Poem Tryouts: One More Time With Gusto

06 May

7: 33 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to On Top of Old Smokey sung by The Weavers (what can I say? I’m on Library shuffle)

Hello, all. How lovely to be back in my routine. As I said Thursday, despite seeing you all around the blogosphere with your April poeming, I feel as if I have been away forever. Today’s prompt is designed to ease you back into writing a poem a day — What? You thought I hadn’t noticed that most of you write a poem a day pretty much all year?

When I mentioned to Hannah that my brain wasn’t quite ready to work, she suggested that I propose something along the lines of revisiting something from this past month. Meanwhile, over at the Oulihive, Marty was asking whether we were going to work on something awesome, post-April. I have combined the two. This will require pondering and there are a couple of ways you can go about 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? As an example, one of the prompts I faced was to write a sestina. Every line had to come from the paper; like a sestina isn’t a constraint within itself! So, now I know I can write a sestina, and I am free to write one from scratch (No, I am not going to). I fell in love with two forms of the Modern Sonnet: One word per line, 14 lines; and a sonnet structured along the lines of a Fibonacci series, with stanza breaks at 3, 1, 4, 1, and 5. I want to try those with my own ideas and words.

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 Quickly’s, thought ‘Oooh!’ and that was the last you thought of it as you sped by? So, go back, find it and write. [Scroll down below Simon’s Cat and click on Older Posts.]

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.

Choose one of these and write ‘awesome’. Whichever you choose, let us know the original prompt. When you are done and posted, leave a link in comments below [fyi, new folks].

I will see you Thursday for one thing or another; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts [any new sites out there?]; and next Tuesday for another prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 06/05/2014 in exercises, poetry


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46 responses to “Poem Tryouts: One More Time With Gusto

  1. julespaige

    06/05/2014 at 8:42 am

    How about a new short form…
    …The Tanaga…

    • margo roby

      06/05/2014 at 8:45 am

      Really? I’m on my way.

    • barbcrary

      06/05/2014 at 10:40 am

      Cool – I kept looking at the Rubáiyát challenge in NaPoWriMo last month and wondering what that might look like, since I’ve never written before. But this Tanaga looks like fun.

      • margo roby

        06/05/2014 at 10:45 am

        See! Two for one. We aim to please.

      • julespaige

        06/05/2014 at 11:02 am

        Please do let Jen know if you write a Tanaga

  2. b_young

    06/05/2014 at 11:42 am

    Ever look at a menu–especially a long, long menu–and find nothing that looks good? I’ve already wandered off half a dozen times, looking for this or that, redecorating Quickly, trying to read Stephen Dobyns’ Next Word. Anything short of cleaning the house. And the fact that I mention that means I’ll consider anything. But, apparently, not writing.

    • margo roby

      06/05/2014 at 11:54 am

      Chuckle. Where, I have actually written a couple of drafts of original poems, something I have not done in a while. I’ll say one thing for having a fixed source, the only thing we had to worry about was finding what we needed in it. It became a challenge, first,to find the stuff, then remember it’s for a poem and start crafting. Don’t worry about writing poems. Pick an article you like [or a chapter in a book] and pull words and phrases from it, willy-nilly. Do not allow your brain to think poetry. Meanwhile avoid housecleaning at all costs.

      • b_young

        06/05/2014 at 12:11 pm

        I’ve been known to move in order to avoid cleaning.

        • margo roby

          06/05/2014 at 12:15 pm

          You’re hearing the laugh, right? I dust when Skip starts sneezing. We won’t discuss vacuuming. Windows? We’re supposed to clean windows? They’re outdoors. Yep.

          • b_young

            06/05/2014 at 12:25 pm


  3. A.A. Palmer (a.k.a. The Happy Amateur)

    06/05/2014 at 2:23 pm

    I’m guilty of spending four hours on a sestina (the hours I meant to spend on the much needed cleaning of the house.) Oh, well…
    Robert asked us to write a sestina for an extra credit on day 13 of the PAD Challenge. I never did. So, I wrote one today.

    My first ever Poem-A-Day, my first (and last) sestina ever 🙂

    • Sasha A. Palmer

      06/05/2014 at 2:28 pm

      Forgot to change “A.A. Palmer.” (Way too official for me.)

      • margo roby

        06/05/2014 at 3:49 pm

        I know, although I tend to blank out when I see A.A. [other than Milne].

    • margo roby

      06/05/2014 at 3:49 pm

      Well, yay! You saw Barbara’s and my opinions on house cleaning! So, double yay! I love that it’s your last sestina ever. That’s exactly how I felt when I wrote mine this month: first, last. Whew!

    • b_young

      06/05/2014 at 11:27 pm

      Famous last words X6


      07/05/2014 at 2:20 am

      Thanks for the prod, Margo – there were loads of prompts I didn’t get to, including some really stunning ones that it would take a whole month to do justice to them. I printed some out and reckon to work my way through them, little by little.

      • margo roby

        07/05/2014 at 10:39 am

        As you post them, ViV look to see f they work for a prompt [yes, backwards posting] and leave a link!


      07/05/2014 at 2:21 am

      Only four hours? I spent about 4 weeks on one for my OU course!

  4. Misky

    06/05/2014 at 2:29 pm

    My contribution for now is to only say hello. Hello.

    • margo roby

      06/05/2014 at 3:46 pm

      Hello will do… for now. Hello back.

      • Misky

        07/05/2014 at 3:17 am

        I’m going with number three. What to do with flashes of inspiration that hang incomplete and uncompleted as poems. I often dream In poetic lines. I write them down, if i can find my pen. I’m going to work a few of those into oulipo poems sourced from my dreams. I’ll link when it’s finished.

        • margo roby

          07/05/2014 at 10:37 am

          I love the idea, Misky. I’ll be over to read the results in a bit.

          • Misky

            07/05/2014 at 11:46 am

            I woke this morning with an idea that I can’t shake, and I just downloaded a free copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland … what if I oulipo’d those phrases that wake me in the middle of the night and remixed them with Alice? Hmm?

            • margo roby

              07/05/2014 at 11:49 am

              OH YES! I am jealous. Go for it.

  5. Irene

    06/05/2014 at 6:58 pm

    Back to normal is good. I like normal. Hi Margo, seems like we’ve been on different planets.

    • margo roby

      06/05/2014 at 7:20 pm

      Changes never stop, do they? But, what passes for normal is good. I’m glad we’re in the same orbit for however long it lasts.

      At least once a month, Irene. Every last Tuesday of the month I have a picture prompt. I may see if I can incorporate a couple of random ones. I need to look around for a couple of good sources.

      • b_young

        06/05/2014 at 11:28 pm

        I found the Library of Congress app. Some interesting stuff there.

        • margo roby

          07/05/2014 at 11:49 am

          Good! I’m waiting…

  6. Irene

    06/05/2014 at 6:59 pm

    Give us lots of picture prompts. Margo.

  7. Hannah Gosselin

    06/05/2014 at 8:40 pm

    Hi, Margo…this is excellent and I’m realizing now that this means I need to go hunting…hunting and hoping I don’t get lost…hmm…because nothing’s arriving on the top in my mental pile.

    Wow what a day. Some doctor’s offices are not equipped to entertain a 3 and 7 year old while helping 90 year old grandmother with a doctor’s appointment…sigh…so difficult.

    I’ll be back I’m sure but I wanted to say that you and B’s conversation about cleaning brought an audible laugh and as far as I’m concerned that’s medicine for me right now…that and overly honeyed Kava tea.


    • Hannah Gosselin

      06/05/2014 at 10:52 pm

      Well this is where my trail led me…

      Also though…one of the most fun favorite prompts I enjoyed last month was Quickly’s I came up with a whole set of contemporary symbols found here……I had a blast writing these based on the qualities in some pretty everyday objects.

      Smiles and I’ll be here tomorrow to catch up…I’m going to go watch an episode of X-Files with the hubby! 🙂

    • margo roby

      07/05/2014 at 10:43 am

      3, 7, 90
      3, 7, 90
      3, 7, 90
      That’s all that stands out. Poor Hannah. Keep drinking the tea and laughing [that, by the way, is what I make sure happens before I get off the phone with my mother].

      • Hannah Gosselin

        07/05/2014 at 11:04 am

        That’s exactly what we must do, Margo and what my Grammy and I ended our visit with, too!! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Medicine Chest | Metaphors and Smiles
  9. rosross

    07/05/2014 at 3:07 am

    I have changed laptops as of 6 weeks ago and I am still sorting out notifications so have not had anything from you Margo for quite some time. Hope to be sorted soon.

    • margo roby

      07/05/2014 at 10:41 am

      I was thinking of you last night, Ros, one of those unconnected, unbidden thoughts that wander through. This one just noted I hadn’t heard from you. Glad that it’s just a computer thing. See you when you’re sorted.

  10. Misky

    07/05/2014 at 5:59 am

    I’m here.

    • Misky

      07/05/2014 at 6:11 am

      and this:

  11. b_young

    07/05/2014 at 12:52 pm

    Okay. sorta. It’s a radical revision

  12. purplepeninportland

    08/05/2014 at 11:20 pm

    This introduced me to Miz Quickly!

    • margo roby

      09/05/2014 at 7:27 am

      There you are! I’m glad you met Miz Quickly. She pops up now and then.

  13. julespaige

    13/05/2014 at 12:33 pm

    Housecleaning…vs housekeeping..
    I’ll share my house with the dust bunnies any day. Glad you have the link and some folks to look at. I’ll have to come back once the kidlets have flown. I can only sneak so much time at the keyboard when they are here.

    Just for those looking for more short forms to try; I’ve been picking and choosing this month for my short daily pieces from:
    (I think Elizabeth C sent me here a while back and I have it on my favorites list…)

    • margo roby

      15/05/2014 at 12:22 pm

      What a FUN place, Jules. Now, I’m going back to play on it some more. Thank you!

      • julespaige

        15/05/2014 at 12:52 pm

        The least I can do for my friend
        Madame Promptress!
        Maybe you can add your examples and the site to your prompt page.

        Have fun!

        • margo roby

          15/05/2014 at 1:52 pm

          Ooh! I like it, Jules. A tools tab where I also put other prompt sites… then feature one of the tools every now and then…


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