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Your Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts

7:24 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to Crazy Love by Paul Simon

Hello, everybody! Looks like Spring is coming to Atlanta. My eyes have started the pollen itch. Whatever the weather, I have for your delectation a few fun places to visit.

1] Let’s start with an essay from the New Yorker, ‘Why We Should Memorize‘, by Bruce Leithauser. This is not particularly long and should resonate with just about everyone. Do you remember the first poem you had to memorise? Do you remember how you felt when you had to recite it? How about the sense of having the poem become an integral part of your being?

I was in a choral choir in elementary school, so my first poems were at least spoken in the comfortable surroundings of other children. We won a competition with Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘From a Railway Carriage‘ which I still read as I learned to recite it. [As I trawled through the list of Stevenson’s poems — he wrote over 200! — for the poem, hoping the title would proclaim itself, I came across this title : ‘You Looked So Tempting in the Pew‘. Tell me you can resist checking that out. Remember that he wrote in the late 1800s.

My first solo poem, was ‘The Prologue’ to Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’… in Middle English. I can still recite the opening few lines.

Leithauser’s thesis is: The best argument for verse memorization may be that it provides us with knowledge of a qualitatively and physiologically different variety: you take the poem inside you, into your brain chemistry if not your blood, and you know it at a deeper, bodily level than if you simply read it off a screen.

Read the article. Memorise a poem.

2] How about the February Newsletter from the Origami Poems Project. When you arrive, glance at the right and scroll down a little. Kim Baker gives us a short piece on places to start when looking for publishing possibilities. I’ve used CRWROPPS for years, and have suggested it here a couple of times. If you want to try it, I suggest a dedicated email account. Read the rest of the newsletter. While it is Rhode Island-centric (as it should be!), the newsletter also serves as a reminder that OPP is a place we can submit.

3] I know many of you enjoy TEDTalks. I found the first set of talks they published on The Creative Process. Some of you may have come across the Collins and the Gilbert — they have each done more than one, so check —  but probably not Abigail Washburn’s What Do China and the Banjo Have in Common?

Enough? Okay. Three sounds a goodly number. Enjoy these and I shall see you tomorrow for the prompts roundup; next Tuesday to tryout a prompt to do with a sense of the land; and next Thursday for whatever comes along. 

Happy writing, everyone.

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on 07/02/2013 in poetry, writing

 

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Your Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts

11:54 a.m. — San Antonio

Okay, so I said this column (?) would be down for the summer, but I wanted to thank a couple of people and not tack it onto the roundup, or Tuesday’s Tryouts.

Many of you are aware that I spent the past weekend in Rhode Island [a wonderful state with the friendliest people], celebrating the Origami Poems Project 3rd anniversary with the two women responsible for the continuation of this unusual Press, and honouring Jack Penha, best friend, mentor, author, editor of The New Verse News, and much, much more, and Tom Chandler, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Rhode Island.

The two women who set up the event, and who take care of all of their poets as they would a family, Jan Keough  and Lynnie Gobeille, deserve their own celebrating and honouring for bringing off such a successful event and for all they do to send free poetry out into the world.

Jan and Lynnie, along with all the other events they sponsor, the reading of poetry, the selecting of poets and poems, the printing of the micro chapbooks, the folding of the chapbooks and then, the disseminating of the chapbooks all over Rhode Island, have been working on this event for months, making sure everything would run perfectly and everyone be happy.

It did and we were. The venue was the Wickford Art Gallery, a small square building on the water. Inside all is light-filled and the walls covered with gorgeous photographs and paintings. In the centre, roughly forty chairs were set up, facing a lectern with a mic. Behind the chairs, stood a table serving wine and chocolate, throughout [I ask you: what could be better?]. To one side stood a table where the two honourees signed books afterwards.

Listening to seven poets read is a magical way to spend an afternoon.

Everything was wonderful, from first to last. Not a hitch, although I know Jan and Lynnie worried until the last person left. Their care of and for us and for poetry is one of the things that made the afternoon so special.

I point you in the direction of the Origami Poems Project every now and then. I will keep nudging. This is a special project. Check it out. Read some of the micro-chapbooks. They are all there, online. Learn how the chapbooks are folded from a single sheet of A4 paper. Consider submitting your own poems.

Thank you, Jan and Lynnie, for the magic.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on 28/06/2012 in poetry

 

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Come and Get it! Freeforall! It’s Friday!

8:30 a.m. — San Antonio

Here we are again. Hello, all. Let us start with our week of wonderful possibilities.

Donna and ‘The Poetry Mixtape’ is in the second week of a two week break. Donna is still blogging and has been giving us her day at the writing workshops. You will find music, books, mini-discussions, tips, lots of interesting stuff, especially if you have wondered what writers do at workshops. For anyone who has not visited Donna’s blog, Put Words Together. Make Meaning, I will leave a link here so you can visit and explore.

Joseph Harker gives us Reverie Twenty-Four: OBEY. Whom? you ask. You will have to wander over to find out, but are Joseph’s exercises ever not intriguing? Correct, so go.

Over at Adele’s, The Music In It: Adele Kenny’s Poetry Blog the topic is fabulous fruit and Adele tells us My advice is to nibble on a piece of fruit while you’re writing. I have some watermelon in the icebox. It could get messy, but I can see how that would work with my mind while I write. We are given several directions in which we can go. I want to try each one. I may end up with a fruit basket. Adele’s prompts are always more than the sum of their parts. To read all the possibilities, and to be given links to corresponding poetry, visit.

Over at Poetic Bloomings we are burning. Visit to read what our hosts say and to read their poems in response to the prompt. Marie Elena and Walt have a plea for their blooming poets, [you know who you are] so stop by their home page, as well.

Have you whirled? At The Sunday Whirl, Brenda and The Whirl give us our wordle words from a list at school and the final thirteenth [it’s baker’s dozen time] from Paula on The Whirl’s Facebook page. Visit to see the wordle and to read what others have done.

Carry On Tuesday gives us the opening line of Walter de la Mare’s poem ‘The Listeners,’ and me a strong memory flash. In sixth grade, my choral group won gold with this poem. Head over to read the line and for a link to read the poem.

It’s that time: Limerick-off Mondays. Go to Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. Stay to shoot the breeze. She calls it a humour blog for a reason. Go for the laugh. It’s healthy. It doesn’t much matter if you don’t want to write a limerick; reading them brightens a day. Fact.

I thought I had seen every M. C. Escher print, but this is a new one. I sat for several minutes looking at it, before I remembered you all… twice![ I had to go back to copy the URL and found myself staring at the image, again.] Visit Magpie Tales for our image prompt and to read how others approached this image.

Shawna, over at rosemary mint, is taking her two week break from connected madness, sort of. I had to laugh when I saw she hasn’t quite pulled the plug. I am giving you her blog’s general link, so you can wander through word lists if you need one. Shawna’s approach to word lists: ‘To participate, write a poem or short passage/story using at least one of the words listed below. Feel free to use word variations (e.g., “chancing” rather than “chance”) as necessary.’

Poetry Jam provides us with a prompt from Mary, who asks us to consider things we shouldn’t have done but did. Head on over and read what she has to say on the subject.

For you alliterationists out there, visit ABC Wednesday. This week’s introduction offers a short travelogue of West Virginia. Visit to read and perhaps participate.

The three words this week for Three Word Wednesday are fog, lenient, and struggle. You might try writing down the first thoughts that come into your head as you read these words, before you go on to visit the site for their definitions. TWW has a particularly good source and I often get ideas from the definitions rather than the given words.

Over at imaginary garden with real toads, we start with Ella’s Edge where she asks us to write an SOS. It’s not quite what you think, so go over and find out what is being saved.  It’s also Fireblossom Friday. Think famous. Go play with the toads.

We Write Poems asks us to play with naming, and, as we all know the power of names, what we are being asked to do is interesting. Go. Find out.

At Poets United, we are invited to consider the labyrinth, but not quite as you may think. Visit to find out what we are asked to try.

At dVerse’s Meeting the Bar, Victoria writes about setting and place, in poetry. As always, explore the pub while you are there. They offer so much on their menu.  You might find several of us propping up the bar. They make us feel welcome.

Patricia K. Lichen, Author, in her Weekend Haiku & Limericks gives us several options to use as resources. An interesting possibility, she suggests, is to look at the comments and pull a poem from them. Visit for the possibilities and because it’s fun to wander through the site.

Flash fiction fans: I’m going to give you the link to the general site of Flashy Fiction, rather than always giving you Friday, as you might come to the site on a different day, thus be offered a different image. Pot luck. Remember that we often get a possible direction along with the image.

The final posting is for Trifecta, I have given you the link to the Instructions page. They have an interesting shtick. Visit and find out what.

If you have questions, ask. If you write in response to any of these, the people whose blogs you visit would love to read your responses. So, post!

Remember: If you have a topic you want me to discuss, tell me. I’ll take on just about anything and if it’s beyond me, I’ll find sources. What niggles? What have you wanted to ask, or know? If you have an announcement you want posted, send it along for Your Serendipity @ Thursday Thoughts. While Thoughts is going down for the summer, I would love to build for Autumn. What do you have for me?

I shall see you at Tuesday Tryouts and talk a little about summer images; then, Friday for the next roundup. I’m off to Rhode Island this weekend to celebrate the Origami Poems Project’s 3rd anniversary and to help honour my mentor, Jack [James] Penha.

Happy writing, everyone.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on 22/06/2012 in exercises, poetry, writing

 

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