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posts about writing, poetry and prose

Poetics Serendipity

7:46 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald sung by Gordon Lightfoot

Hello, all. Happy Guy Fawkes. NaNoWrimo-ers, you should be settling into your stride. Let’s see what I have of interest.

1] At first, I wasn’t sure whether to post this. After all, it’s just results of surveys. Then I realised I was reading through the results, and I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo. The website, Galley Cat, has published what they term an infographic by the team at Stop Procrastinating that features the results of “A Survey of 2000 NaNoWriMo Writers”. One of the reasons I kept reading is that they have made the graphic attractive and easy to inhale quickly.

2] The Writer’s Circle is a wonderful resource. One of the things they do is find lists such as words used to describe hair. They found the list at a website titled Writing With Color. If I could have found this list there, I would have given you a direct link. I searched, really I did. I’ll give you the link to TWC’s Facebook page instead.

3] This last is an essay by poet Audré Lord, posted on the website On Being. ‘Poetry is Not a Luxury‘ discusses why women need poetry. I rather think men need it for many of the same reasons.

4] Courtesy of the always amusing Debbie Ridpath Ohi

nanowrimo ohi2

See you Tuesday for a prompt and Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 05/11/2015 in poetry, writing

 

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Poem Tryouts: Turn, Turn, Turn

8:O6 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to a medley of The Scottish Fight Song and Amazing Grace — I found it so uplifting to watch the video of this being played that the heck with the prompt, here’s a link, go watch and listen

Okay, okay and a prompt, but I’m going to take breaks to go back and watch the cellist. Hi, everyone. Settling in NaNoWriMo-ers? Have your plan in hand? For those new to Wordgathering, in the past year, I spend November talking to the novel writers. Sometimes I will have a prompt they can work on within their novel; sometimes I will discuss things to keep in mind. I always have a suggestion for the poets.

Some of you will be leaping in for the first time. Several of you have been participating for years. A few of you will be using the time to revise a novel in hand. No matter which, somewhere in your brain you’ll need to be conscious of the structure of the whole, and within the whole, each chapter. The same goes for poetry, but unless we are writing epics, we have a much smaller area within which to work and only one turn to consider. For both, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. The key component is the turn, the moment when the story stops moving forward, but instead heads to a resolution.

In a novel, there are many mini-turns because there are sub-plots. If you are panicking about the novel as a whole, focus on the sub-plots. As in poetry, the first draft is getting stuff down on paper. It’s not writing until the revision happens (except for one or two people who have a gift — we aren’t sure we are speaking to them). For today, be conscious of the forward movement of your narrative, and thinking of where the several plots will eventually turn, in particular, the main plotline.

Poets, write a poem where the turn is particularly obvious. The best form for this is the sonnet, which sets up the problem in the first eight lines, and then comments on the problem as a way of resolution (not, necessarily solution), in the final sestet. Don’t panic. I’m not asking you to write a sonnet, although you certainly may. But, be more conscious of laying out an observation, or a problem, of where the poem turns and how you reach the end.

If you need something more specific by way of a spark, check Quickly’s House of Curiosities.

I shall see you Thursday for links and such; and Tuesday for another of my prompts.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 03/11/2015 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:11 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Train, Train sung by Blackfoot

Hello, all. We finally have autumn-like weather. At least we do until the afternoon when it’s still climbing into the eighties. We’re getting there. In a couple of days, NaNoWriMo starts. For new people, during November I’ll post some links more directed to the writing of prose, and the Tuesday prompts are for prose writers but easily adaptable to poetry.

1] First up, Robert Lee Brewer. There was a momentary panic amongst participants, last week, when Robert had not posted regarding his November Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge, but it’s official: Robert is providing his usual forum. Head over to read the guidelines.

2] The second find sounds interesting. Novlr describes itself as built by writers for writers, a place to safely hold your words, workable on any computer. They offer a free trial period for the whole of November. It sounds worth trying. You’ll know if you must have it or not.

3] The next is from The Writer’s Circle. They have many good things; you’ll be seeing a lot of them this month. This first offering is to remind you to relax and laugh at yourself this month: Writing a First Draft: The 8 Stages Writers Go Through. (Ignore the stuff around the poster)

4] Grammarly kindly asked whether I wanted to share Which Literary Monster Are You?  Well, of course, I do. It’s Halloween weekend coming up. Have some fun. I found the questions asked, interesting, although I’m not sure about the conclusion. When you arrive on the page, hit the Let’s Play button. (Yes, it would be better if I embedded the link — let’s not go there)

5] A last second addition. Tawnya Smith asked me to post a call for The Mayo Review. The deadline is this weekend, but you just might have something that fits.

I will see you Tuesday for a prompt; and Thursday for links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 29/10/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poetics Serendipity

9:09 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to I Love a Rainy Night sung by Eddie Rabbitt (one of my all time favourite songs)

Hello, everyone. I hope you are well. I am sitting under grey skies, hoping it will rain. While I wait, here are a few things to investigate.

1] How about you find out how well you know the style of a few well-known poets? I enjoyed the short quiz as much for the illustrations as seeing whether I knew my poets’ styles. You’ll find Match the Poetry Quote to the Poet! on the site For Reading Addicts.

2] Now that you are warmed up, let’s head to a visual feast that can keep you distracted for hours. The site Bored Panda has an article on New Zealand artist Brian Dettmer’s work. If you haven’t seen his book sculptures, you’re in for a treat. I’ ve seen one or two, but not a collection like this. The article, ‘Book Surgeon’ Uses Surgical Tools to Make Incredible Book Sculptures is dangerous. Don’t look if you have an appointment you need to get to.

3] Trish Hopkinson had an article out, recently, on tanka submission calls and sites. The calls are for this month, which is close to ending, so I visited a site she suggested, All Things Tanka. If you write in this form, it’s a wonderful site; if you don’t, you might consider giving it a try, because this site is well-crafted and useful. I have sent you to the About Tanka page, but you’ll see it’s easy to navigate to their other pages.

4] Finally, something that made me laugh and which involves bacon. The image is courtesy of Grammarly, but I found it on The Writer’s Circle.

I will see you Tuesday for an image prompt and next Thursday for NaNoWriMo links. It’s that time again.

Happy writing, all

 
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Posted by on 22/10/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:12 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Spirit in the Sky sung by Norman Greenbaum (one hit wonder)

Hail. I thought I’d try a different salutation. Fall continues to fall on most of the northern hemisphere. Some places are even rushing into winter. Me, here? Oh no. Let me dive into links before I become maudlin, again.

1] My grammar nerdly self was excited enough by the semi-colon, but this week I have the exclamation point. This punctuation mark I forbade use of, by my students, unless an actual exclamation was involved: Oh! Damn! Nuts! Look out! Aha! You get the point. If what you are writing is exclamatory, the words should tell the reader. If you have to use an exclamation point as emphasis, you haven’t chosen the right words, or the thing isn’t due a mark, at all. Check out How To Use An Exclamation Point Properly (& How Not To Use It) written by Julia McCoy, for Grammarly.

2] It’s time to check in with Poets & Writers with their Tools for Writers, where they occasionally update opportunities for submissions and jobs in the literary world. Scroll down and look to the right column when you get to the page.

3] Let’s round off with a cartoon from The Writer’s Circle’s Facebook page.

Nice and light, this week. I shall see you Tuesday for a prompt, possibly borrowed. We haven’t done one of those in a while. I’ll go  riffle through my books. And, I shall see you next Thursday for links and such.

Happy national poetry day and happy writing.

 
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Posted by on 08/10/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poetics Serendipity

7:32 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Wild World sung by Cat Stevens

Hello, all, and a happy halfway through the week. I notice that most everyone has cooler weather, except the south south-western US. Feel free to share. While I’m waiting, here are some links to explore:

1] Hot off the presses: Penguin’s Vintage Books arm has signed several authors (Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, Anne Tyler, Howard Jacobson…) to write novels inspired by several of Shakespeare’s plays. Watch this video to see which plays and hear from the authors about the Hogarth Shakespeare series. The video is a little over four minutes.

2] The semi-colon is the most misunderstood and misused of the punctuation marks (although apostrophes are catching up). It’s also one of my favourites because no other mark implies the same relationship. The Writer’s Circle gives us Finally! An Easy Way To Know When (And How) To Use A Semicolon! at the end of which they have included a TED talk. I found their presentation, in the written part, to be admirably clear and fun to read.

3] Diane Lockward’s October newsletter is out. It’s always worth a read with its poetry, prompt, tips on the craft, and links.

4] This last is for Philly folks, or people who don’t mind driving into Philadelphia. Peter Murphy, of Murphy – Writing Stockton University, is holding a writers’ happy hour and invites anyone in the area to join them for an informal evening of socializing and camaraderie. Draw inspiration and support that comes from being a part of a larger community of writers. The date is October 21st and you’ll find more information on his site. I’ve given you the page with the October events.

Enjoy and I will see you again on Tuesday for our next prompt and Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 01/10/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:24 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Phil Collins sing A Groovy Kind of Love

Good day, everyone. You say you have things to do and places to be? Let’s get started.

1] I was havering on whether to give you Robert Peake’s ‘Why Poetry Workshops Matter’. He’s a poet who writes on poetry and I love his style, but this particular article isn’t structured to easily read: no paragraphs. It seemed unlike Peake (I discovered that it’s only when clicking through to the article that the paragraphs disappear). Then, I saw a link at the bottom, The Joy of Revision. Of course, as I love the revision process, I checked. Much better.

The first article is an update of the second. The second is properly paragraphed and has additional subject matter of interest. I would add a caveat. In his suggested questions about form, there should be a why after each. Otherwise it sounds like he’s saying this is the way things should be because we’re questioning them. He’s not. In the questions about content, readers and writers should be asking why and how.

2] It’s that time again: Peter Murphy’s Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway. This one I am determined to make some day (at least, one of the several Murphy offers each year). The dates are in January which gives everyone plenty of time to save their pennies. I love this in the description:The Getaway creates an environment that encourages each writer to take creative risks. Peter begins the weekend by singing in his off-key voice which leads participants to realize that if it’s okay for Peter to risk that kind of embarrassment, they can too. Clearly, a born teacher.

For those who live in the area, don’t forget The Collingsworth Book Festival, held on October 3. Peter will be offering a free workshop from 12:301:15 p.m. in the Festival’s Poetry Tent, with the theme Seeing the Sea Anew.

3] Feeling brave? I havered on this one, as well, but when I found I differed (no, not got it wrong — there are a couple I’d argue, but that’s why I don’t do well on multiple choice tests) on a couple of answers, I decided we all needed to read: 10 Outstanding Grammar Tips for Writers: Take the Quiz. I wasn’t sure about the quiz format, either, but the tips are more effective if you have a choice already made. So, take the quiz, read the whys of the answers. If you find it helpful, follow the links to Daily Writing Tips then Grammarly to find the next groups of 10 tips. Only the first ten have the quiz. If I were to choose one to keep by, it would be Grammarly’s.

A nice, hefty bunch of things to go through. Enjoy them and I shall see you Tuesday for our image prompt and Thursday next for more links.

Happy writing, all

 
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Posted by on 24/09/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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Poetics Serendipity

7:27 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Lady sung by Kenny Rogers, one of my favourite voices

Hello, all. My apologies about Tuesday. Remind me not to say I will post the day after getting back from a road trip. I have a diversity of links today. Let’s see what to pick…

1] An Ear for Poetry, written by Julian B. Gewirtz and Rachel R. Kolb, for The Poetry Foundation, is a fascinating discussion of what that metaphor means to someone who is deaf. Kolb approaches the topic from the point of view of both a reader and a writer of poetry. She then broadens the discussion by applying the metaphor to the community at large. The essay is long, but well-worth the read.

2] We are going to get technical. I feel almost as strongly about the correct use of the dash and the hyphen as I do about the Oxford comma, especially as it pertains to clarity in writing, or understanding, a poem. At The Writer’s Circle, Mary Norris, copyeditor for The New Yorker explains the difference between a hyphen and the two types of dashes (I was fascinated to learn why they are called an en dash and an em dash) in a short video.

3] For anyone wondering whether to get their MFA, Poets & Writers has put out their guide for 2016.

4] This last, I have a feeling I may have posted, but it’s worth repeating. Poets & Writers has developed an app, Poets & Writers Local. The first feature alone is worth the downloading: Find local readings, book signings, poetry slams, open mics, and other literary events. Search by author or venue. Save events to your personal calendar. View exact locations utilizing your device’s map. Share event info with friends. The download is free and available for both the iphone and android.

Have fun with these. There’s a lot of territory to cover. I will be back on Tuesday for our prompt; and next Thursday for links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 17/09/2015 in links, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

8:54 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Mack the Knife sung by Bobby Darin (I never get tired of it)

Howdy! My computer is up and running. My room looks habitable. Things are looking up. I hope everyone is well and ready for links.

1] I follow two newsletters regularly. I’ve mentioned Diane Lockward’s Blogalicious before, but haven’t mentioned Origami Poems in a while. One of the things I most enjoy is the poems shared from their latest micro chapbooks. Check them out and, if you are anywhere near Rhode Island, attend one of their events, for heaven’s sake!

2] Bless Trish Hopkinson for the continuing work she does researching markets for poets. This time, it’s in regard to markets that pay poets. My link will send you to her blog where she has a downloadable spread sheet.

3] Parker Molloy has written an article for Upworthy, on what makes a word real. He focuses on The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, created by John Koenig, but mentions a TED talk on the same subject. You can read, then listen!

A great trio if I say so myself. Have fun with them. I shall see you Tuesday the 15th for my regular prompt.

Happy writing, y’all.

 
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Posted by on 03/09/2015 in links, poems, poetry

 

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Poetics Serendipity

9: 56 a.m. — San Antonio

listening to Over the Rainbow sung by Iz

Hello, all. I almost forgot it’s Thursday. It’s the swimming at seven fifteen in the morning sans coffee that must be throwing me off. Let’s see what we have.

1] I enjoyed the article Americans Have Never Loved Poetry More–But They Call it Rap, by John McWhorter, in an article for The Daily Beast. His thesis and conclusion are: “And every fair from fair sometimes declines,” Shakespeare once told us, but when it comes to poetry, it would appear that America’s “eternal summer shall not fade” after all.

2] The second article is a little heftier, but hefty is good for the brain. How many of you knew G.K. Chesterton was a poet? I know him from his Father Brown mysteries, which I used to read and now watch on television. Having not known about his poetic tendencies and finding the article interesting, here is G K Chesterton and His Poetry, by Robert Cortes Holliday, for Poetry Soup.

3] The final link is a twofer and may cause you to disappear for hours. I first came across the article An Inspired Archive of African Poetry, by Stacia L. Brown, written for Poets & Writers. The article is fascinating but gives no link to its central focus, the Badilidha Poetry X-change. So, I went hunting and found it. Sometime later, I emerged to continue writing this. You will find, when you visit, both an online audio archive and Pan-African poetry show delivered in radio format. Now the largest online collective of African poets on the planet, as they tell us in their introduction.

I will see you on Tuesday for our next prompt; and Thursday for more links.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
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Posted by on 27/08/2015 in links, poetry, writing

 

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