Blowin’ in the Wind–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Today, I’m hosting dVerse Meeting the Bar where I’m sharing a modern version of an old French form called the LAI (pronounced Lay). I would love to see you join in. The rhythm of the form begs me to be a bit whimsical although the original purpose was quite different. Lean more here.

Photo: Lansingwbu
Labeled for reuse.

Blowin’ in the Wind

So windy outside,
the birds seem to hide
in trees.

They just seem to glide
like kelp on the tide.
Strong breeze.

I will stay inside;
I think justified.
Oh, please?

Wordsmith Wednesday–A Potpourri of Thoughts about Poetry

Quill etc

While Wordsmith Wednesday tends to focus on fiction writing, from time-to-time I find it compelling to write an article about poetry. This is because many of the people who visit my blog are from the poetry communities I participate in, but even more so because poetry is the handmaiden of superb writing, whatever the genre.

For today’s post, I would like to reflect on a few reminders that can serve poets as well as fiction, or for that matter, non-fiction writers.

  • Don’t shy away from poetic forms. The discipline of adhering to prescribed forms such as those that define rhyme, meter and syllable count can serve as an aid when you run up against a brick wall. I turn to a haiku, an etheree, a quatrain, tercet or any number of “recipes” for writing when it seems as though my muse has gone into hibernation. This has never failed to help me jump-start my writing. There are a number of Internet references to teach you about form. Try Luke Prater’s Word Salad at http://lukepraterswordsalad.com/
  • Write quickly but revise with care. Poetry deserves the same careful attention as prose. Often, words and ideas rush in at you and it pays to jot them down as they come. First drafts of poems will often pour out in mere minutes. I’ve dragged myself out of bed in the middle of the night and jotted down almost-illegible epics that I don’t recognize in the morning. But then the work begins. I once read about a poet who excused himself from a writing conference because he had to revise a poem. He returned hours later and when asked how it had gone told his colleagues that he spent a few hours before deleting a comma and then, a few hours later, added it back in. I hope my days will be a bit more productive than that, but you get the point. I belong to an online poetry critique group and the advice I receive is invaluable. But, as with fiction, remember that you have the final say.
  • Sensory details make your writing come alive. Many beginning poets use their craft to probe emotion, to champion causes, and to express their opinions. Indeed, these are functions of poetry. But to be more effective, it behooves you to pepper your writing with devices such as metaphors or similes that employ those delicious sensory observations that you have picked up in the course of a day. I strongly suggest that you keep your senses, all of them, on high alert and then in the evening, take a few moments to jot down a dozen or so things you remember in your writing journal. You will be amazed at the inspiration you can cull from this exercise–for poetry or fiction.
  • Don’t quit your day job. Most likely you will not get rich selling poetry. You will not find an agent to represent your tome or make the NYT’s best seller list. You will find joy in the writing process. You’ll find that your prose takes on a literary quality whatever genre you dabble in and you can build up a platform for marketing your work if you engage in Internet poetry communities. There are a myriad of these that invite both seasoned and budding poets to post their work. A few of my favorites include Poetry Potluck: http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/; One Stop Poetry: http://onestoppoetry.com/ and Poetic Asides: http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/  All of these sites offer prompts and a forum to post or link your work. I also post a writing prompt on Monday morning which invites both poetry and short fiction.

Poem–Exodus 3:4

It’s been a while since I’ve responded to Robert Lee Brewer’s weekly poetry prompt, in fact, it’s been a while since I’ve written a poem. So here’s my attempt for yesterday’s in which he invited his followers to write a “Whatever…” poem. If you are a poet, I strongly recommend his blog, part of the Writer’s Digest site. You can access through my blog roll.

I have not edited this poem–I welcome your critique, suggestions, feedback.

Exodus 3:4

Whatever happened on the way to life?
Waiting to finish this or that until
the moment that was then, is now, is gone.

Look closely at your world:
the way the light shines through
the beveled glass,

breaks into prisms and colors
the morning quiet, livens the dew
hidden inside a trembling leaf.

Taste the burst of sweetness
when you bite into a summer plum
or sip the nectar of a lingering kiss.

Listen to the music of your child’s
first word, touch her skin and revel
in the silky texture of her hair.

The scent of rain on steamy earth,
the call of crickets or the mournful murmur
of the dove, do not ignore them.

Your senses call and you respond,
like Moses,“Here I am.”
Uncover the presence of the divine.

Island Hopping-Poetry

Island Hopping

At night, the frogs
outside our door
croak in syncopated
rhythm.
Today, their
babies leap
from one lily pad
to another with no sense
of timing.

The prompt for this poem was to use Island in the title. Those of you who follow Robert Lee Brewer’s blog and poetry challenge know that I am behind in posting. That doesn’t mean I’m not writing! Robert presents a helpful blog and is source of encouragement for poets and would-be poets. I suggest you drop by and see what he has to offer. Connect through my blog or through the Writer’s Digest website, under blogs.

April Poetry Challenge

I’m looking forward taking part in Robert Lee Brewer’s upcoming poetry challenge. As he did in November, Writer’s Digest poetry editor/blogger is posting a daily poetry prompt. You can participate by sharing your poem on his blog and/or by creating a poetry chapbook and submitting to the contest he judges (no charge and I don’t think there’s a prize except for the publicity).

If you wish to access his blog, you will find it on my blog roll (Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer). If you decide to publish on his blog, be sure to read the agreement. I’ve chosen just to submit the chapbook because of some of the terms.

If nothing else, it puts you in a poetic frame of mind, it’s a lot of fun and I wrote a lot of poetry last November. Good luck!

What Inspires Your Poetry?

Yesterday, I submitted fourteen poems that I wrote during the month of November for Robert Lee Brewer’s daily chapbook contest. As I think back about the process, I’m able to identify the source of the majority of the poems.

Each morning I reviewed Robert’s prompt and let it simmer. Then when Reno’s chill gave way to mid-day sun, the dogs, the husband and I ventured out for our daily walk. We’re blessed to live in the Sierra foothills. Our near-rural neighborhood is settled a block from the Truckee river as it makes its way from Tahoe to Pyramid Lake.

The month of November witnessed the transistion from brilliant splashes of Autumn to the stark barreness of Winter. As we walked by the river, nature offered her inspiration, often only as an opening line. Later in the day it seemed the poem wrote itself.

A clear theme of dying emerged–reflective, I suppose, of the change of seasons and my years of work with death and dying.

I’d love to know what influences your writing. Would you be willing to share?