Thursday, October 31, 2013

OctPoWriMo Day 31 - Endings and New Beginnings

I am so happy that so many of you stuck with us and wrote poetry everyday during OctPoWriMo. It has been a pleasure working with and receiving so much help from Julie Jordan Scott, Linda Roy, Janet Parfitt, Amy McGrath, and Nimue.

Some things have to end for new things to begin

Today is the last Poetry Prompt for OctPoWriMo 2013, for those of you that wrote a poem everyday I congratulate you! Some of you have expressed sadness that this is coming to an end and the team and I decided to create Poets on the Page to continue to inspire and motivate you all year long. I hope you decide to join us.

Poetry Prompt: 

What in your life is coming to an end making way for something new? How do you handle endings, are they easy or hard? Samhain/Halloween is a time where the veil between worlds is thin and a good time to say goodbye to those that have passed in the last year, who do you need to say goodbye to? What closure do you need? Free write answering one or more of these questions.

Word Prompt:

Endings - beginnings

Shadow Poetry type, Loop Poetry

For those of you like me that will be playing catch up, you have until November 7th to link up your poetry on the prompt you're writing for.

Thank you so much for playing along with us during OctPoWriMo 2013!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 30: Writing about the Hard Stuff

Image by Brandon Olterman 
Poetry can take us so many wonderful places. It can be beautiful, sweet, loving, and gentle. But that's not where I want us to go today.

On this, the eve of Halloween, I want us to play in the dark. Words have power. YOUR words have power. Take a moment and let that sink in.

YOUR         WORDS          HAVE          POWER.

In my own writing, I often take on difficult subject matter. I throw open the closet doors, drag out the skeletons, polish them with words, then prop them up on the porch for the world to see. There is incredible freedom in exposing darkness to light. Through poetry (and other forms of art) we can shed light on the dark places in our world and, in doing so, ignite small fires for change.

"A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."      ~ Salman Rushdie

"Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes."      ~ Joseph Roux

"A poem begins with a lump in the throat."      ~ Robert Frost

There are so many possible topics to consider here: child abuse, bullying, violence, addiction, terrorism, discrimination, pollution, eating disorders, mental illness, diseases, etc.

Be brave. Go into the dark. Choose a subject and expose it to the bright light of your words.

Here are some examples of issues exposed through dance to further inspire you:

Addiction - choreography by Mia Michaels

Bullying - choreography by Bonnie Story

Breast Cancer - choreography by Tyce Diorio

Child helping parent - choreography by Travis Wall

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

OctPoWriMo Day 29: Epitaph Poems

Halloween is lurking and we are also reaching the end...of OctPoWriMo 2013 that is.
In honor of the ghoulish holiday and the impending demise of our month of poetry...mwahaha...(maniacally creepy laugh is not optional) the prompt for today is to write an Epitaph Poem. 

An epitaph poem is a tasteful summarization of the life of a person. A kind of poetic eulogy if you will. The idea is to emphasize the positive aspects of the deceased. Epitaph poems can be humorous, dark, brooding, maudlin, serious, whatever you like. Some begin with "Here lies..." followed by thoughts about the deceased. 

Prompt: Write an epitaph poem.  It can rhyme or not. It can be funny if you'd like. It can be about a fictional character or a well known person who has passed. You can choose to write about a beloved pet or a loved one you wish to pay tribute to or you can simply make it spooky for Halloween.  And if spooky is where you're headed...a little tip: imagine it being read by Vincent Price or Christopher Walken. I think that's a pretty good litmus test. Have a ghoulish good time! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt Day 28 _ Who are we?

This has been another October to remember. I have enjoyed OctPoWriMo this year, but once again I was in the midst of taking care of health issues while I was also co-creating the prompts and the community here. I wish I could’ve put time on hold while I was both preparing and
I hope to get around to more of your poetry in the coming weeks.
With that said, here is my final prompt for you to write your way into during October, 2013
Last week I saw a movie that has sparked a lot of thought for me. 
It is called “I Am” and is a documentary about how a serious situation turned into a quest. A lot of what he says is familiar territory for me, but it was so interesting to hear his perspective along with the science behind it. The movie's premise is based on exploring human nature. The director, Tom Shadyac, visits the most respected, influential thinkers of today to interview them ask them several basic questions.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 27 - Get Your Rhyme On

I get in a mood and I love to play with rhyme. Pull out those rhyming dictionaries or pull up the RhymeZone and let's have some fun.

Something magically inspiring.
For this poetry prompt I chose several different rhyming formats from Shadow Poetry with each subsequent poetry type increasing in difficulty. You can choose to do one, two, or all three. Or you can choose to do none of them and decide to do something else entirely.

Rhyme Prompt One - Monorhyme

Rhyme Prompt TwoDuo-Rhyme

Rhyme Prompt Three - Diatelle

Word Prompt: Daring

Remember that these are suggestions only and you can choose to find your inspiration for your poetry wherever it may be.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 26 - Father, Mother, Sister, Brother...

This is a picture of my mum and dad; it is quite unusual because my mother would probably prefer to have her head sawn off than have her photo taken so I actually don't have many pictures of her. But my prompt for you today is about family. It can be any member of your family; could be a step-sister or even the family budgie if you prefer. We all have a huge amount of baggage, both good and bad, when it comes to our families.

The tone of your poem is completely up to you. You can explore the skeletons in your family closet or go back to a more blissful childhood memory when everything seemed safer. Only you can decide how to respond to this but try not to judge; just explore, record and move.

Friday, October 25, 2013

OctPoWriMo Day 25: Celebrations, Good Times and Poetry

To begin: we are going to take a moment to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.

Think for a moment about the important rituals, holidays and other significant celebrations in your life. 

How about three inhales and three exhales and just open your mind and heart to YOUR holiday or special day.

Today marks a very important day to me: in two months my daughter, Katherine, will turn twenty-two years old. 

I swear, I don’t know how my children grow up and I continue to look and feel as young as when they were little – but nonetheless, December 25, 2013 marks the start her being twenty-two. I’m sort of nervous because I got married at twenty-three. Youch.

For many people, December 25 is an important holiday.

For others, there are other significant dates and times to get through: my younger daughter abhors Thanksgiving, which for the United States is in the end of November. I’ve decided I will create a special party the Sunday before that holiday and have people bring a variety of foods and we start crafting a new sort of Thanksgiving Emma can love.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt Day 24: Go Back and Go Back Again

One of the things I love about being in a part of a community like here at OctPoWriMo, we know we can reach out to one another if we need help. When I was getting ready for my surgery I was a mess, an absolute mess - and Morgan was gracious enough to recycle a post I had written last year.

Even if you wrote something last year, I bet there is another poem waiting to be written from your 2013 perspective. As Heraclitus said, "You can never step in the same river twice." In this case, "We can never step into the same poetry prompt twice."

It gives me great pleasure to reintroduce this poetry prompt from Morgan Dragonwillow:


As you continue to write poetry day by day, you may discover some resistance to going deeper still. You may feel a wall erect in front of you and think you are just blocked. Most likely fear is rearing its head.

At a time like this the best thing you can do is write through it. Allow yourself to write whatever is coming up for you and know that what you are writing you don't have to post. You don't have to but after you are done, read it again, and maybe there will be something within it that you want to share. The important part is to give yourself permission to just write all the thoughts that are swirling in your head even if you never do share it with another living soul.

Me before the world told me I couldn't be me.
This poetry journey is for you. It is to help inspire you to get your words down onto the page and to help you remember who you are at your core; all parts of you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 23: Number Theory

A page from my art journal
You knew it was going to happen. The former math teacher turned poet/writer/word artist would have to go there. Yes, my fellow poets, today our focus is numbers! Now before you roll your eyes, panic, and run screaming from the room, allow me to assure you that your writing today has nothing AT ALL to do with "Math" (unless you want it to, of course!)

 Let's face it. There is not a day that goes by that we don't encounter numbers in some way. Look around you. Think about the last drive you took, bus you rode on, purchase you made. We cannot function without them. They are on our calendars, in our phones, along our highways. We use them as markers of important days and remembrances of special years. They keep track of the pages in our books and remind us when we're running late. Numbers are everywhere.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

OctPoWriMo Writing Prompt: Day 22 - A Picture Paints a Thousand Poems

If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't it paint poems? A photograph tells a story and that story is usually pretty open to interpretation. Using the images that surround us is another way to find inspiration for poetry. What does it make you feel? What is your experience with the image? Or what do you think the subject is thinking, feeling and experiencing? Does the photograph make a statement about the world? Is it whimsical and surreal? Can it be funny, serious? Tragic? 

Writing Prompt: Choose one of the photos below and use it as inspiration for your poetry. You can tell us a story with your prose or mention the photograph within the body of the poem.  Have fun with it! There's no limit to where your imagination can take you. 

photo by Stephen Hernandez

photo by Robert Rauschenberg 

photo by Rodney Smith 

photo by Ben Heine 

Monday, October 21, 2013

OctPoWriMo - Poetry Prompt Day 21: Short, Sweet and Simple

Yesterday Morgan gave you a more “labor” intensive prompt, so I am going to be on the opposite end of the spectrum and give you what I think may be perceived as an easier prompt.

Before I get to the prompt though, I need to confess my latest dead-poet crush. I have developed quite a thing for that sexy beat poet who I always think of as looking like James Dean with glasses. Hot.

Anyway, I have been gaining momentum in my crush on him for a while now, but since visiting his grave in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was also a lover of Zen – and he deeply loved haiku and koan.

He wanted to try something different, though, and purely American, so he created the American Sentence Poem. It is like a haiku in that it is seventeen syllables, but the sound units are spread over a sentence rather than a three line poem.

Today, your challenge is to write a micropoem.

In other words, very short.Very sweet. Very simple.

Seventeen syllables or less.

Word Prompt: Micro

Quotes for inspiration:

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry.”
― Jack Kerouac

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”

- Jack Kerouac

OctPoWriMo loves - I am neither at home nor on my computer. I attempted to hand copy the coding for the linky. It didn't work. It looks fine from here, but if there is no linky here yet, please know I know and will fix it when I get home in the morning.

AAnna Stewart gave me permission to do so. I love you, Anna!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 20 - Love Letters, Not What You Are Expecting

This poetry prompt isn't what you may think it is. Yes I would like for you to write a love letter but not from you to someone else and not from someone else to you. What I would like for you to do is write a love letter between two inanimate objects.

You may be thinking, "Is she nuts?" or you may be thinking, "Oh yeah, I can do this." Well whatever you are thinking, I discovered this from one of my favorite poetry performers, Sarah Kay.

Listen to her perform A Love Letter - Tooth Brush to the Bicycle Tire. I think it is pretty awesome but I think just about anything Sarah Kay performs is awesome!

Poetry Prompt:

Take a look around your house and find two unlikely objects that you can play around with on the page and create a love letter from one to the other. I hope you find much amusement playing with your words.


You could decide to play with this poetry form, Rictameter at Shadow Poetry. I love the poetry form Cinquain and this is very similar to it. You can open the dictionary, choose a word, and begin or you may have a word that you already want to use. 

Now for an added challenge...

You probably have been playing with poetry most of the last 19 days, if not all, (and some of you for a long time before that) it is time for something daring. Something that could possibly take you out of your comfort zone. Take your favorite poem that you have written so far and film yourself performing it. This is something that I challenged the participants to do last year as well. Here are two of my videos that I created, We Are One and Oh to Be a Raven from last years OctPoWriMo. 

Will you take up this challenge and create a video of one or two of your poems?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 19 - Rhyming Verse

Now I know many of you have been avoiding this but sooner or later we have to look at rhyme. It doesn't have to be scary, but it is a form of discipline. It can force you to work harder but it can also make your poetry better.

The simplest form of rhyming verse is just four lines and the last word of the second line rhymes with the last word of the fourth line.

I shoot the hippopotamus 
With bullets made of platinum
Cause if I use the leaden ones
His hide is sure to flatten them.
Hilaire Belloc

The next rhyming scheme is where the rhymes go a,b,a,b.

I hate doing laundry
But there is worse;
Like the difficulty
Of rhyming verse.
~Janet Parfitt

And then there are rhyming couplets that go a,a,b,b, etc.

Redundancy pay
Is not a bad way
To learn at last
You're a thing of the past.
 ~Reay Fuller

And then there is a form called the clerihew which is a four line poem in rhyming couplets but the first line must be someone's name.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Shook like a jelly
When in the night time
His wife read him Frankenstein.
~Janet Parfitt

And finally, for those who like a bit of fun, there's always the limerick.

They tell of a hunter named Shepherd
Who was eaten for lunch by a leopard.
Said the leopard "Egad!
You'd have been tastier lad,
If you had been salted and peppered!"

So no matter what form you decide to go for or if you want to stick with blank verse the most important thing is to have fun with it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 18: And the Poetry Runs Through It

I used to strongly believe in writer’s block. 

I don’t believe in writers block so much anymore. I believe there are times when the words are tougher to come by and there are times when language isn’t flowing and there is time when any word combinations that show themselves on the page are too clumsy or just plain old bad writing that I throw my hands in the air in disgust. Usually I go for a walk or watch Project Runway on my DVR. Sometimes I even wash dishes or declutter.

Now, however, it’s different.

I’ve discovered the key, the secret, the be-all-end-all to all my writing troubles.

It is simply this: I discovered the joy of writing really badly.

It is waving the white flag to the muses and they respond, immediately, by pouring the most funky words possible from my hands to the page.

Sometimes, they stay funky and silly – which is good.

Sometimes, they turn the corner and I discover I really am quite a decent writer.

Here is your task, as strange as it may seem.

Today, write a really bad poem.

Yes, I said write a really bad poem.

Naturally we all have different definitions of really bad poetry. I may, for example, write a bawdy limerick simply because to me, a limerick is normally…. really horrific poetry.

For you, it could be writing a poem almost entirely of adjectives and adverbs or concepts that are not definable. It could be too sing songy or just going nowhere except… usually into the trash can.
Just give it your best worst.

Have some fun.

My only request is this: give it your best shot to be terrible. If you keep the right attitude, I will be surprised if you don’t surprise yourself.


"The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.”

Joshua Wolf Shenk

"Push away the sense of shame from writing badly, and just get the words out. "

Mona Simpson

Word Prompt:  Lousy

Sentence Prompt: I thought I would write a lousy poem, so here.....

I look forward to read your horrible, worst, most ridiculous poems EVER!

Have a great weekend!

-- Julie Jordan Scott

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 17 : Games We played

The moment I log in to Facebook , my first thought is to once play Candy Crush [ Am stuck on same stage for about 15 days now ].  And then , I proceed to check other notifications. On mobile too , I am addicted to same game from some time. Before that , there was Ruzzle , Motto race  , WordFeud and a  few more.

So while I was thinking of today's prompt , I was of course playing Candy Crush again , when the idea hit me. Why not write of the games we play on mobile , desktop or play stations ( sorry , I am not aware of latest gadgets ) . While we are at it , lets go back into our childhood and list all the games we loved to play.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 16: The Last Word (or Things Left Unsaid)

We've all had those moments when we have something on our mind, but for some reason we hold back. We're overcome with emotion and can't think clearly, but an hour or a day later we suddenly think of the perfect witty retort. Some of us have had friendships/romances that ended without the needed closure. And I'm sure some of us have lost someone close and we wish we could say one more thing to them. This is the basis for today's prompt.

A friend of mine that writes poetry shared the video below on Facebook recently. She added that it inspired her to write her own version that she called "Love Letters that I'll Never Send." (She's also participating in OctPoWriMo with us, so she'll be really surprised to see this!)

What about you? Is there someone you would like to write a love letter to? Perhaps there are ex-boyfriends/girlfriends with whom you'd like to have a last word. Maybe there's someone who, for whatever reason, is no longer in your life and there's something you left unsaid. Here's your opportunity to express, to vent, or to share something you wish you'd said before. To quote Sara Bareilles from her song "Brave":

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

OctPoWriMo: Day 15 - Making News Your Muse

In September I wrote about using what you find in the news as inspiration for poetry.  Whether it be a headline that jumps out at you or the story itself; perhaps a line from the story - any of these things can serve as inspiration for the beginnings of a poem.  For instance, a phrase might pop out at you - you see a line like 'China slams debt crisis, calling for new world order', which sparks an idea for prose using the words 'new world' or 'new world order'.

The example that most comes to mind is John Lennon's lyric from the iconic song 'A Day In the Life', which he took parts of almost verbatim from the newspaper, adding poetic touches to it to create a more artful vision of the events.

'I read the news today oh boy...about a lucky man who made the grade...and though the new was rather sad...well i just had to laugh...I saw the photograph..." 

'He blew his mind out in a car...he didn't notice that the lights had changed...a crowd of people stood and stared...they'd seen his face before, nobody was really sure if he was from the house of lords..." 

The Prompt: Regardless of where you get your news from, be it newspaper, online or television news, choose a headline, phrase, line or the story itself and craft it into the framework of a poem. Your poem needn't be a piece of news, the piece you choose is merely a springboard for the bigger picture. But if you choose to write about the event itself, that can make for a powerful poetic statement. See where it takes you and have fun. It can be about anything - not necessarily a serious piece of world news. Even something pulled from the funnies can make for good material.

Monday, October 14, 2013

OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt Day 14 - Silence

Sometimes silence looks like light.

Today’s prompt may seem like a strange choice: how can we write poetry based in silence? Isn’t silence a place without words and language?


What I would like you to try on is this: settling into internal quiet, stillness, silence, in order to fully experience whatever wants to be experienced through you.

I know, that may sound like gobbledy gook at first– but please trust me.

Right now I hear noise. I hear a dog barking, the television from someplace in the house, a hum of a car’s engine, another dog parking, a train whistle in the distance. I hear my fingers on the keyboard. There were times in elementary school I remember looking for noise so intensely I heard a single tick of the clock.

There is comfort in noise. Sometimes we may say we turn on the television or radio for “company”.

What if instead you chose to experience silence instead? Soon you would discover there are all sorts of sounds you can’t hear when all that static stands between you and the sounds underneath the noise.

Here’s what I would love for you to try – and if you aren’t able to try it – write about noise. Devote yourself to noise, noisyness, sound clutter, cacophony.

Please read these quotes for further inspiration:

“I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.” 

Chaim Potok

“In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.” 


“I love your silences, they are like mine. You are the only being before whom I am not distressed by my own silences. You have a vehement silence, one feels it is charged with essences, it is a strangely alive silence, like a trap open over a well, from which one can hear the secret murmur of the earth itself.” 

Anais Nin

“Silence is a source of Great Strength.” 

Lao Tzu

“From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.”

May Sarton

“Listen closely... the eternal hush of silence goes on and on throughout all this, and has been going on, and will go on and on. This is because the world is nothing but a dream and is just thought of and the everlasting eternity pays no attention to it.” 

Jack Kerouac

Now, for those brave ones out there: 

Look around your surroundings and choose something to gaze upon.

I might choose, for example, a bouquet of paper roses, a painting of the universe over my computer screen, a lamp, a pencil sharpener, a mug of coffee. Anything motionless will work – unless you are looking at a river or an ocean, things that move but have a very quieting effect even while creating sound.

How to do this?
1.       Set a timer – your kitchen timer, cell phone timer or one on your computer will work.
2.      Turn away from any distractions and gaze at your chosen object

    3.       If your mind begins to chatter, take a deep breath and whisper “silence” into your mind

     4. On any occasion of thoughts drifting or eyes leaving the object, whisper “silence” into your mind and take a series of breaths, repeating “silence each time.

    5. Allow your full attention to be on the object you are gazing upon. 

When the five minutes are over and the timer rings, scribble some first impressions and allow those impressions to be the foundation of your poem.

Word Prompt:


Sentence starter prompts:

When I listen to silence, I (see, hear, smell, taste, feel, sense….)

I gaze at ____ in silence and for the first time I notice.....

I remember a poster my father bought for my mother when I was a little girl. The first line said, "Go placidly amidst the noise and haste and remember the peace there may be in silence."
Enjoy this time of silence today.

-- Julie Jordan Scott

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