normal’ part of my life over the next six weeks, as we pack, visit, pack, visit, and pack out, for our final move (as far as we know). We’ll see how I do.

Hah! I just read an email from my Florida brother. Our family has a wide sense of humour. Dark is included. He writes: you can always hire a barge and float your stuff to San Antonio.

Let’s link:

1] Poet (and much more) Diane Lockward, has posted the first in a three-part series. Summer Journals A – F, 2015 details many journals that do read during the summer and some that read only during the summer. Diane includes the number of issues per year, the submission period dates, which journals accept simultaneous submissions, and which ones accept online submissions.

Take a look, then bookmark this invaluable resource.

2] Write to Done: Jenna Dalton has put together an incredible list, 102 Resources to Transform Your Writing. These run from general tips, to burnout, to the writer’s voice, to one of my favourites which tells us why writing tips are bad for us. You can spend hours wandering amongst the 102 possibilities, hence the ‘bad for us’.

On the theory most of us would like to wander through but don’t have time, I may pick a couple of the suggestions as links, in the next several whatevers.

3] This link I may have given you. I have a fairly organised system but it’s growing rather large. I came across the site a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of it recently (thank you, Barb Crary). The site posts prompts. I don’t know who runs it, or how often the prompts are published (it is current, as they mention PoMoSco), but if you are restless and need a quick idea to jumpstart a poem, check Poetry Prompts.

4) Almost forgot. James Brush is accepting submissions for Issue #4 of Gnarled Oak. Head over to read the guidelines. Write. Submit.

Not much in the way of reading but plenty of links. Have fun. I will see you tomorrow for the prompts roundup; next Tuesday for the first in our summer series prompts; and Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 28/05/2015 in links, poems, poetry, writing

 

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