Category Archives: miscellanea

Poem Tryouts: There and Back Again

2:15 p.m. — Atlanta, as I write; Essex, Vermont, as you read

listening to the shower

Hello there. I’m in Vermont. I thought I had another week, which shows you how conscious I was of actual dates. We are up here to see our grand-daughter, Hazel, and to celebrate our son’s 40th birthday. Even knowing my age and being good at arithmetic, I find it hard to say ‘son’ and ’40th birthday’ in the same sentence.

I will give you today’s prompt, but will probably be dark Thursday, and definitely be dark, Friday. Here is the link to last Friday, which will get you to everyone’s site and you can go from there.

I had been mulling the connection between revolve and revolution for a couple of weeks before Hong Kong erupted. As it is my home, I have been following the Umbrella Revolution closely [live feed] and decided to make those words our focus.

In the etymology of revolve, the oldest is the Latin: re “back or, again” + volvere “to roll”. Additionally, unroll, unwind; happen again, return, go over, and repeat. Not a turning, or circling of any kind [more a back and forth-ing], nor anything inflammatory. In the 15th c. came the added meanings, of turning something over in one’s mind, and to cause to travel in an orbit around a central point.

This becomes the first of the possibilities for a poem. Think of a time, an incident, an event, when you did something, watched something, or thought something that in some way corresponds to the oldest meanings of revolve. That’s my preferred focus for you (i.e. I’m curious as to the poems that might arise), but I know you well. You might also consider one of the 15th c. meanings.

Given the meanings, also consider a form that will suit; although you do not have to use a form, this begs for that kind of play.

Revolution began with the revolving of celestial bodies and only became used to indicate a shift in affairs of state, in the 15th c.; the political meaning, the overthrow of an established political system was “first recorded c.1600, derived from French, and was especially applied to the expulsion of the Stuart dynasty under James II in 1688 and transfer of sovereignty to William and Mary’ [I gave you all that because I got a kick out of the historical origin].

This brings us to the second possibility and that is a poem to do with a matter of revolution in your life, or the world’s.

I shall see you for sure, next Tuesday for another prompt. I’m off to play with Hazel.

Happy writing, all.



Posted by on 07/10/2014 in miscellanea


Poetics Serendipity: Catching Up and Stuff

8:55 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Myth of Fingerprints sung by Paul Simon

Hello! I feel as if I have been gone forever, which, when you think about it, is ironic because I have been here for every day in April. However, I have not been talking to you, coming up with prompts, finding links and rounding up the week. I had to cogitate a moment [I was damned if I was going to go look] to remember how I wrote a regular post. For today, I have a true grab-bag, mostly tying things up.

1] My particular poem-a-day was through the Found Poetry Review and if you haven’t had a chance to look over their site because you, too, have been crazily composing, then spend some time in May wandering through what my fellow Ouli-posters came up with. They [you, if you are one] have been wonderful companions to spend the month with. That’s all I will say for now, as rumour has it I will be posting an exit interview.

2] The winners of the 5th Annual Big Poetry Giveaway are:

Dhyan — who was emailing me as I wrote this, to tell me I had won one of his draws
Mark Windham [!] — hello, where would you like it sent? 🙂
Ian Chandler — how lovely, and fitting, to have a blossoming poet win — email me your send to address, or leave it in comments
Andrew Albert J. Ty — Really. We have to stop meeting like this, you know! [Albert has won every year I have done the Giveaway. It’s getting a little spooky.] Somewhere I have your mailing address. Be a duck and send it to me again.

3] All the new people: Welcome. Throughout April I noticed a fairly steady stream of new followers. I realise many of you are Aprilites, but should you be a steady follower, even a contributor, here is how the blog works: On Tuesdays, I write a prompt for you. I have no time limits as to when you write to it and post a link in the comments. I leave the comments open for six months, or so.

Thursdays are serendipitous in more than their content. If I have nothing, there is no post. Otherwise, I provide links to nifty neat-o sites that have a connection to writing in some way; I discourse on a topic, and am more than happy to have people ask me to write on something [to do with some aspect of writing!]; and, if anyone wants something announced, that goes here.

Fridays are when I round up prompts from a dozen sites for your delectation. I’ll usually write something about each prompt so you know whether or not you want to go look.

My brain just died. It won’t even tell me if I had a fourth thing. I shall go play a video game [maybe write a poem]. I am so glad to be talking to you again.

Happy writing, everyone.


Posted by on 01/05/2014 in miscellanea, poetry


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Poetics Serendipity: Review of a Writer’s Guide

7:27 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Snow Patrol singing Lightning Strike

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

Hello, all. Ready for Spring? Or, Fall? No matter where we are we should all be watching as colour paints our landscapes. Here, in Atlanta, the plum and the dogwood are going nuts. Around every corner we are surprised by clouds of white, or pink, blossoms.

I had been going to list participants in April’s National Poetry Month as I did last year, so people know their options, but things seem to be gearing up more slowly this year. Robert Lee Brewer is back and so is our Miz Quickly. I’ll check in the coming days and if it seems useful, post a list next week. Meanwhile I shall bring forward next week’s original topic.

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new book, ‘a first-of-its-kind writer’s guide which bestselling novelist Wally Lamb is calling “an effective primer crafted by a writing community on how to build your own writing community, and other fundamental elements of success as a writer.”  Although this guide was originally created with Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) graduates in mind, the reality is that the content can be leveraged by all writers.

Now What? The Creative Writer’s Guide to Success after the MFA is the first multi-genre writer’s guide authored, edited and published entirely by writers for writers.

Now What? provides dozens of articles, essays and resources; contributors share wisdom, advice, instruction, inspiration and time-tested tips for making writing a permanent part of one’s life, whether as a career, a hobby, or anywhere in between. Topics range from adjunct teaching, corporate careers, and creative inspiration to blogging, freelancing, and health insurance.’ [Lisa Diane Kastner — one of the contributors].

Hang on. Don’t stop now. You say ‘I’m not a novelist’ and ‘I don’t have and am not getting an MFA’ [although several of you are working on novels and a few of you do have MFAs]. Having read the book, I can tell you that it is chock-full of useful information and ideas in its two parts and fourteen chapters.

The first part is short, two chapters that address an MFA’s life before receiving the degree and immediately after. Even here there are interesting items that can be of use to us who are non-MFA writers of poetry. The other twelve chapters deal with items such as, finding support within our community, whether that be local, or online; writers’ groups; workshop options; having a writing buddy; the AWP experience [which many of you can identify with]; associations, memberships, subscriptions we should have; writing problems and strategies; getting our writing out there; writing while holding down a job, or raising a family [or both]; careers for writers; the writing industry; publishing — self, or otherwise; literary agents; contracts; copyright; things that writers should, and shouldn’t do.

The detail is incredible. What I enjoyed most as I read, are the different voices. There are dozens of writers and editors and other members of the writing community contributing. The book is easy to dip into. Even the choice of quotes the editors set off made me want to copy each one. This is a guidebook of extraordinary breadth and depth for all writers.

I have been following Patrick Ross and his blog The Artist’s Road longer than any other blog. Over the years I followed him as he took a deep breath, and mid-career went for an MFA. This book echoes everything he has written about his journey.

After the craziness of April, I shall be going through a couple of chapters a week, in more depth. Let me know, in comments, which topics interest you, about which you are curious.

I shall see you tomorrow for Friday‘s roundup of prompts; Tuesday for our image prompt; and next Thursday for a pre-NaPoMo post.

Happy writing, everyone.

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Posted by on 20/03/2014 in miscellanea, poetry, writing


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Red Wolf emerges from the woods

I was imagining a Venn diagram of followers of We Write Poems, Yousei, and Misky. Some people are going to see this four times, but we’re excited about it.

The borrowed prompt for today is tied to the anthology. Wander through and jot down first lines that you like [along with the poet’s name]. You can do one of two things. Take all the first lines you have picked and use them as your poem — tenses and pronouns can be changed for sense. Or, pick your favourite line and use it as your first line. Remember to credit the original authors.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone and happy writing. See you in the New Year.

We Write Poems

red wolf eyes
We’re excited to present you the Red Wolf collection, the first We Write Poems prompted-poem anthology.
This first anthology is the culmination of roughly three years of work – people writing poems in response to prompts presented at this site. So prompts and the Internet were the great enablers of the creative process by which these poems were written and shared.
The title of the anthology, “Red Wolf”, reflects the art banner of our site. We think it helps define who we are, who we want to be – poets who look to play a little dangerously, realizing the hungry teeth also of our natures, and with willingness in allowing risk. Real writing calls for nothing less. But then again, we’ve nothing against also having fun.
And because prompts played such an integral part in triggering the poems we write, we decided to feature the prompts…

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Posted by on 17/12/2013 in miscellanea


This was not my original post for the day, but as many of us are either poets and Scottish [ancestrally], or, poets or Scottish, how can I not give a nod to Burns’ Day. I was helped in this decision, by Chris Goan’s post on his blog site: this fragile tent, a blog I have followed for some time.

This is my first reblog, therefore I have no idea of what is about to happen [like Alice and the rabbit hole, rather]. Enjoy the post and maybe do some wandering of your own through Burns’ poems and songs.

See you tomorrow on the Friday Freeforall. Happy wandering and writing, all.

this fragile tent

Today is Burns day.

For the uninitiated, this is a big day up here in Scotland. There will be many a haggis piped in and much raising of whisky glasses along with ceremonial readings of Burns poetry. It is possible that somewhere in this wonderful world that there are other great poets whose memory is celebrated by a national day all of their own – the poets of ancient Persia perhaps – but if so, I do not know of it. This fact alone singles out Burns as special.

(There is an interesting article in the Guardian today about William Barnes, a Dorset poet, also a farmers son who wrote in his own dialect.)

Burns was a man who packed an awful lot into his 37 years of life. Before he died in 1796 he had been a farmer, a book keeper on a Jamaican slave plantation, a…

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Posted by on 26/01/2012 in miscellanea

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