Tag Archives: poetry prompt

Poem Tryouts: Let’s Change It Up

8:04 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Snow Patrol singing Chasing Cars

WHY, why, why must people change things that work fine? Hello, there. I just came from my Google Play Music. Someone decided on a new look. Pretty colours, almost unusable. For a cleaner look everything has been double-spaced. The result is like having a permanent zoom shot and never being able to see more than a few items. Worse: because of the resizing and different theme, only the first words of titles can be read. Useless. Not that I can do anything. That’s where I like my music (do not mention i-tunes).

Hi, again. Thank you. I would never have been able to settle down without a rant. HOWEVER, guess what the prompt is about now. I will resist going philosophical, as we have been philosophical enough lately, and we will make ‘change’ a word prompt. That way those who wish to be philosophical can be.

I was fascinated, as I so often am, when I looked up the etymology, to find that the Latin root for change means to barter, to ex-change one thing for another. Think about it, almost everything we use change for has exchange implicit. When you arrive at the dictionary I’m sending you to, note that ‘exchange’ is the third meaning. Look again at the first two. They both mean to change one thing for another, exchanging.

Hmmm. My computer is acting up. I’d better get this posted.

Look at the meanings for change. You can do one of a number of things:

Choose a meaning you don’t usually think of — ringing a change of bells, the change in your purse — and use it in a poem.

Or, you can pick several synonyms, all of which you use in a poem. The challenge is to choose synonyms that don’t necessarily sound as if they are.

Or, you can do a counterpoint poem: Two stanzas, one pro-change, one anti-change. You can also do the pro- anti- thing with your own idea for structure.

Or, you can think of a tiny change in your life that turned out to be a turning point, and write the scenario, or a reflection.

Or, you can go sci-fi and speak to future changes you foresee, and the effect of a change, or changes. You can have fun with this one.

Or, you can do your thing regarding change, because you had an idea as soon as I started talking.

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

Happy writing, all.



Posted by on 19/05/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


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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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Poem Tryouts: Will You Dance?

8:36 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Walk the Moon’s Shut Up and Dance

Hello, everyone. First, to all the writers of last week’s poems, my apologies for not visiting, yet. This week has been one of those weeks. I look forward to spending some time amongst you, later today. Today’s image prompt went out the window (or back into its folder) when I opened an email from my niece (no, not the one in Boulder, the one in DC) and watched her YouTube find.

I love dance movies and, invariably, they are good movies. Some wonderful person took three minutes worth of dance scenes and set them to Shut Up and Dance. In her email, my niece dared us not to smile. I was smiling by the third dance. By the end, I wanted to rewatch all the movies. So, here’s the deal. Watch the video all the way through. Then watch it again. This time pause it at scenes you find are nudging at you.

You can write about the scene, or part of the scene, as if it were a still image.

You can write about the time you went to that particular movie.

You can write about dance in your life. Almost all of us have dancing somewhere in our lives. Do you have a time that will make a poem?

You can write about the significance of a particular dance.

You can dance your way to anything you wish to.

I will see you again, for our regular poetry posts, Friday the 1st of May. Throughout April, I shall post a link to my poem each day, so you will be seeing me for thirty days. I think.

Happy writing, all. To those taking part in any of the April poem a day challenges, I salute you. Let’s go!


Posted by on 31/03/2015 in exercises, poetry


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Poem Tryouts: Burn, Baby! Burn!

7:50 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to My Little Town sung by Simon & Garfunkel

Hello, all. Everyone hanging in there, while our weather figures out what the heck it’s going to do next? Spring (Autumn) always does come, never hasn’t (in our time). We’ll get there. Meanwhile we have what might look like another image prompt. Despite appearances it isn’t, although you may ignore the prompt and write the image, if you wish.

Every now and then, my planned prompt is derailed, usually by a family member sending something that I don’t want to wait on. My brother in California sent this image of the Cape Town fire. Click on it to get the full size.

cape town fire 2015

While I never played with matches, fire fascinates me. Despite being one of the more terrifying elements, I can sit and watch a fire for hours. Think about fire, for a moment. How do you feel about it? What are your experiences with fires, small or large, wild or controlled?

I have three enduring images. One occurred in Northern Greece:

After harvest, Greek farmers
burn their fields. Thin lines of fire
snake across the hillsides. Ahead
of the blaze, a line of storks stalk,
catching frogs and rabbits
trying to outrun the flames.

The second was in California, while I was driving south with my mother. The fire was in an enclosed canyon, so that the flames shot high in the air. We pulled off the road and watched the helicopters trying to drop gallons of water on the conflagration

The final is a photograph that family friends posted of their home after the Colorado fire a couple of years ago. All that was left, aside from a charred pile of timbers, was their playground set, the plastic melted into some surrealistic, Dali-esque form.

You may write about something you experienced, or read about, or feel, or you might write from the point of view of the fire, or you might address the fire.

I will see you Thursday for links and things; and, Friday for this week’s roundup of prompts. Next week, the blog will probably go dark. It’s Spring Break and we are heading to San Antonio to check on my mom and start the process of our own move. I will see you on the 17th for my prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 03/03/2015 in exercises, poetry


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Poem Tryouts: A Quality of Light

8:46 a.m. — Atlanta

Hello, everyone. We have snow! Not much and it will be gone by noon, but we can look out on blanketed roofs and lawns. Unfortunately, we have visitors in the form of my Uncle and Aunt (the visit and they are not an unfortunate event, only the going out and doing something), which means going out in the cold and wet. Ick.

In the last few days, an artist friend and the art group I follow on Facebook have posted three paintings with particularly affecting colour. I’m not sure what I want you to do with them, but I’d like it to involve light.

maufra iledebrehat

Ile de Brehat by Maufra



raoul dufy still life

Still Life Before the Yellow House by Raoul Dufy



milton avery green landscape

Green Landscape by Milton Avery

You can choose one and write a straightforward response to what you see.

You can choose one and write a poem based on the emotion it evokes.

You can mix the paintings and take details from each to create your poem.

You can pick a single detail to use as your spark.

Whichever and however you respond, try to have a quality of light in the poem — it might involve colour, but doesn’t have to.

I will see you Thursday for links and things; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for the first prompt of March (I know!).

Happy writing, all. Stay safe.




Posted by on 24/02/2015 in exercises, poetry


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Poem Tryouts: The Language of Flowers

9: 49 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Weather Channelpoppy_flower_198889

Hello, all. It looks like Atlanta will continue to escape winter (a real winter). It also looks like the rest of the storm states are calming down some. Yesterday when one of the forecasters was tracking Octavia for us, he followed it through to NY and then he hesitated and, I kid you not, practically whispered ‘and then end in Boston’. They have received, in the last twenty-four days, ninety-five inches of snow.flower_bouquet_white_leaf_nature Mind boggling. We need cherry blossom time.

We are going to spend some time amongst the flowers. Whether your surroundings are showing early signs of spring, or fall flowers are beginning to show up, or if you are caught mid-winter, flowerless, it’s hard to deny the effect of seeing a bed of colourful pansies, or a swath of lemon yellow jonquils, or a bouquet of crimson roses. In California, golden poppies will soon line the highways. In Texas we will have the bright red of Indian Paintbrush sweeping us along the roads.pansy_flower_violet

In Victorian times, when flowers were given, they came with a symbolic meaning. Men had to be careful. They couldn’t buy any old flower. God forbid you should hand a young woman a bouquet whose make-up spelled out the message: I am yours ’til the tides run dry, when what you wanted to say was Aren’t you a cute little thing.black_eyed_susan_yellow_daisy_wild_flower

For today’s poem, think a while on things you associate with flowers and access any flower memories you have. Jot notes in case you need to mix a couple of memories for detail.

You can describe the memory with the flower as the poem’s centrepiece. Or, the flower can be to the side but a strong sensory detail.

You can use the flower as a metaphor.

daisy_pollen_flowerYou can compose your own symbolic bouquet — more work, but this would be fun. You will need to give your readers a legend, or you can decide the context surrounding your flower choices are enough. I have given you a link, but it’s fun to explore and find charts with flower images alongside their meanings. I picked the most extensive, but it’s image-less.

Play with structure, whether you create with single blossoms, several different blooms, or beds of colour. Remember, flowers are all about sensory detail, every sense wrapped up in a single flower (sound? Hey, a study done way back when tells us flowers scream when picked — think on that one a while).

I look forward to reading your flowers. I will see you Thursday for links and things (already?!); Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for our image prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.




Posted by on 17/02/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


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Poem Tryouts: Take Wing

7:49 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Alabama singing If You’re Gonna Play in Texas

Hello, everyone. New England people, take care. The snow continues. Down here, I’m just trying to hang onto a suggestion of winter. What can I say? I like winter clothing.

I have an unusual image that I found recently on indgoblue’s tumblr site (indgo is not a typo — someone already has indigo). The image draws me with a strong emotional, almost visceral, pull.

wings indigoblue

The image is presented as vertical. I think that’s part of the pull. I don’t think my reaction would be as strong with a horizontal presentation. There are a number of ways you can approach this:

1] Do you have an image that has an emotional or visceral pull on you? You may use that instead of this. If you do, it would be lovely if you can post the image with your poem.

2] Part of the pull, for me, is the Icarus thing. Icarus hounds my poetry brain, always has. You might write a poem that has something to do with Icarus, or with the themes suggested by the myth.

3] Wings. Is there something about wings that you want to address. For that matter, flight, or flying.

4] You may have noticed something in the image that fascinates you. Write about it.

As I say when posting The Mag’s link every week: You do not have to write about the whole image. Write about what you respond to. I look forward to seeing what you fasten on.

I shall see you Thursday for links and things; Friday for this week’s roundup of prompts (we have a new entrant); and Tuesday for my regular prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 27/01/2015 in exercises, poetry, writing


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