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Friday Freeforall: Poetry Prompts to Keep You Out of Trouble

10:00 a.m. — San Antonio

While you read this, I am on the road, driving up to Fredericksburg, Texas, with our son and his wife, to eat chicken fried steak and peach cobbler. Or, I have already eaten. Yum! The magic of calendaring a post!

We start our going into the weekend with Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck and a prompt that says: for today’s prompt, we will use the number eleven as our magic number for creating a new draft or two. Let’s start with possible topics…. Donna gives us several possible topics to get our brains in gear and one of Donna’s own creations as her example. Head over to the Tow Truck and check out the poem and the rest of the prompt.

We sail to Writer’s Island next where the word of the week is incomparable.Head to the island to read their definitions. But, also to read the farewell message. The island will be closing down in two weeks and we will be sad to see it disappear.

The next site is a wordling whirl of Sundays at a new site and renamed The Sunday Whirl. Visit them to see Brenda’s wordle and to read up on how it works, if you wish to post responses. Otherwise, enjoy a weekly wordle, the words of which come from responses to the previous week’s wordle. This week’s is again a challenging collection. Visit to see what others have done.

The line chosen by Carry on Tuesday is: Slipping through my fingers, the title of an Abba song. The line has all sorts of fun possibilities, so play with it before going over to the site for a link to hear the song.

Sunday Scribblings’ prompt is also fun: the next step. I see possibilities combining that with Carry on Tuesdays line.  And One Single Impression, offers us miss. I noticed that they say in their about: One Single Impression is a community of poets writing and sharing haiku and other poetic forms.You might check out some of the participants’ offerings.

At Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Sunday Snaps’ Susan May James has two photographs ready for you to look at. I find them both lovely in their colours. If you use one, consider submitting your creation to Sunday Snaps: the Stories’  a collection of 52 photos and stories/poems. Susan is finalising submissions for her next book and has posted a deadline. Head to the stories’ link to read up on it.

Whether you like to read them or want to try writing one, this site is the place to play with limericks. Go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog for her Limerick-off Mondays. and a lot more besides.

Jingle Poetry’s ‘Monday Potluck’ offers us Dictatorship, Autocracy, and Despotism. Remember to pop by and watch the video with which they accompany their prompts. They have a cartoon and poems as well, this week Next week they are giving us Void, Loneliness and Sorrow.

Visit Magpie Tales for our other image prompt. I love shells so am partial to their image this week.

For you alliterists out there, here is ABC Wednesdays letter for this week: Wednesday, a day that we all love because we get to share so many great things with each other. Time to lift the Veil of secrecy and come up with a Variety of items, ideas, words or even food that begins with the letter V. Go on over to enjoy the rest of the alliteration.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are grip, prefer, and thread. As always, visit them for their definitions. They have a particularly good source. These three words have a nice resonance to them. I may be back.

Observe, that’s the key, essential for any writer to do. That is how We Write Poems starts its prompt. Head on over and find out what we are to observe and what we are to do with what we observe.

Poets United asks us to: Escape the day’s worries and visit the beach on paper and with your pen. They always have more to help us choose possible paths, so go over and read the rest of the prompt and look at the gorgeous photographs that accompany it, and enjoy a song by the Beach Boys.

For our last prompt we have Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Alpha to Omega Thursdays‘. We are onto zeta this week: The zeta words are zeal/zealot and zoology  Visit for a look at the root meanings of the words.

That should keep you busy and writing. If you think anyone else would enjoy these, click on the buttons below. If you have questions ask. If you write in response to any of these, both the people whose blogs you visit and I would love to read your responses. So, post!

I shall see you Tuesday for an open prompt, Thursday for a discussion of poetic inversions, and next Friday for more of the same. Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 17/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Friday Freeforall: Poetry Prompt Craziness

9:00 a.m. — Atlanta

While you read this, I am on the road, suitcases packed, Starbucks to hand. Posts may be shorter over the next few weeks, but I will be around.

We start our going into the weekend with Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck and a prompt that asks: For today, try to write about an injury, one of your own or one of someone close to you. Donna gives us two examples to read, a Sharon Olds’ poem and one of Donna’s own. Head over to the Tow Truck and check out the poems and the rest of the prompt.

We sail to Writer’s Island next where the word of the week is contingent. An unusual word with interesting possibilities. Head to the island to read their definitions.

The next site is a wordling whirl of Sundays. Visit them to see Brenda’s wordle and to read up on how it works, if you wish to post responses. Otherwise, enjoy a weekly wordle, the words of which come from responses to the previous week’s wordle. This week’s is a challenging collection. Visit to see what others have done.

The line chosen by Carry on Tuesday is : Beware thoughts that come in the night, from William Least Heat Moon’s driving memoir: Blue Highways, one of my all-time favourite reads. The book got me through a killer flu. The line has all sorts of fun possibilities.

Sunday Scribblings is back to their single word this week, with sweet and One Single Impression, offers us endure. I noticed that they say in their about: One Single Impression is a community of poets writing and sharing haiku and other poetic forms.You might check out some of the participants’ offerings.They offer us an illustration and tanka for inspiration with this week’s word.

At Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Sunday Snaps’ Susan May James has two photographs ready for you to look at. I find them both compelling. If you use one, consider submitting your creation to Sunday Snaps: the Stories’  a collection of 52 photos and stories/poems. Susan is finalising submissions for her next book and has posted a deadline. Head to the stories’ link to read up on it.

Whether you like to read them or want to try writing one, this site is the place to play with limericks. Go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog for her Limerick-off Mondays.

Jingle Poetry’s ‘Monday Potluck’ offers us the opportunity to be inspired by song. Remember to pop by and watch the video with which they accompany their prompt. Next week they are giving us Dictatorship, Autocracy, and Despotism.

Even if you don’t usually, go visit Magpie Tales. They have posted a hysterical photograph with the opportunity to take yourself and a poem in a variety of directions. I might even suggest you try writing different poems, in different voices with this one, including the object in the photograph.

For you alliterists out there, here is ABC Wednesdays letter for this week: I’m going to go spare you my list of U words. UGH! They were ugly and unbefitting of this ubiquitous meme. Go on over for the rest of the intro which is presented in haiku.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are alter, fond, and tranquil. As always, visit them for their definitions. They have a particularly good source.

This week a cocktail of prompts! That is how We Write Poems starts its prompt. Head on over and find out what goes into the cocktail.

Poets United asks: When you see the word “Animal” what is the first creature that pops in your head? They always have more to help us choose possible paths, so go over and read the rest of the prompt and look at the stunning illustrations that accompany it.

For our last prompt we have Scribble & Scatter’sAlpha to Omega Thursdays‘. We are onto epsilon this week: The epsilon words for my ‘Alpha to Omega’ challenge are Ego and the ancient Archimedean shout of discovery, eureka!   Visit for a look at the root meanings of the words.

That should keep you entertained and writing. If you think anyone else would enjoy these, click on the buttons below. If you have questions ask. If you write in response to any of these, both the people whose blogs you visit and I would love to read your responses. So, post!

I shall see you Tuesday for etherees, Thursday for more bookmarkable language links, and next Friday for more of the same. Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 10/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Thursday Thoughts: The Last of Those Pesky Words

8:12 a.m. — Atlanta

Hello dear readers. Here we go with the last of the words our writing/speaking vocabulary can do without. The last group of words fall into the overused category.

Suddenly comes from the Latin for taking by surprise, unexpected, without warning. What happens as soon as you read the word? That’s right: you know something is going to happen. The word itself removes the unexpectedness. Rather than warn a reader, we need to learn to make what happens sudden, to establish a mood of without warning so the readers is surprised, not forewarned..

When can you use it? Like many of the previous words we have talked about, if you establish a situation and need to qualify it, then you can use the word. He walked along the street before making a sudden turn is alright.  You didn’t warn the reader. But: He walked along the street looking into shop windows, before veering into a side street and breaking into a run, is even better. You can use sudden, but you can also set up the unexpectedness through action and reaction. Not: The door opened suddenly, scaring her. But: She jumped when the door swung open.

Then is an adverb that qualifies verbs with time. When? Then. And that’s not a problem. The problem arises when used as a transition: He picked up a book. Then he moved to the chair …exposition …exposition …exposition …Then he left the room. Instead: He picked up a book and moved to the chair. After reading a chapter he rose and left the room. The action implies first he does x and then he does y.

There is nothing wrong with the word that other than you don’t need it 96% of the time you use it. When you find yourself using that, try the line, phrase, or sentence without it. You will be surprised.

In poetry and flash fiction where every word counts, we can’t afford to have words that do nothing other than take up space. Is it okay to use the words sometimes? Yes, if you make a deliberate choice and have a reason for the space they take. If the word has a job, the word has a place.

And that is it…for now. Next week I shall suggest some bookmarkable sites to do with language. They range from straightforward lists to short discussions.

Before I sign off, does anyone have a topic they want me to talk about? My Thursday Thoughts can cover anything to do with the writing of poetry, or with language. I am happy to tackle anything. At any time, if you have something, email me or leave a comment. I will see what I can do.

I will see you tomorrow for Friday’s roundup of prompts, I hope. We take off for our summer vacation, so I will be writing the post tonight and asking the calendar to post. Not having done this before and being technologically challenged, let’s all keep our fingers crossed. Tuesday, we will look into a form called the etheree. Not heard of it? Neither had I, but it looks like fun and I shall work on one over the weekend. And, next Thursday we will look at sites on language usage.

If you have question, please ask. Suggestions welcome. And, if you know anyone who would enjoy this, click on the buttons below.

Happy writing.

 
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Posted by on 09/06/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Friday Freeforall: Poetry Prompt Madness

8:30 a.m. — Atlanta

Hello dear readers. Another week until summer vacation starts officially. Not that my status changes, except that as my husband works and is a teacher, he wants a real vacation, i.e. we go somewhere. Over the next few weeks I will be in different places, but still bringing you your weekly measure of fun and games.

We start with Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck and a prompt that some of you may have already come across and written to and that is an in memoriam prompt. Donna suggests: consider the soldier, current or veteran. But, if you want to change that, you can write about anything, in memory of. Head over and see what she says.

We sail toWriter’s Island next where they are changing their modus operandi. They are going visual for this prompt and ask us to: Please consider this fascinating image above from German surrealist, Michael Maier. To see above, disembark on the island to see the visual and to read their suggestions for approaching it.

The next site is a wordling whirl of Sundays. Visit them to see their wordle and to read up on how they work, if you wish to post responses. Otherwise, enjoy a weekly wordle, the words of which usually come from responses to the previous week’s wordle. This week, Brenda has chosen words from her favourite Wallace Steven’s poem. I admit, I am having tremendous fun with her wordles.

The line chosen by Carry on Tuesday are the last words spoken by explorer Cecil Rhodes. Visit the site for the words and a link to other last words spoken.

Sunday Scribblings offers flock as their word for the week. Remember that it can be used as a verb, or noun.  And, our other single word site, One Single Impression, offers us manifest. They are both popular sites for contributors, so do visit if you are ever curious to see how others have used a word.

At Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Sunday Snaps’ Susan May James has three diverse photographs ready for you to look at. I find I am liking her black and white photos, in particular. If you use one, consider submitting your creation to ‘Sunday Snaps: the Stories‘  a collection of 52 photos and stories/poems.

Whether you like to read them or want to try writing one, this site is the place to play with limericks. Go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog for her Limerick-off Mondays.

Jingle Poetry’s ‘Monday Potluck’ offers us Thunderstorms, Floods and Water Fury. Remember to pop by and watch the video which  accompanies their prompt. Next week they ask us to be inspired by a song. Check their site for their suggestions, but the possibilities for this one are endless.

Magpie Tales is taking a break, but as one of my favourite types of graphic prompts is over at Magpie Tales, I am posting them again. They have posted Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier. This type of painting offers many possible roads: focus on a single person, on the story of what is happening with the group, on a detail. But start by jotting down every single thing you see [as well as any comments or connections your brain is making].

For you alliterists out there, here is ABC Wednesdays letter for this week: TODAY it’s Time for “T”. T is TERRIBLY important. Go on over for the rest of the intro because they are such fun to read.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are erratic, luminous and omen. I hadn’t thought about it before, but read in someone’s comments that they think of TWW as a mini-wordle. As always, visit them for their definitions. They have a particularly good source.

Think of a child’s painting (like something on the refrigerator). What creatures might there be? I do love how We Write Poems starts its prompts. How can one not head over and find out what else is said?

Everyone seems to be going visual this week. Poets United is planning to offer a visual prompt on the first Thursday of every month. For their first they ask: What insight arrives when you see a photo, what memories speak to you, what do you see beyond the image, what words arrive? Visit to see the image and read the rest of the prompt.

We have Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Alpha to Omega Thursdays’. We are onto delta this week: The delta words for my ‘Alpha to Omega’ challenge are demon  and dendrology. Visit for a look at the root meanings of the words.

And the final entry is a new one for us, Haiku Friday on Patricia K. Lichen’s blog. Yep, that would be today, so if you want to post on this blog, you need to revisit it later today when she posts the prompt for next week. To give you an example of what to expect, last week’s prompt is: Write a haiku featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: burying beetles, goshawks, or something from Monday’s nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too. Visit the site to read some of the haiku posted. As they are short they appear in the comments below the prompt.

That should keep you entertained and writing. If you think anyone else would enjoy these, click on the buttons below. If you have questions, ask. If you write in response to any of these, both the people whose blogs you visit and I would love to read your responses. So, post!

I shall see you Tuesday for the diamante form [doesn't the name sound like something you want to try?], Thursday for the last words that clutter, and next Friday for more of the same. Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 03/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Friday Freeforall: Poetry Prompts to Tempt You

9:20 a.m. — Atlanta

Another weekend, another show…yes, it does sound like I am ready for summer, doesn’t it? And here I thought retirement would be peaceful. My mother did keep saying: “Just wait!” You would think I had learned to listen to her by now.

We start our going into the weekend with Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck and a prompt that some of you will fall on with glee, and some will throw up defensive shields. But, I promise you that this kind of prompt will take you unexpected places. Remember that it is ultimately, your poem. If part of the prompt doesn’t work, change it. You are allowed. Donna includes her attempt at it and I find with this type of prompt it is helpful to have an example to hand. No, I haven’t shown you anything…you’ll have to visit.

We sail to Writer’s Island next where the word of the week is sizzle. Think of all the connotations the word holds for you and what a wonderful sound it makes. Head to the island to read their associations.

The next site is a wordling whirl of Sundays. Visit them to see their wordle and to read up on how they work, if you wish to post responses. Otherwise, enjoy a weekly wordle, the words of which come from responses to the previous week’s wordle. Fun!

The line chosen by Carry on Tuesday is : What if god was one of us/Just a slob like one of us/Just a stranger on the bus/Trying to make his way home, from a Joan Osbourne song. Go to the site for a link to hear the song.

Sunday Scribblings has changed their modus operandi this week and offers a phrase: better late then never.

Our single word site, One Single Impression, offers us rambling. I noticed that they say in their about: One Single Impression is a community of poets writing and sharing haiku and other poetic forms.You might check out some of the participants’ offerings.

At Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Sunday Snaps’ Susan May James has two photographs ready for you to look at. The one with the parasols is particularly inviting. If you use one, consider submitting your creation to ‘Sunday Snaps: the Stories‘  a collection of 52 photos and stories/poems.

Whether you like to read them or want to try writing one, this site is the place to play with limericks. Go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog for her Limerick-off Mondays.

Jingle Poetry’s ‘Monday Potluck’ offers us Sketches, Images, and Impressions. Remember to pop by and watch the video with which they accompany their prompt. Next week they are giving us Thunderstorms, Floods, and Water Fury.

One of my favourite types of graphic prompts is over at Magpie Tales. They have posted Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier. This type of painting offers many possible roads: focus on a single person, on the story of what is happening with the group, on a detail. But start by jotting down every single thing you see [as well as any comments or connections your brain is making].

For you alliterists out there here is ABC Wednesday‘s letter for this week: Say! This is Sylvia and guess what? It’s the S day and Sam Schnauzer and I are ready to climb into our Sailboat with a bouquet of Sunflowers, a bowl full of Salad, a Salami Sandwich or two to Satisfy our appetite and, of course, a pitcher of Sangria to Sip on as we Sit Safely on the Sand at the beach! Go on over for the rest of the intro and to see the lovely illustration of S.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are grin, jumble, and naked. As always, visit them for their definitions. They have a particularly good source.

So many times we sweat over our poems – and that’s good, but sometimes it’s also good to kick off your shoes and dance, to write for the sheer joy of it. So grab your rhyming dictionary. Time to play! That is how We Write Poems starts its prompt. Head on over and find out what we are dancing to.

MMMMM chocolate just saying and thinking about it makes my mouth actually water. Yep! That’s all I am giving you of the Poets United ‘Thursday Think Tank’ prompt. How can you not go see what that is about? You know you want to look at photos of chocolates and read more about chocolate. And, just say the word slowly: cho…co…late.

For our last prompt we have Scribble & Scatter’sAlpha to Omega Thursdays‘. We are onto gamma this week: The gamma words for my ‘Alpha to Omega’ challenge are gynarchy (a government run by women) and graphicsVisit for a look at the root meanings of the words.

That should keep you entertained and writing. If you think anyone else would enjoy these, click on the buttons below. If you have questions ask. If you write in response to any of these, both the people whose blogs you visit and I would love to read your responses. So, post!

I shall see you Tuesday for a relaxing prompt [i.e. no form], Thursday for more words to avoid, and next Friday for more of the same. Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 27/05/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Tuesday Tryouts: Poems — The Cinquain Form

8:43 a.m. — Atlanta

Hello, dear readers! I hope all is well and that you had a good writing weekend, or if not, a good weekend. I hope you tried the cascade form from last Tuesday, or at least played with it.

Today’s form is short. I hear the sigh of relief. And, all that is required is counting syllables and even they are not that difficult. I will give you an example of a personal cinquain, a regular cinquain, and of a cinquain stepped up a notch for those who like to wrestle with their poetry.

Because a cinquain is short it is important to keep in mind the following mantras:

POETRY MOVES.
POETRY FORMALIZES.
POETRY COMPRESSES.

AND SO, EVERY WORD IN POETRY
MUST BE THE RIGHT WORD.

A GOOD POET NEVER COMPROMISES
LANGUAGE.

The cinquain has been around for centuries as a form. At its most basic it is 22 syllables. Therefore, the title of a cinquain has more importance than a title might usually have, in that it can act as a sixth line. You can write a single cinquain, or a series of closely related cinquains, in which each cinquain acts almost as a stanza for a longer poem.

The personal cinquain is the easiest as it allows you to work around the syllable count, if you wish, and focus on the number of words: 11. You may, of course, stay traditional and work with the syllable count instead: 2, 4, 6, 8, 2 in which case, don’t worry about the number of words.

I.     ONE word for the person—a name or another descriptor.
II.    TWO words that define or describe the person.
III.   THREE words that describe an event related to the person.
IV.   FOUR words that express the person’s attitude toward the event.
V.    ONE word that sums up or otherwise concludes the previous lines.

The example of a personal cinquain I have in my files is by James Penha:

Mary

Spinner.
Eyes glistening
swam far out.
Too young to die
Yet.

For the regular cinquain it’s the syllable count that counts, not the number of words, and the topic can be anything. Here is an example by Adelaide Crapsey the writer who developed the modern form of the cinquain:

November Night

2    Listen …
4    With faint dry sound,
6    Like steps of passing ghosts,
8    The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
2    And fall.

For the stretchers among you, Crapsey wrote a cinquain that works well as a model. It is not a separate kind of cinquain, but her structure works well for a copy-change:

Triad

These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow…the hour
Before the dawn…the mouth of one
Just dead.

To follow, come up with a topic to replace “silent things” and follow the poem’s structure. The syllables are still: 2, 4, 6, 8, 2.

These be
three noisy things:

or

These be
three yellow things:

You get the idea.

I expect to see my comments box flooded with cinquains, yes? They can be an addictive form, particularly the copy-change model, “Triad”.

If you have questions, do ask. If you think someone would enjoy this, click on the buttons below. I shall see you Thursday for more words to avoid; Friday for the week’s roundups; and next Tuesday for a non-form, simple prompt to let you relax and breathe. Happy writing everyone.

 
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Posted by on 24/05/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Friday Freeforall: Poetry Prompts to Tempt You

8:55 a.m. — Atlanta

Hello, all. Ready for the weekend? I know I am. Let’s see what we have to take into the weekend with us and keep us writing.

We start with Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck and an even more intriguing invitation to play, than her already intriguing prompts. Donna says: So, in a twisted marriage of something I love with something I used to despise, today’s prompt asks you to use the periodic table to write a poem with a little romance. I dare you to resist visiting the tow truck to find out what that is about. And, she offers two options.

We sail to Writer’s Island next where they start with: Whether we are or are not personally superstitious, we probably each know the typically accepted list of bad omens — black cats, walking under ladders, opening umbrellas indoors, broken mirrors, spilled salt, etc. So today let’s write from the perspective of one of these heralds of bad fortune. Then there is a So and a Perhaps. Beach your boat and disembark for long enough to read the rest of the prompt.

The next site is a new entrant to my collection: a wordling whirl of Sundays. Visit them to see their wordle and to read up on how they work, if you wish to post responses. Otherwise, enjoy a weekly wordle, the words of which, come from responses to the previous week’s wordle. Fun!

The line chosen by Carry on Tuesday is : After all, tomorrow is another day, from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. Go to the site for a link to the movie trailer.

Sunday Scribblings offers an interesting word: surrender. They offer another possibility for meaning than the one associated with the word most often, so take a quick look in. Our other single word site, One Single Impression, offers us exhibition.

At Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Sunday Snaps’ Susan May James has two photographs ready for you to look at. If you use one, consider submitting your creation to ‘Sunday Snaps: the Stories‘  a collection of 52 photos and stories/poems.

Our second new entrant is a limerick site. Whether you like to read them or want to try writing one, this is the place to play. So go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog for her Limerick-off Mondays.

Jingle Poetry’s ‘Monday Potluck’ offers us Fortresses, Castles, Palaces and Royal Houses for this week and next week they want us to look at Sketches, Images, and Impressions. Remember to pop by and watch the video with which they accompany their prompt.

If you read my blog you are probably a book person, so stop by Magpie Tales to gaze fondly at their photograph and to see if your brain starts kicking out ideas in response.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are damp, incensed and skid. As always, visit them for the definitions. They have a particularly good source.

Write a poem about how the universe began! That is how We Write Poems starts its prompt, so you know you want to find out how that turns out. Head on over. After I finish this and post it I am heading to Google to start researching!

This week we offer you the simplest most difficult nearly impossible a child can do it prompt. Yep! That’s all I am giving you of the Poets United ‘Thursday Think Tank’ prompt. How can you not go see what that is about?

For our last prompt we have a new offering from Scribble & Scatter: ‘Alpha to Omega Thursdays‘. She started last week with alpha, so if this interests you head over and don’t fall behind. This week is the beta words for my ‘Alpha to Omega’ challenge are barbaros and bios.  Barbaros is ancient Greek for ‘non Greek speaker’ and is where the word barbarian stems from.  Bios means life and gives us words like biology and biography. Visit for the rest.

That should keep you entertained and writing. If you think anyone else would enjoy these, click on the buttons below.

I shall see you Tuesday for cinquain madness, Thursday for more words to avoid like the plague, and next Friday for more of the same. Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 20/05/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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