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Category Archives: exercises

exercises and prompts I have written to encourage poetry

Poetics Serendipity

11:54 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Tequila, played by The Champs (and rocking out, in my recliner)

Hello, everyone. We are fast moving into summer with a projected high of 86F, today. I am sheltering in my tree-shaded house. I can do that because I walked two miles this morning and am  feeling virtuous. On to today’s links:

1] Write to Done gives us a short piece in 5 Irrefutable Signs You Need to Start a Writing Project Now, by Sally Wolfe. This is in case you need an added push. Her focus is prose, but, as it so often does, many of the points apply to poetry and that chapbook you want to put together.

2] Do you know about Cellpoems? If not, check it out. I have given you a link to its About page.

3] Why Is It ‘Eleven, Twelve’ Instead of ‘Oneteen, Twoteen’? — I knew you wanted to know this, what with being wordsmiths and the English language so straight forward and all. Check the article by Arika Okrent, in Mental Floss.

Have a lovely weekend and I shall see you for a prompt on Tuesday and more links on Thursday.

Happy writing, all.

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 03/03/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Stop and Smell That Rose

10:52 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Paul Simon’s album Graceland — one of my favourites

Hello, all. We seem to think it’s Spring down in this part of Texas. The trees are suddenly green and the birds are going nuts. Clearly, none of them watch the Weather Channel, because the forecast says we freeze tonight. Temperatures are dropping for the next several days. So, let us find our peaceful spot, visually.

Yes, it is image day. Yay! I am posting an image and you may respond to the scene you see but, if you want some fun, find a site with paintings and sift through until you find the painting that makes your insides relax. Post the painting (with attribution) with your poetic response to it.

Whenever I come across the Monet below, I pause and everything in me slows down and relaxes. If I were to pinpoint what affects me, it’s the boat, something about the way it faces, its colour, its bare mast and the still water.

boat on canal

Find your peaceful spot and I look forward to seeing them and reading your poems. The poem does not have to have anything to do with you, or with the painting, but should probably involve peacefulness in some way.

I shall see you Thursday for links and next Tuesday (Hello March) for our next prompt.

Happy writing, all.

 
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Posted by on 23/02/2016 in exercises, poems, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Lights Out

8:51 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Cool Water sung by Marty Robbins

Hello, everyone. How’s things? We have blue sky, sunshine, and a promise of 62 as our high. Gorgeous. Not that I trust San Antonio’s weather. Two days ago, it was so hot, we stopped at Sonic for malteds. In January, for crying out loud. Enough chitchat, let’s begin.

In the past couple of weeks, we have had our electricity go out a couple of times, as work is being done in the neighbourhood. When we lived in Jakarta, especially the early years, losing our electricity was a common event and could last as long as two days. We have been known to move into a hotel. As I sat in the quiet of last week’s outage, I noticed, again, how still the world becomes without electricity, how quiet, almost the quality of a snow silence.

An unscheduled outage is what we’re looking for. Think back over your life to times when the electricity went out unexpectedly. Jot notes on the things you couldn’t, or could, do because of the loss of various electrical appliances, not to mention lights. How much of a nuisance was it? How helpless did you feel? Or did you revel in having no choice about certain things? If you want, go universal and comment on the dependency we have on electrical items.

The specific outage I remember best happened in Hong Kong, my senior year in  high school. Outages were rare and this one happened at night, as I was writing an essay due the next day. I sat on the living room couch with my mother’s Smith Corona typewriter on my knees and two candles on the coffee table. I got the assignment done.

Feel free to mash-up your memories. If you have lived your life without an electricity outage, you will need to adapt this prompt. 

I will see you Thursday for stuff and then the blog will be dark (yes, an electricity outage, heh heh heh) for a couple of weeks, while Skip and I head to Georgia for our Atlanta fix.

Happy writing, all.

 

 
28 Comments

Posted by on 02/02/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: More Abandoning

8:19 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Maroon 5 singing One More Night

Hello, everyone. Thursday? Life happened again, this time in the form of an electrical outage. We’ve had the electrical people in the neighbourhood since November, tearing everything up, laying cable, replacing transformers. My Florida brother swears it’s a CIA setup.

I hadn’t done the maths right, last week, so today is our image prompt.Yay! Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I mentioned that Mark Windham had tagged me for a photo he knew I’d like? It gave me the idea for the abandon prompt. Here’s why.

abandoned house with doll

 

The photograph comes from a Facebook page that collects abandonings, among other things. Respond to any part of the photograph or to the whole.

I may, or may not, see you Thursday. I don’t trust Thursday anymore. I will see you next Tuesday for another prompt.

Happy writing, all.

 
45 Comments

Posted by on 26/01/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Join In

9:47 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to That Old Black Magic sung by Peggy Lee — for most of my growing up years, I gave dad Lee’s newest album, for Christmas

Hello, all. My apologies for the non-appearance, Thursday. Life happened. (It has that habit, doesn’t it?) Today’s prompt is one you can have fun with. List all things you can think of that join: the conjunctions of life. Obvious: bridges. Not so obvious: the ear canal.

1] Be literal.

2] Be metaphorical — that’s an option, literal people, not a must. I can feel your panic.

3] Weave a couple of the not so obvious joins together.

4] Use joining things as a motif, a thread throughout the poem.

The joining things can be a small part, or the entire focus, of what you write.

I’m looking forward to what you come up with. I will see you Thursday for stuff, and Tuesday for our next prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
32 Comments

Posted by on 19/01/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: Abandon Ye!

9:30 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to… well, who else? Bowie, of course

Hello, everyone. Are we all bundled so we don’t freeze our patoots? Brrr. Enjoy your summer, southern hemisphere. To distract us from the cold, let’s play with a word. I decided I wanted to explore abandon several weeks ago when Mark Windham sent me a wonderful photograph he knew I’d like. You’ll see it for our image prompt in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the word. word book

Do you like my new word collecting book? My daughter gave it to me for Christmas. Hand bound with leather cover.

Abandon originally meant to put someone under bond, to put someone under someone else’s jurisdiction. Now, we use it to mean leave completely and utterly. I almost abandoned you this morning because of a video game the same daughter introduced me to at Christmas.

Then there is the phrase with gay abandon. Sounds more positive, you say? I always thought so until I pondered it this morning. Usually, if you have decided to throw yourself into something with gay abandon, you are abandoning morals, mores, possibly laws.

We haven’t played with a word, in a while. So, abandon whatever you are doing, gaily or not, and explore. There are many ways you can go with this.

1] Go to the page I have given you the link for. Write your poem using words and phrases from that page. If you choose this one, remember to credit the source.

2] Go to the page, but use it more as a spark for an idea.

3] Write about something you abandoned. Despite the general negative connotation of the word, this can be a comic story.

As the sun set
she abandoned him
to the wolves.

He was bigger
and brawnier
than she.

What do you mean you don’t see comedy?

4] Write about a time you felt abandoned or were abandoned. Seared forever, in my memory, is the time, in fourth grade, when, despite my parents’ warnings, I dawdled while getting ready for school. Fine, my mother said, we’ll leave without you, and they did. You should have seen me tearing down the stairs — we lived on the fourth floor, but our elevator was molasses —  screaming at the top of my lungs — the poor neighbours. Then my bag fell and everything spilled out…

That’s more comic, you say? You should have been me.

5] Write about a situation on a more worldly scale where the word abandoned works.

6] Go your own merry way.

I will see you Thursday where I will talk a bit about my day with Poets & Writers Live, in Austin and give you a couple of links; and, Tuesday for another prompt. I may do a borrowed one. Now, I am abandoning you and going back to my game.

Happy writing, all.

 

 

 
26 Comments

Posted by on 12/01/2016 in exercises, poems, poetry

 

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Poem Tryouts: A Moment

8:56 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to A Ring of Fire sung by Marty Robbins

Happy 2016, everyone. Are you recovering from the excesses that are December? I have many favourite moments: opening the steampunk goggles from my husband; getting extra days with our daughter, Marguerite (sorry about the weather, Chicago); Skyping with the Vermont part of our family; and discovering m’rite’s Irish coffee, which she made for us several nights. There are more. In fact, possibly a list poem… hmmm.

I had had another idea for today, but am sure you are in recovery mode and this is a pleasant re-entry. List your favourite moments from December 1st through 31st. Look at what you have and decide what you want to do. You can:

1] Focus on one moment. The speaker can be in that moment, or recalling that moment. First or third person point of view.

2] The same as #1, but link the moment to a memory.

3] Fashion a list poem.

4] An idea of your own.

Nice and easy. Next week, we’ll leap back in. I will see you Thursday for links and Tuesday for my next prompt.

Happy New Year and happy writing, all.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on 05/01/2016 in exercises, poetry

 

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