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: To Succeed and To Fail

7:46 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Today Show, waiting for David Duchovny and his backing band, Weather

Hello, everyone. I love it when I derail my own planned prompts. I follow a band called Weather. I follow them because the band was formed with two of my former students. One of them is off doing great things musically, in Africa. The other is still with the band, which happens to be David Duchovny’s backing band on his first album. They are on The Today Show, this morning, and the latest incarnation of Kathy & Regis, tomorrow. Yes, the prompt.

I got to thinking about success during awake moments last night. What is a measure of success? The band, Weather, stayed together after graduation from college, they tour regularly, and now, they are backing Duchovny on his first album (which leads to them being on television). Sounds successful to me, but what happens if their goal was to not get into the more wearying strata of the music world? Can they count their good fortune (and hard work) as failure? Is success always a good thing? Are there degrees of success?

What is failure? Is it always a bad thing? Maybe failure in one thing leads to new paths which turn out to be what you really wanted to do, but didn’t know it. Are there degrees of failure?

Our entire lives are measured by successes, or failures. Either we do the measuring, or someone, a teacher, a boss, does the measuring, or a larger group, a committee, a population of voters, does the measuring. From the moment we wake, ‘I didn’t sleep well last night’ to the moment we go to bed , ‘I made the steaks just right. Another second and…’ we measure.

Oy! Too much philosophising with only one cup of coffee. I was clearer in my head, last night. However, I know you. You’ll take this and run, even while wondering what the heck I am talking about.

Main point for you to focus on: Convey to us a truth about success, or failure. This can involve something personal, or something you saw, or something you read. You can deal with one, or both. You can be somewhat abstract, or entirely concrete.

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

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 12/05/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


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Poetry Freeforall — Let’s Go. You Can Do It.

first photo 3Out of my way. I’m late, I’m late, for a very important… Oh, you’re the date and I’m only a couple of hours behind: 9:45 a.m.– Atlanta

listening to They Can’t Take That Away From Me sung by Robbie Williams

Hello, all. No niceties. We’re late! We’re off!

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie  The prompt that caught my eye this week is Tale Weaver’s — the prompt involves documents of any sort and will work for regular and found poetry. Check out their other prompts for the week.sunday whirl

The Sunday Whirligig has our Wordle words ready.

pink girl ink

 Pink.Girl.Ink. Stand by.

The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog: Adele gives us a prompt that is particularly important to what we do. This week, she asks us to deal with last lines. She has many examples (There are a couple where I’m going to seek out the poem), and the tips and dos and don’ts that make her prompts mini-workshops. Head over.

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  Either people are slow in coming back from April, or they don’t know what to do with this photograph. Remember that you do not have to write about the whole, or write about the image directly. Head over.Poetry Jam

At Poetry Jam, I have been denied access. If anyone knows if the site has gone private, let me know.



Found Poetry Review Recovering: Stand by.

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 bard, found objects, and digital poetry. A whole little poem right there. Visit to find out what the prompts are about.IGWRTButtonrsz

At imaginary garden with real toads grapeling offers a word list drawn from the works of Neruda. Go play with the toads.

At Poets United Midweek Motif Susan gives us honouring our elders as our motif. Visit to read the examples Susan has chosen. sasha

At The Happy Amateur Sasha explains wikems. Stand by.

dverseOver at dVerse Bjorn talks to us about metaphor and cliché. The post is a week ago, but the piece is worth a read, if you haven’t done so, so head to the bar. They have Moscow Mules this week.

That should keep you busy. I shall see you Tuesday for one of my prompts; Thursday for links and such; and Friday for the roundup of the week’s prompts.

Happy writing, everyone.



Posted by on 08/05/2015 in exercises, links, poetry


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Poetics Serendipity

8:04 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Cat Stevens sing Morning Has Broken

Hello, all. Hey, out west. What the heck is your weather doing? You’re going to have to haul your sweaters back out. For today, I looked for things to keep us from sinking into the post-April mire. It can be tempting to sit back and bask in thirty poems. Resist.

1] The first jaunt is to Peter Murphy — who holds writing retreats throughout the year. Sign up for his newsletter. He has come up with ‘Murphy’s Laws for Writers‘ (part 1). I love them. Peter does not pull his punches: #6 If you write only to express yourself, you will bore others immediately and yourself eventually. If you write to discover and understand, you have a chance of being interesting to someone who doesn’t know or love you. Visit and read the other nine.

Bop stop… Remember Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum? I had to stop and dance.

2] One of the things I appreciate about the site Write to Done is that they approach old topics with fresh ideas, or fresh ways of presenting them to us. The article ‘Learning to Write When You’ve Lost Your Mojo: 5 Tips‘ by Jackie, is one of those. We see many articles on the topic of running out of creative juice, but a new voice might click. If nothing else, reading the tips reminds us of things we may have forgotten, like the first one: Honor the Rest Period.

This is one of those sites that flashes a sign up thing at you. Click the x and you won’t see it again.

3] Finally, an article that I found fascinating: ‘25 maps that explain the English language‘ by Libby Nelson. If you are interested in the evolution of language, if you are curious how English became so wide-spread, if you like maps, this article will keep you happy and engaged for quite a while. The variety of maps, alone!

Enjoy these and I will see you tomorrow for the Friday roundup of this week’s prompts; next Tuesday for my prompt; and next Thursday for more links.

Those of you who are new to the blog, welcome. If you have any questions, ask. Thursdays can serve as a place to announce things (new chapbook anyone?) and, if there is a topic you would like to see discussed/written about, a place for actual poetics to happen.

Happy writing, all.


Posted by on 07/05/2015 in links, poetry, writing


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Poem Tryouts: Fresh Start

7:49 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Another One Bites the Dust by Queen — that’ll get your blood going, although typing to the beat doesn’t quite work

Well, hello, everyone. I opened this page and couldn’t remember what to do, for a moment. It’s not so much the length of time, as that combined with the intense focus on something else for thirty days. I have missed my regular routine. Many, many, of you participated in the month-long celebration of poetry and might be feeling a little brain shock. Let’s start easy. We started in a similar way last year and I rather like it.

1] Is there a prompt from the past month that you would love to have written without constraints of any kind? Or, one that you think you can rewrite much better, given a couple of days?

2] Another possibility is a prompt that you saw and didn’t get to. There were a number of sites that posted prompts every day and only a couple of insane people who tried them all [you know who you are]. Did you see one on someone’s site, thought ‘Oooh!’ and that was the last you thought of it as you sped by? So, go back, find it and write.

3] Is there an idea you had based on one of the prompts but that you were not able to get to during the month? Here’s your chance.

4] If you did not participate in writing a poem a day, all three of the above can be adapted. Have at it.

Choose one of these and write ‘awesome’. Whichever you choose, let us know the original prompt. If your poem is radically different, brand new, even, give us the other poem. When you are done and posted, leave a link in comments below [fyi, new folks].

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

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 05/05/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


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PoMoSco Day 30

Here we are, at last. The final day. I have loved having part of this month be posting poems I thought you’d enjoy. The final prompt asked us to: Visit your local restaurant, bar or coffee shop and snag a copy of the menu. Write a poem using only words and phrases found on the menu.

This, as with any source, depends on text to be workable. I was lucky. I chose a Japanese menu. The restaurant must make a hundred rolls and they name every single one of them. In fact, I had too many words. The first things I did was delete words I knew I wasn’t going to use, so the list was not so intimidating. I like what I finally arrived at: Life is a Japanese Menu.

Other items on the menu (I went nuts today, because it’s the final one):

Barbara C: Please ask

Richard Walker: aromas!

Massimo Soranzio: Buried within

Misky: Filling and Earl Grey at Pret

Kimmy Stühle: Angels on the Moon

Gary Glauber: The Western Chinese Amigo’s Umbrella

Zann Carter:Live–Often and Well

Andrea Janelle Dickens: Émigré Memories

Lori Brack: gypsy midnight

Okay, I’m stopping. The relatives are on their way from the airport, so I guess I should cast my eye over the flat. The dusting… ah, well. Enjoy these. I hope to, a couple of times next month, post links to some more that I come across as I go back through and read without a deadline.

I will see you Tuesday for my regular prompt; Thursday for links and such; and Friday for the prompt roundup.


Posted by on 30/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 29

I’m still alive and kicking. Okay, maybe not kicking. Today’s prompt was… interesting: Choose a source text where key terms reappear frequently throughout. Books on a particular subject (e.g., whaling, basketball, the Civil War) lend themselves easily to this prompt, as do textbooks, medical journals, etc. Fiction is harder, but you may challenge yourself!

Choose 1-5 of these recurring terms. In a source text about chess, you might choose the words “pawn” and “board.” For each word you’ve chosen, select a replacement word. In the example above, you might choose to replace “pawn” with “woman” and “board” with “home.” Substitute the replacement word(s) on your list each time the original term(s) appear(s) in the text. Create a poem, keeping editing and authorial intervention to a minimum. Got that? Here’s mine: Bookcombing Tips For Southern Florida

Other substitutions (and be sure you look to see what the source text is):

Misky: What Do Kisses Drink

james w. moore: poets of the Wolf — this one is giving me much pleasure. I left a tab open the third time I hunted it down to reread. The two items giving me much joy are picturing specific writers from the PoMoSco group as the wolves, howling, of course. Or, peopling the landscape with famous poets.

Massimo Soranzio: After

Richard Walker: the pursuit of happiness

Rebecca Siegel: On Swarming

Barbara C: Freeing the Muse

Gary Glauber: Replacing and Installing Your WF yes, it is long, but what a giggle

Nancy Chen Long: Glitter Roses Are Beautiful Moons Too

Enjoy these. I will see you tomorrow for the final poem.


Posted by on 29/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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PoMoSco Day 28

Whoo! That’s all. Too much energy required for anything else. Two more days. Two days. It’s good we have family coming in, so the aftershock of post-April won’t hit me until next week and I’ll have been eased into a different routine.

Instructions: Start with an X ACTO knife, box cutter or other cutting device. Find a text you don’t mind cutting up — or make a photocopy of the text if necessary — and physically cut out the unused portions to create an erasure poem.
Watch james w. moore’s video, “Making Heaven,” which captures his process of creating poems using one approach.
Scan your completed work — or take a picture of it — and upload it to the site.

Today’s gave me trouble and I ended up compromising, not on the poem, but on what a cut-out entails. While understanding that if it’s cut, it’s a cut-out, I knew that was rationalising. I spent an entire April watching james doing cut-outs, during the Pulitzer challenge two years ago. I knew what I wanted. Alas. If I Wish

Other cut-ups and cut-outs:

james w. moore: Crunch & his passenger

Daniel Ari: ?QUIZ?

Barbara C: Undeceived

Richard Walker: Aunt and Uncle

Rebecca Siegel: Journal of Emily Shore

Misky: White as Milk

Vinita Agrawal: Waiting

Gary Glauber: Sound Fury

There are some dark-ish ones in here and I can assure you, if you have never done any kind of erasure, that the darkness will have surprised many of the poets, when it first appeared and they realised where the poem was going. Again, you see many approaches. Why, you might ask, so many different types of ways to do what remains an erasure? Because (I have learned after a reading about a hundred) there really is a different effect.

Enjoy these and I shall see you tomorrow for the penultimate poem.

Lori Brack: Icarus, from a distance

A.K. Afferez: testimony

I know, but I just read them and hadn’t hit publish, yet.


Posted by on 28/04/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry, pomosco


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