Response to Reverie #2

17 Jan

I was going to wait until tomorrow, but I am excited that I worked through this prompt…and I have had a beer [a very good one].

After my first anguished read through of Joseph Harker’s second prompt, I listened to my daughter, who said: do it backwards, ma! So, I started with rhymes, but I needed a topic. Fortunately [?] my keyboards — yes, both of them — stopped working.

Joseph’s perceptive eye and ear will notice I ignored a couple of strictures [I have iambic mostly, and some playing with tones] although, in the end, not as many as when I started. I think I ended up closest to a luc bat. With a first draft in place with attendant rhymes climbing, I noticed the 6/8 syllable count in the instructions, wrestled with that [except for the penultimate line of stanza 3 which insists on nine], and got it done. Then, I noticed the suggestion that the second in the series of rhymes be the fourth syllable…got that done.

I admit to being pleased, not with the poem, which is so so, but with accomplishing the climbing rhyme. And, even better, I love the exercise, so will continue playing. Sound is an aspect of poetry I began to develop about a year and a half ago. Now I have a specific exercise.

Tech Thrall

Computer keyboards crash
and thoughts of smashing plastic rage,
lash out. I am not calm
but must embalm my passions, no
qualms when Best Buy lies

just down the street, at hand
when I demand the quality
brands to satisfy my
desire to buy into the myth:
Try our better toys.

I understand yet grieve —
the need bereaves me — my passion
leaves me push pulled, a wreck.
I’m at the beck and call of all things
tech. I am in thrall.

Go to Joseph’s site and give it a try. If I can do it, people, so can you. It’s worth the struggle, and I didn’t even swear during the process.


Posted by on 17/01/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

13 responses to “Response to Reverie #2

  1. markwindham

    17/01/2012 at 8:54 pm

    OK, so I have been avoiding Joseph for a number of reasons…I guess the biggest being the intimidation factor. The beautiful formality of his writing is so far from what I usually do. Seeing your response to this exercise intrigues does intrigue me though. I like the idea of internal rhyme and have experimented with it before, but not with any degree of structure (almost used ‘rhyme of reason’ there; a poet would call that trite). Seeing it makes it want to be tried, which must mean you did it well. That first word rhyme must have been tough. And I do like your subject matter; i would have tried like hell to make something formal out of that, and struggled the whole time.

    I liked your comment about not swearing. After a number of years in the restaurant and construction industries my language can be a bit salty. Having kids and a more ‘professional’ career, I do try and control it. Interestingly I rarely have the urge when writing. That must be important.

    I do believe I am rambling; avoiding work. Oh, name of beer please? I love a very good beer.

    • margo roby

      18/01/2012 at 7:07 am

      First the important item, the beer: Sierra Celebration. It’s an ale but seasonal. If you are quick there may still be some around.

      Hey, Joseph intimidates the hell out of me. I regarded him with awe until I discovered he’s in his early twenties. Now I regard his abilities with awe, and Joseph as a friend. It helps, even when I think he’ll be a name as a poet. Consider reading his work as practice, or just don’t read his poetry if that’s what keeps you away.

      His exercises are never going to be easy, but we are going to learn so much from him. Think of it as an MFA for free. Even if all you do is try the exercises. I never made it past the halfway point with last week’s, but I tried. I needed the stretch. You want to publish, so anything you can take away from Joseph’s prompts will help. I’m excited about playing with more sound techniques. I love internal rhymes. If you go back and look, I have other sounds that thread through or play back to the rhymes.

      My swearing consists of hell and damn, and I am very fond of those words. They are satisfying to say and don’t raise a lot of eyebrows. My mother didn’t swear, but my grandmother was salty. Very colouful woman. I suspect I picked up my habit from her. The only time I had the urge when writing was when I tried to write a sonnet.

      I’m considering going dark today to support the censorship issue [an activist at my age :-)] and have no idea what that will do to comments, so if you don’t hear a reply from me, I’ll be back on tonight after eight, or tomorrow.


  2. viv blake

    18/01/2012 at 1:36 am

    Two things hit me with this very clever poem – one is the skill with which you followed the form, the clever eye rhymes;
    and then I grasped the content, with empathy for your ungeeky irritation with ‘things’.

    I’ve been trying this prompt off and on since Joseph posted it and getting nowhere. I’m going to try your daughter’s tip of thinking of the rhymes first.

    • margo roby

      18/01/2012 at 7:10 am

      Thank you for noticing the eye rhymes! I did have fun with those. I love playing with sound and a lot of it comes naturally now.

      I have a working keyboard, but barely. I love tech but it does not love me.

      I have a highly intelligent daughter. She suggested the backwards approach for the last exercise, too. We will have to remember that as an approach to Josephs’ exercises, or anything we have difficulty with.

  3. wordsandthoughtspjs

    19/01/2012 at 2:37 pm

    This quite good, Margo. I have thought about this prompt, but I am not so sure I can do it. Maybe your daughter’s idea is worth a try. It worked for you, but that does not mean it will for me 🙂

    On a side note, today is the first day in the last four I am actually able to sit at the computer without raging pain. Thanks for the tip on the mayonnaise jar.


    • margo roby

      20/01/2012 at 8:39 am

      I was thinking about people not being able to do some of these all the way through, Pamela. I think we need to treat Joseph’s prompts like a creative writing classroom, where what we post might be a first draft, or only half the exercise, and talk about our processes more fully. I am going to try that with the next prompt, if I have difficulty. I should have done it with the last one, which I could only do part of. If we have difficulty and post and talk about our difficulties, we can help each other. make sense?

      You’ll see these same words on today’s post, btw. I just thought them out with you :-). Now I’ll put them out a s a suggestion!


      • wordsandthoughtspjs

        20/01/2012 at 12:20 pm

        Yes, dear Margo, I do hear what you are saying. I should approach this type of exercise with less fear, and look at it as more of a learning curve for me. But, I hate the doggerel that slides off my pen or keyboard with an exercise like this. Do you really have the time to listen to my whining? 🙂

        Possibly, I will go with Viv’s suggestion of internal or eye rhyme. Maybe, just maybe, I could handle that.


        • margo roby

          20/01/2012 at 12:32 pm

          Pamela, my dear, absolutely. I will listen to you anytime 🙂

          Interesting that you are ending up with doggerel, as the rhymes are not end rhymes, but go with what you can do, and don’t worry about what you can’t. If you will be brave enough to post the doggerel and talk through your process, maybe we can each come at your problem from a different angle. That is what I think is the value of the reveries. We will each see something different and be able to explain things in different ways, one, or more, of which will click.

          If I had posted the first exercise, where I only got as far as the synesthesia, you all would have been able to help me with the metaphor part.

          I know, I know, yes, you would be the first person putting yourself out there, but if we introduce our pieces as drafts, or part-way done…

          Besides, internal and eye rhymes are the most fun! Give that a go. And even if you don’t, I will still listen to you and remain extremely fond of you 🙂


  4. Joseph Harker

    19/01/2012 at 11:30 pm

    Strictures are meant to be bent! I would worry less about following the particularities of the form to the letter than getting a poem out of it that is – like this one – charming and cohesive. And you kept the rhymes going further than they “must”, which is no mean feat either! This is light on its feet and humorous, too much weight would have dragged it down.

    I’ll try to be less intimidating with the prompts! I just love coming up with really mind- (muse-?) bending ones… I could do single words or form challenges, but everyone else already does those. 🙂

    • margo roby

      20/01/2012 at 8:34 am

      My cardinal rule: the poem comes first. I never worry about the particulars. That’s the first thing my mentor taught me.

      Joseph, don’t simplify. Really. We need someone who can put together complex prompts that stretch us. And, it’s good for us to read instructions that make us think. Even if people only try the prompt, you have helped. If you aren’t worried by only a couple of people posting, then keep doing what you do. You can always every sixth prompt, or so, toss something easy in. I’ll keep telling people [are you all listening?] that they need to try.

      You have helped me move a step upward with my poetry, as I will never write again without these further possibilities of sound squarely in my line of sight. I was trying but a little haphazard about it.

      Thank you for the mind-bending 🙂


  5. The Happy Amateur

    20/01/2012 at 10:22 am

    I’ll ask here, hoping to catch Joseph: I’m having trouble locating Reverie One.. Margo led me to Reverie Two (thanks!), and now I’m very curious to see what came before. How do I find it, please?
    Thank you, have a wonderful Friday everyone!

  6. The Happy Amateur

    20/01/2012 at 11:45 am

    Thanks, Margo! (Yes, in the ‘real world’ I usually go by Sasha, it’s the Russian nickname for Alexandra, so Sasha’s fine with me!)


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