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Friday Freeforall: Poetry Prompts Instead of Firecrackers

9:00 a.m. — Walnut Creek

Hello everyone. I hope all is well going into the weekend.

We start with Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck and a prompt that says in part: So this week, do some reading. Find a poem that is radically different from your writing.  (If you write imagistic free verse, find a tightly-metered rhyming poem. You get the picture.) Then follow the steps above to create your own poem that goes against type… To find out the steps and read the whole prompt head over to the Tow Truck and check out the rest of the prompt. It’s a challenge worth trying.

This is the last week for Writer’s Island and many of us feel the wrench. Losing two loved sites in a matter of weeks has cast a bit of a pall. But over on the island there is celebration of life. The final prompt says: So it is simple this week, please meditate on your vision of the future, be it for yourself, or loved one(s), or for the world — then share it with us… or let the image above spark your muse. Sail to the island for the farewell and to see the image and relax on the shores one more time.

The next site is The Sunday Whirl. Visit 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 from three poems. And be sure to go over to see what others have done.

Poetic Bloomings, hosted by Maria Elena Good and Walt Wojtanik, whom many of you know, have a form to follow this week: The Monchielle is a poem consisting of four five-line stanzas where the first line repeats in each verse. Each line within the stanzas consist of six syllables, and lines three and five rhyme. The rhyme pattern is Abcdc Aefgf Ahiji Aklml. Visit the site and look it over, read the prompt and the poems by the hosts in response.

The line chosen by Carry on Tuesday is: Is that all there is? from Peggy Lee. The question is interesting and might work as a repetition, so play with it before going over to the site to see what others have written and for a link to read the lyrics and hear the song.

Sunday Scribblings’ prompt is: give, or a form of the word. And One Single Impression offers us a celebration of tau day. To find out more go over to the site. 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. 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. I enjoy the whole site more every week. It is plain fun to browse. Go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog for her Limerick-off Mondays and a lot more besides.

Jingle Poetry’s ‘Monday Potluck’ offers us Saints, Monks and Meditation. Remember to pop by and check the image that accompanies the prompt and also a new feature that involves music. Next week they are giving us Siblings, Cousins and Friends.

Visit Magpie Tales for our other image prompt. The photograph is visually intriguing. I’m not sure what I will do with it; I know I want to try something. I will need to think of the illustration as a metaphor…

For you alliterists out there, here is ABC Wednesdays letter for this week: X. That is all I am giving you. The intro writer has been particularly creative to use the letter x. You should visit to enjoy the creativity. Read it for fun, if you don’t play.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are bump, knuckle, and transfix. As always, visit them for their definitions. They have a particularly good source. These three words made me laugh, for some reason and I will try to get back to see what people did with them.

Part the curtains, swing the windows open wide! Take a fresh breath of sky, prepare to greet something old and make it new again! That’s our way to say with a flourish, take some older poem of yours, something you thought might be better expressed somehow, someday – that day is today! Revise or rewrite that poem. That is how We Write Poems starts its prompt. Head on over and find out what else is suggested. I dug my poem out this morning.

Poets United asks us to think and write about freedom: I would like to point out that freedom is so much more than a country or mind set. One can experience freedom in a million ways.  You can be a free spirit.  Freedom is being eleven years old and experiencing the first time your parents trusted you enough to leave you home alone. Freedom is the ability to have silence in a bustling household because dad decided to take the kids to the park. They always have more, to help us choose possible paths, so go over and read the rest of the prompt and view the photographs.

Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Alpha to Omega Thursdays‘ is taking a small break but Susan assures us she will be back after a brief vacation to continue the challenge.

And, while not a prompt, I want to remind people to check out Elizabeth Crawford’s new discussion site Writers Speak where she asks writers of all genres to stop by and talk about the life of a writer. She will post new topics every week around Friday.

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 another open prompt, Thursday for a discussion of sites worth visiting, and next Friday for more of the same. Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 01/07/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Thursday Thoughts: We Take on Poetic Enjambment

7:38 a.m. — Walnut Creek

Hello, dear readers. Today we take on another reader generated topic [thank you, Brenda!]surprisingly difficult to explain and over which I would have stressed a little, as I am not terribly articulate. Not only did I not stress, I moved the topic up a week, thanks to Mike Patrick, of The Poet’s Quill, who wrote a poem that not only explains enjambment but is an example.

Most of you enjamb without realising you are doing so and, as you read this you will recognise that. Simply put, enjambment is the continuation of a sentence or thought from one line to the next, or from one stanza to the next. The term derives from the French to straddle which is what you are doing with your sentences, straddling two or more lines.

The effect is to force the reader’s eye on to the next line to find out what happens. You might think of the end of a line as a cliffhanger; the next line completes what is started. If the enjambment runs for several lines, a tension is set up until the reader reaches the end.

Here is Mike’s poem, which will clear any lingering confusion:

Enjambment

From deep within the poet’s bag
of tricks are found, extended lines
of words, which seem to have no end.
The seeking poet always finds

a perfect way to place the stop.
No tricks involved. The easy way
to keep the meter’s flow, is wrap
those cussed lines to lines below.

Now, go back and reread and notice where Mike breaks the lines and the effect of breaking where he does. Go back and look at some of your poems and find places where you enjamb and ask yourself the effect.

I have included a poem by Israeli poet Aharon Amir that is one of the best examples of how enjambment and the right punctuation can work. Read the poem below exactly as it is punctuated and note the effect of enjambment.

Nothingness

I woke up at night and my language was gone
no sign of language no writing no alphabet
nor symbol nor word in any tongue
and raw was my fear — like the terror perhaps
of a man flung from a treetop far above the ground
a shipwrecked person on a tide-engulfed sandbank
a pilot whose parachute would not open
or the fear of a stone in a bottomless pit
and the fright was unvoiced unlettered unuttered
and inarticulate O how inarticulate
and I was alone in the dark
a non-I in the all-pervading gloom
with no grasp no leaning point
everything stripped of everything
and the sound was speechless and voiceless
and I was naught and nothing
without even a gibbet to hang onto
without a single peg to hang onto
and I no longer knew who or what I was —
and I was no more.

If you have questions about enjambment that arise from this, please ask. If you have a topic you wish me to take on, I would love to have it [even when I forget to ask — send anytime!]. If you know someone who would be interested in this click the buttons below.

I shall see you tomorrow for Friday’s round up; Tuesday for an open prompt [you know form has to follow soon]; and next Thursday for some sites worth visiting and even bookmarking.

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
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Posted by on 30/06/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Tuesday Tryouts: Poems on Things That are Found

9:00 a.m. — San Antonio –> Walnut Creek

Hello dear readers. Tell me you didn’t see that coming! I was going to wait a week and throw you off balance but for the life of me can’t remember the exercise I was going to do this week, so found items it is. The exercise runs the same, but found includes a whole branch of poetry.

FOUND

Start by thinking about and then listing all the things you have found in your life. Leave room for notes with each item. You can do a companion piece to your lost poem, but make the list anyway. We are always on the lookout for topics to write on, so, resource pool! Possibilities include, a pet who was missing, a new word, a friend, your way [can be literal or figurative], an opportunity, an insight, a branch of the family tree, something you thought was lost.

Next to each find jot notes on what you remember. Try to include as many concrete and sensory details as you can.

Then, jot notes on any feelings and emotions you associate with each find.

Pick one from your list of things found. Decide whether you want to write in free verse or one of the forms we have been playing with or, indeed, a form you like but we haven’t played with yet. Choose the point of view — will the speaker speak in first or third person? The choice affects how the poem comes across, so you might choose one and mentally try the other once you have a draft. Consider whether you wish to include feelings, or just tell the story. Decide on the speaker’s tone: happy, ecstatic, tongue in cheek, humourous…your word choice will support the tone. And, if you don’t remember the whole story, make up whatever you need to convey the story you want to tell.

Then we have found poetry, poetry found in words already written [the most common form], or a photograph, or a painting, or a piece of music [no words]. Rather than make this post longer, if that interests I have given you links to the posts where I went over approaches to found poetry. I tried to give you the start of each and if you are still interested then keep moving forward in posts. I have the found poetry running over several days. If you aren’t, for some technological reason I have not thought of, able to access any pages, let me know.

Write and then post so we can read the results.

If you have questions do ask; if you think someone would enjoy this, click on the buttons below.

I shall see you on Thursday for another reader suggested topic: enjambment; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for…yes, another open prompt. Ta dah! I know! What is with me? Don’t get used to it.

Happy writing all.

 
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Posted by on 28/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Friday Freeforall: Poetry Prompts to Keep You Off the Streets

9:00 a.m. — San Antonio

Hello everyone. Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you all? No? I didn’t think so. Well, I do. Now let’s see what we have to play with this weekend.

We start our going into the weekend with Donna’s Poetry Tow Truck and a prompt that says: For today’s prompt, we are going to use some song lyrics about summer as jumpstarts for new pieces.…. Donna gives us several songs to get us in the mood, as well as possible directions we might take. Head over to the Tow Truck and check out the rest of the prompt.

We sail to Writer’s Island next where the word of the week is threshold. Head to the island to read their definitions, which I found fascinating. This is the penultimate prompt from the island which will be closing down in one week.

The next site is The Sunday Whirl. Visit 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 from one poem. Go on over to see what others have done.

We have a new entrant for your delectation: Poetic Bloomings, hosted by Maria Elena Good and Walt Wojtanik, whom many of you know. They have a poetic prompt every Sunday. Visit the site and look it over, read the prompt and the poems by the hosts in response.

The line chosen by Carry on Tuesday is: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, from Muhammad Ali. The line is fun, so play with it before going over to the site to see what others have written and for a link to read other quotes from Ali. I have seen several of the responses and enjoyed the writers’ creativity.

Sunday Scribblings’ prompt is: opportunity. And One Single Impression, offers us wind. 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. 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. I enjoy the whole site more every week. It is plain fun to browse. Go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog for her Limerick-off Mondays. and a lot more besides.

Jingle Poetry’s ‘Monday Potluck’ offers us Void, Loneliness and Sorrow. Remember to pop by and watch the video with which they accompany their prompts. Next week they are giving us Saints, Monks and Meditation.

Visit Magpie Tales for our other image prompt. The photograph is visually intriguing. You can do a portrait poem, or focus on the included details of the image.

For you alliterists out there, here is ABC Wednesday‘s letter for this week: Did you have some winnings this weekend playing whist?  Maybe you have read Wuthering Heights?  When did you last enjoy a whiskey sour?  Were you watching the US Open golf tournament, all the while wishing you could golf as well as Rory McIlroy?   Do you love the Wookies of Star Wars?  Are you interested in World War I or World War II?   Of course, you can find something on the world wide web!. Go on over to enjoy the rest of the alliteration. The author of the prompt had so much fun with W that we have an essay. Go read it for fun, if you don’t play.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are gag, maintain, and omit. As always, visit them for their definitions. They have a particularly good source. These three words are an interesting pick.

This is part two to last week’s prompt. In that prompt we asked you to stay close and simple, observe and describe. That is now the foundation for the prompt this week. This week we’d like to suggest you move your observations farther out into the world, go out the door, maybe down the road – both physically and as how you relate to your observations. 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, this week. It was such fun reading everyone’s contribution to this.

Poets United asks us to: Pick an inanimate object from anywhere and write from its perspective. It could be anything anywhere. Look at the things around you and imagine what poetry they would write. They always have more, to help us choose possible paths, and this week’s suggestions are particularly provocative, so go over and read the rest of the prompt and look at the charming and funny illustrations

For our last prompt we have Scribble & Scatter’s ‘Alpha to Omega Thursdays‘. We should be onto ita this week, but as of post time the word had not been changed, so if you are keeping up with this, head over and track down the latest. I have given you the link to this past week and if you look at the left sidebar you’ll see the Greek letters listed. They are also the links.

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 another open prompt, Thursday for a discussion of something I have yet to decide, and next Friday for more of the same. Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 24/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Thursday Thoughts: Poetic Inversion and the Yoda Effect

9:16 a.m. — San Antonio

A couple of weeks ago I asked if any of you, dear readers, had a topic you wished me to discuss. Viv, of Vivinfrance’s Blog, whom many of you know, had an immediate response: ‘Could you give us your view on poetic inversions – which I was taught to shun, but which sometimes force themselves into a poem.’

This could be a short post. My view: If the poem requires it, do it.

But, let’s look at what a poetic inversion is and why it was, and is, shunned by teachers. In the English language, normal sentence syntax [the order of words in a sentence] is subject, verb, object: I kicked the ball.

But, there are five other possibilities. Glance back at the sentence and see if you can figure them out before reading my list.

I the ball kicked.
Kicked the ball I.
Kicked I the ball.
The ball I kicked.
The ball kicked I.

What happens to each sentence when I shift the order of the words? Two major things: The emphasis shifts and so does the rhythm. Say each one aloud, if your internal ear is not hearing the difference enough. What are teachers so afraid of? With young, or new, writers, teachers want them to develop their internal ear before they take on something that can ruin a poem if a writer cannot hear its effect. That would be what I am calling the Yoda effect: Afraid of the force not, am I.

But, like many of the things I have said to beware of in past Thursday Thoughts, it’s more a case of be aware. Know that you [or the poem] are creating an inversion and the effect of that inversion on what you are writing. If it sounds cheesy to you, probably it will sound the same to a reader. You may choose, for the poem, to do it anyway, but you are doing so with knowledge and deliberation.

Some poets who have used poetic inversion: Shakespeare, often; Milton; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; and the most known for it, e. e. cummings. Go look at some of cummings’ poetry. The poetic inversion is a major device of his.

Why consider using the inversion yourself? For the reasons listed above: you want the emphasis, or focus, placed on a word; or you need to keep a poetic rhythm going; or you want to break a poetic rhythm.

I had such fun writing this post, so at any time, because I will forget to ask, give me a topic you want me to write about and I shall look into it, and if I am able, I shall write about it. Thank you for this one, Viv.

I want to give a shout out to all the people who responded to this Tuesday’s Tryouts to write a poem on something lost. If you haven’t had a chance to read their poems, stop by when you can. If you haven’t posted a poem, it’s never too late. Remember that if you have questions about anything I write, ask. If you think someone will enjoy this, click buttons!

I shall see you tomorrow for the Friday roundup; Tuesday for a second open prompt [whoo hoo!]; and next Thursday for …wow! I don’t know. Can you tell I am on vacation? I usually know two or three topics in advance. I’ll let you know.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 23/06/2011 in poetry, writing

 

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Tuesday Tryouts: Poems on Things That are Lost

9:00 a.m. — San Antonio

Hello dear readers. I promised you an open prompt this week, which means you get to choose the form, whether it is free verse, or a more structured form. For those who have been assuming free verse is free: Hah!

While free verse is my usual format, in many ways that choice provides more difficulties, because when I am not choosing a standard form, I do need to consider the structure of the poem. Forms, such as those we have played with in the past few weeks, take a lot of thinking out of the equation, because the form tells us how to structure the poem. We can concentrate on other aspects. With free verse we have to come up with our own structure to support our content, as well as all the other things that make a poem.

Didn’t know you were going to get a mini-lecture thrown in did you? On to the prompt!

LOST

Start by thinking about and then listing all the things you have lost. Leave room for notes with each item. Consider things like a memory, a tooth, keys, a friend, your direction [can be literal or figurative], an opportunity, a close relative. What other things have you lost? Or, in a wider, more abstract view, what has been lost to your generation, or town, or country? Plenty of possibilities.

Next to each loss jot notes on what you remember. Try to include as many concrete and sensory details as you can.

Then, jot notes on any feelings and emotions you associate with each loss.

Pick one from your list of things lost. Decide whether you want to write in free verse or one of the forms we have been playing with or, indeed, a form you like but we haven’t played with yet. Choose the point of view — will the speaker speak in first or third person? The choice affects how the poem comes across, so you might choose one and mentally try the other once you have a draft. Consider whether you wish to include feelings, or just tell the story. Decide on the speaker’s tone: sad, angry, tongue in cheek, humourous…your word choice will support the tone. And, if you don’t remember the whole story, make up whatever you need to convey the story you want to tell.

Write and then post so we can read the results.

If you have questions do ask; if you think someone would enjoy this, click on the buttons below.

I shall see you on Thursday for a reader suggested topic: the poetic inversion; Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for…yes, another open prompt [I know what’s coming down the pike with forms, so I’m lulling you].

Happy writing all.

 
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Posted by on 21/06/2011 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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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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