Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt 31 - Infinity

It has been an interesting journey and I am very happy to announce that quite a few of you diligently wrote a poem every day. There has been a wide range of types as well as where you chose to display your poems. We have several participants that have tweeted micro poetry on Twitter, there are those that chose to display it on Facebook, and there have been those that blogged their poetry. Whether large or small, on the computer or off, all of us have traveled together diving into poetry, playing with words and hopefully we are all the better for it.

From Morgan:  When Julie and I discussed how we wanted OctPoWriMo to come to a close she brought up the infinity symbol. She said that we don't have to see this as an ending. I then saw it as a continuing cycle; fluid in our learning and growing. We are ever changing and though OctPoWriMo won't be creating prompts daily we all are still floating around this vast universe called the internet.

We will still have the Writing Poetry Group that I plan to peek into often to discuss poetry and throwing in a prompt now and then. I hope you will share what you are doing as I plan to share what I am working on as well.

For those that are interested, on Fridays I will be posting a weekly poetry prompt and link up on my website If you feel the urge to write poetry and would like inspiration, hop on by.

So you see this isn't an ending. This is, "I will see you soon."

Federico Fellini said, “There is no beginning, there is no end, there is only infinite passion.” 

From Julie:  In my mind’s eye I see the infinity symbol as a three dimensional magnet, inviting me inside.  I can feel myself skating along the infinity symbol, hair blowing, sun on my face. I can become connected with the infinite there and everything and everyone else, from this point of creation, from the place where words are born and poetry is formed.

There has been poetry since the beginning and it will continue just as we will continue. It won’t be exactly the same necessarily, but these people and their words will continue to flow into and out of your consciousness.

You may meet your poetry friends, there, skating along the infinity symbol. Take their hands and together silently recall the love, the passion, the caring, the heartbreak and the healing that comes from writing poetry together as we have done.

Poetry Prompt: You can choose to share your experiences in free writing or verse of this past month. Write for ten minutes regarding the ups and downs, the ins and outs of writing poetry daily. You can share a window into your new friendships from this group. 

Word Prompt: Infinity

Sentence Starters: 

When I come around the bend I will see you again...

Circling through I discovered...

I walked along...

I want to thank you for taking this journey, this adventure into poetry with us and we look forward to reading what you write next. Remember to come back and share your link, tweet with the hashtag #OctPoWriMo and/or share on the Facebook Writing Poetry Group.

You have until November 7th to catch up on any poems you would like to finish and link up.

Peace to you,

Please share and leave a comment before you go.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poetry Prompt Day 30 - Final Days of OctPoWriMo

I am still behind in writing poetry this month but I am hanging in there. I wrote two poems today and I can see possibly writing two poems a day until I get caught up before November 7th. If you have lagged behind you still have time. I hope you meander through the prompts and let them inspire you to pour your words onto the page.

As we come to a close I realize how fast these days have gone by; lost to never return. How have you and I and we used them?

I will miss this daily checking in. I will miss seeing so many of you writing your poetry from the prompts and seeing the creativity bloom between all of us.

Poetry Prompt: I found this poetry reading of One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and it reminded me of time going by, of things, people, and places that move through our lives. Make a list of things, people, and places that have come and gone within your life. Choose one that you were unable to say goodbye to for whatever reason and write a letter of gratitude for what that person, place or thing brought into your awareness. Think outside the box, or better yet there is no box. It could be absolutely anything. An example could be a favorite pen and the fanciful writing you did with it, how your words seemed unstoppable until the day you went to find it and it was gone. Moving from the joy, to the loss, to the gratitude of having the moments of magical inspiration while it was around. You could choose a loved one that you have lost, a favorite pet, a friend, your home town that you never moved back to, a home, the possibilities are endless. As always you can take it wherever your pen, or fingers, lead you.

Word Prompt: Loss

Sentence Starter: 

You weren't where I remembered but I wasn't worried, at first...

I couldn't let myself believe you were gone...

When I lost you...

Remember to come back and link up, Tweet with the hashtag #OctPoWriMo and share in the Writing Poetry Group on Facebook.

Wow what a ride this has been. This is my last individual prompt. Julie and I will both be writing and saying our farewells in tomorrow's final day of OctPoWriMo.



Thank you for sharing and recommending before you leave.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Poetry Prompt Day 29 - Who Are You REALLY

As I thought about this poetry prompt and all that has come before, I wondered how much of yourself you have put onto the page and if you know yourself better than when we began.

Has your poetry taken you to unexpected places?

Have the words that flowed through you surprised you in some way?

I found this video of Sarah Jones performing her eight characters for TED and it had me thinking about who you are, who I am, and who we are really-really deep inside.

From that place deep inside...

Poetry Prompt: Describe yourself as if you were someone else looking in, what would they see. Describe your mannerisms, your inflections, your idiosyncrasies. Tell us who you are as if you were on the outside looking in. Now describe how you would be if you were truly yourself, if you didn't worry about what others would think, how you would behave differently if you weren't defined by your environment. Feel into these two people that are you. Share with us what you choose.

Word Prompt: Individual

Sentence Starters:

If I were to be me...

If you were to ask my friends...

If you were to ask my family...

I know I haven't been around much the last few days, I am in the midst of a major change in my life; we are moving from a house to a townhouse. I will definitely be one of the ones scrambling to play catch up and hoping to get all of the rest of my poems done before November 7th. Yes I said November 7th. For anyone that hasn't been to the Facebook page, Writing Poetry Group, and read that I have extended all of the links, from October 8th through to the end of October, out to November 7th. That will give everyone that is behind an extra week to catch up if they want to.

Please visit the other participants and share word love in the comments, Tweet with hashtag #OctPoWriMo and share in the Writing Poetry Group on Facebook. I hope you choose to answer the questions posed above-in our comment section. I am very curious what your answers might be.

Peace to you,

Thank you for sharing and recommending before you leave.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Poetry Prompt #28 - Think of it as ordering from a Menu or Smelling Potpourri - Sit in Your Poet's Chair

This feels enormous.

This concept of writing my final solo prompt for OctPoWriMo2012 feels so…. I can’t even express it.
You may not know, but I have written and lead my fair share of writing programs, but this is the first in a long time. I tend to start my grieving early, so perhaps that is part of what I am feeling.

I feel pure joy that so many poets have been re-awakened, started writing again after years of silence. 

I feel satisfaction to read the words of new friends and pure delight when several Bakersfield poets came along and wrote with us.

I recognize as we have written our way through OctPoWriMo and in the weeks before we started, I have tried to share as many tidbits as I could to not only help you write but to help you grow as poets…. I have worried lately I have gone over the top in that direction. I suppose it is because I want each and all of us to thrive as writers and to feel confident as we begin to share our poetry with wider audiences.

This is why I decided in my final solo prompt (Morgan and I will write the final prompt together) I want to give you a very simple prompt, one of my favorite ways to inspire myself.

I love using quotes both for my poetry and prose.

There was a time when I did not read poetry very much, but as I grew as a poet I knew reading other poets was one of those “magic keys” to my own improvement. Not only that, but seeking and writing from quotes is almost like sitting across the table from poets I either know well, trust and admire and also it is a time of getting-to-know poets who are new to me.

I found a great place to discover new poets as well as treasured favorites. For the past few days I have been researching the best selling 2012 poetry collections on Amazon and searched for quotes from some of the poets who have places of honor on that list. By the way, it is a treasure chest for seekers of new poets to read. I have learned a lot and gleaned so much wisdom there.

Prompt: Choose one of the quotes below and use it as an inspiration to writing today’s poem. I won’t provide you with a word or sentence prompt, this is your chance to start “doing it yourself”.  Naturally we will still be around to write with you, but I guarantee it will be fun to come up with your own way once you start.


Think of these quotes as a menu or a batch of potpourri to sniff or breathe deeply.

You lie there kicking like a baby, waiting for God himself
To lift you past the rungs of your crib. What
Would your life say if it could talk? 

—from “No Fly Zone” by Tracy K. Smith (Pulitzer Prize Winner)

“You must be careful not to deprive the poem of its wild origin.” 

Stanley Kunitz  (Pulitzer Prize Winner)

“You remember too much, my mother said to me recently. Why hold onto all that? And I said, where can I put it down?”  Anne Carson

People invent poetry as a means of expressing something they can’t easily say. The desire to talk about special things in a special way, the desire to change, elaborate, or deliberately misuse language for the purpose of greater communion is all but universal.”  Brendan Constantine

And a video with some grand advice from fellow poetry lover and former first lady of California, Maria Shriver.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Poetry Writing Prompt #27 - What do you see?

Are you ready to write some poetry? It is the weekend and either you are extra busy or have lots of time to relax and write....

I have the pleasure of speaking in college and high school classes as well as other places out and about town and the parks and hills and wherever I am called to facilitate the creative process.
One of my stand-by talks is for students in art classes who are learning to write objectively about a work of art – or later in their jobs about anything, anywhere, anytime.

This time, I had each student look in their books for the important objective information about the work of art: the name, size, artist, and then I ask the same question over and over again.

“What do you see?” This simple question is the root to exceptional writing. It has the power to take you anywhere you might want to go with your words. 

Please take note of  how specific I am as I write what I see:

I see a grey papermate flexgrip ultra fine pen. (not just a pen)

I see my phone: a t-mobile smart phone called “my touch”… which I secretly wish was an I-phone (not just a phone)

I see lacey curtains and through them, a woman and a boy walking. The woman is wearing a white sweatshirt and black pants. I can’t see the boy clearly, but at first I heard the mother speaking loudly to her son. Maybe she isn’t “mother” but she sure has that demeanor. (not just curtains)

I see an experimental work of art I created a few moments ago, or rather I tied together the pieces a few minutes ago. (not just art

Purple frame, yellow dictionary paper that was once unused and unwanted, with another layer of paper with a short story from Mary Noallies Murfee, also known as Charles Egbert Craddock. (not just art)

I see a copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s poetry collection, The Unicorn and Other Poems which I use as a mouse pad. It has a gold cover, published by Pantheon, and has a painting of a caged unicorn on the cover. If I looked inside the book I could probably see the who the artist may be. (not just book as mouse pad)

I see a flower I created, or covered, with poetry and dictionary pages. (not just wood flower or flower)

I decide to take a photo of it with my Mary Noailles Murfee art, just to enjoy the contrast, so now I see the contrast as well as images of the evolution of my creativity. (not just take photo)

Prompt: Now, it is your turn to list what you see as well as write a poem from what you see. As a bonus, you may want to take your notebook out-and-about and take notes of what you see someplace beside your home.  I will also include a couple extra photos for inspiration (and practice “seeing”). You may use this option from your own photos. The video is about a poet in residence I am not sure where taking students on a subway ride to use their senses and experience to write.

I am known to go to a park or a path or a coffee house and take tons of notes from all my senses.
It will bring you very lively, very concrete, very image filled poetry, perhaps different from what you are more used to writing.

Word Prompt: Seeing

Sentence Starter: I see.....

(or) When I see insert description of what you see, I remember....

(or) When I see insert description of what you see, I feel....

Most of all, enjoy. PLEASE – enjoy.

I am grateful you are here, writing poetry.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Poetry Writing Prompt #26 - Use Poetry to Increase Our Ability to Love & Write Our Way Into the Power of Forgiveness

Can you believe the 31 Days of OctPoWriMo are almost complete?

This surprises me. It feels like Morgan was just asking me if I could help and I was sure and not sure simultaneously. I had cancer surgery ten days before we started and somehow, I’ve done pretty well, considering.

As we weave our words through these last days, I’ve been thinking we’re ready now to take on a topic that always has meaning for me.

Today’s topic? Asking forgiveness and being forgiven.

Caroline Myss wrote "Forgiveness is no longer an option but a necessity for healing."

There are a couple kids from my childhood I never apologized to, ever. I should have apologized. The thought of it haunts me.

I was usually the kid who stuck up for the less popular kids. I called myself a “friend of the friendless” after having a rocky fifth and seventh grade myself. In my elementary years, though, there was a girl named Celeste who people, for whatever reason, didn’t like very much.

Then in the later days of Middle School, for some reason when this one kid said mean stuff to me, I said mean stuff back. The only thing is I was quite a bit smarter than him so he didn’t have the ability to fight back at the same level.

I knew it. It made me feel powerful.

He would use bad language in my direction and I said, “Only people who don’t have large vocabularies have to stoop to use swear words. Too bad for you.” We lived in a suburb of New York where smartness and academic ability was as high on the totem pole for popularity as athletics and good looks.

I even had a mean name I called this boy whose real name was Steven.

I would love to have the chance to apologize to these two kids and I will do so, today, via poetry.

Who are you called to forgive?

Well, the person I am hardest on and least likely to forgive on an everyday basis is myself. I have worked for years on having as much compassion for myself as I do for others and so far it hasn’t worked well at all.

Poetry Writing Prompt: 
Your task, today, is to write a poem to apologize or to write a poem asking for forgiveness. You may never show these poems to the intended person, but I guarantee you will feel better having written your words.

Word Prompts:  Sorry or Forgive

Sentence Starters: I’m sorry…

Please forgive me…

I offer grace…

I offer forgiveness…

I forgive….

Final words from Caroline Myss - "When we harbor negative emotions toward others or toward ourselves,  or when we intentionally create pain for others,  we poison our own physical and spiritual systems. By far the strongest poison to the human spirit is the inability to forgive oneself or another person. It disables a person's emotional resources. The challenge is to refine our capacity to love others as well as ourselves and to develop the power of forgiveness. "

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Poetry Prompt Day 25 - Love Story

Unless I am mistaken we haven't discussed one of the main topics of many poets, Love. Every great poet has a love story. Rumi is considered to be one of the great love poets. Many of his works were words of love to his one great love.

Love is a madman, working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes, running through the mountains.... ~Rumi

Poetry Prompt: What is your love story? It could be your first love, your parents love story, the love between you and your mate/life partner/husband/wife. Tell us of a great love in your life, maybe it is of another in your life, a child, a parent, grandparent. If you don't have a great love tell us of the love story in your future.

Word Prompt: Love

Sentence Starters:

It was an ordinary day...

I opened the door and bumped into...

Please visit the other participants and share word love in their comments. May you have a wonderful week.


Thank you for sharing and recommending before you leave.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poetry Writing Prompt ~ The Luscious Flavor of Bare Bones Poetry

Today’s prompt is different than any I have written so far. It includes some skill building that will be exceptionally valuable for you as both a poet and a prose writer as well.

I go to a lot of Open Mics and Poetry Slams and the biggest criticism I have of performers is they don’t know when to stop writing.

They write five stanzas more than they need to tell the story they are telling!

They are having such a good time with the words themselves they forget there is a reader out there who they more than likely have lost by now.

When I was just starting out as a writer, I couldn’t imagine cutting half of an essay or half of a poem. Now I love cutting down to the bare bones of a poem knowing full well that if I want to go back and add more, I may. You are the boss of your words, remember.

I am going to let you in on a secret: when you learn to be ruthless with your cuts, your writing will improve more than you may even imagine right now.

My poem today will be written from words from Terry Tempest Williams: 
Prompt: Fetch a book off your shelf, any book, and turn to a random page. Pluck out three words from the page, any page. Make those three words the subject or the inspiration or, perhaps, a character in your poem.

Playfully scribe a poem from these words.

Take a few minutes with it, reading it aloud, getting to know it.

And then start reducing its girth. Start cutting with any unnecessary words. This is your time to make sure each and every word in your poem is essential.

It would be like turning a three stanza poem into a haiku or an epic poem into a ciquain. It is like the fun writing practice of writing a six word memoir.

The intent here is to help you practice writing and revising differently.

I tend to grumble at the thought, so please know I’m writing alongside you. I got some new books from Amazon today. I will put them on the table, close my eyes and choose. I will open a book … to any page and then point to words.

Whatever it is, it is.

A poem will be born,

Word Prompt:  Bare

Sentence Starter Prompt:  The bare bones are….. (or)
The bare bones remember…. (0r)
The bare bones upset me … (or)
There’s nothing I love more than some bare bones in my…..

It has been a hectic bit of time around here in Bakersfield.  I’ve spent so much time away from my desk I am starting to have withdrawals!

I’ll be back there right after my routine with my children and I’ll add a photo and some links. They will be inspiring, most definitely.

I am so grateful for you…. Stretching arms up…… and out….. embrace each other with word-love! Bare bones abundance of word-love!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Writing Poetry Day 23 - Double Challenge

I have a double poetry challenge for you today. You have possibly been writing poetry for the last 22 days, maybe longer. The first challenge is, I want you to take your favorite, absolute favorite poem that you have written, and record yourself reading it. If you have the capability I challenge you to video record it. And then take that recording and post it on your page. Hopefully we will all be able to figure out how to do that.

Yes the thought may be scary for some. It is a little scary for me that is why I am challenging you because I am challenging myself in the process. I am pushing myself to actually have this done before you read this. I have recorded my voice reading a poem recently but I haven't really shared it except with one person. I know Julie has. I know she performs her poems. This won't be new for her. But for some of the rest of us, this could be quite a challenge. Are you up for it?

Below you will find TED talks Rives Mockingbird 2006. I love how he performs and he is the one that inspired this prompt and challenge. I hope he inspires you as well.

Poetry Prompt: I believe challenge is going to be the word for the day. How does your body feel when you challenge yourself to do something new and/or different? Write for five to ten minutes about your physical reactions to being challenged, to challenging yourself to take a risk. Do your palms begin to sweat? Dive in and come up with new ways of saying what your body and mind are going through before, during and after a challenge.

Word Prompt: Challenge

Sentence Starters:

When I see a challenge before me...

The moment has arrived...

We have eight days left in this wild ride of 31 Poems in 31 Days. Be kind to yourself if you haven't written everyday, I am. Tell us, Julie and I, what you have learned so far on this poetry journey in the comments below.

Come back after you have recorded your poem and created your next post to link up and share with us. Visit the link before and after yours to share word love of encouragement and support for the other poets in their comments.

Peace to you,

Thank you for sharing and recommending before you leave.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Writing Poetry Prompt 22: Random Words + Your Pen, Pencil or Keyboard = Fascinating Poetry

No: I haven’t gone off the deep end AND I think today’s subject may elicit a wide variety of poems.

Lately I have been completely enjoying a strange,  random, or, well – unique, form of collecting. I love collecting letters, diaries, journals, all sorts of personal correspondence of ordinary people in the 1920’s through 1940’s.

It is not completely unlike my collection of women authors in the 19th century.
It seems like there isn’t a rhyme or reason for this love, but it is strong. 

Very strong.

And it is, obviously, rather random.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "random" as "Having no definite aim or purpose; not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard." This concept of randomness suggests a non-order  or non-coherence  in a sequence of symbols or steps, such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination.

Perhaps it is my upbringing : I sometimes feel I have a duty to justify the random things I love, these quirky obsessions that fascinate me.

What better way to justify some of our random obsessions than to write poetry about them?

How about some random facts to get your mind and fingers churning?

It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is shake and the 46th word from the last word is spear.

The surface area of an average-sized brick is 79 cm squared.

For the American poets in our group: If you have 3 quarters, 4 dimes, and 4 pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.

The Neanderthal's brain was bigger than yours is.

Now, are you ready for some random prompting?

Word Prompt: Random

Sentence starter:  "My love (fascination, obsession, intense need) for insert random passion confuses people and I don't know why..." 

"Why my _____ needs to know insert random fact  I have no idea!"

Some random fact links to investigate (and I have no idea why blogger isn't being consistent with font size but I find this perfectly random so I shall not change it:

Factropolis - Apparently closed in 2010, but still houses many, MANY quirky random facts.

Random Facts: (Except my daughter disproved the "It is impossible to lick your elbow so be prepared for random inaccuracies. :-)

And for you video lovers out there....

And a final random fact, I don't usually watch videos so I would miss all these random facts presented here as I only listen to them while I do other stuff online UNLESS, of course, the video happens to feature a movie like Dead Poets Society, which you may have noticed from other videos I have shared here....