Friday, March 28, 2008

Totally Optional Prompt: Regional poetry

Regional poetry is poetry that carries the flavor of a distinct region. It may evoke the landscape or the culture. The smells or the food. It may be in dialect.

Regional: the Catskills, the Cascades, Catahoulas, catfish gumbo
Not regional: McDonald's, malls, Milky Way bars, Motorola

Here are some poems that have a strong regional flavor:

Thetsane Blues by Rethabile Masilo
Ay, ay, ay, the black grifa by Julia de Burgos
Our Land by Yannis Ritsos
Daybreak in Alabama by Langston Hughes

Come back Wednesday night or Thursday morning and leave us a (gentle reminder) poem with a regional feel. Or, if you don't use the
Totally Optional
prompt, leave us a poem anyway.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Request for Poems: Novelty

I've often been inspired by novels to write poems. So far, not the other way.

This week I'm posting a link to a poem in honor of one my very favorite novels: The Phoenix and the Mirror, by Avram Davidson. If you haven't read it, you're missing a truly stunning experience.

What did novels bring up for the rest of us TOPers?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Totally Optional Prompt: Novel?

First, a quick reminder: TOP is a poetry community. That doesn't mean we don't like other kinds of stuff. We just prefer that your posts include poetry.

Now, on to this week's

Totally Optional


Have you read a novel recently that you liked? That you hated? That moved you?

Have you ever imagined you were a character in a novel? Have you fallen in love with a character in a novel? Been on imaginary adventures with characters from novels?

Have you read novels with poems in them? Poems with novels in them? Have you been inspired by a novel to write a poem?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Request for Poems: Get Surreal

TOPers, how's surreality looking these days?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Totally Optional Prompt: Get Surreal

Merriam-Webster defines "surreal" as "marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream". Wikipedia says that surrealist works "feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur".

Surrealism is not made up of completely random elements thrown together any old how. A surrealist creation has its own coherency, its own mood, and its own imaginative logic.

For this week's

Totally Optional

prompt, I'm offering mostly visual inspiration. Browse some famous surreal artworks at

Mark Harden's Artchive

and some contemporary surreal art at

Thrilling Wonder: Surreal Art

Come back Wednesday night or Thursday morning and let us know how it felt to get surreal!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Request for Poems: Smoke and Mirrors

Well, TOPers? Were you blinded by the smoke, or dazzled by the mirrors? Or did you go somewhere else altogether?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Totally Optional Prompt: Smoke and Mirrors

Check the sidebar: Sue of Tumblewords has listed a new collection with us!

Sue's also responsible for this week's

Totally Optional

prompt: Smoke and Mirrors. Check the Wikipedia link for more info. Thanks, Sue!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Request for Poems: Different Voices

First a housekeeping note: In the sidebar, you'll see a new participant collection. Yup, s'mine!

Now: Let's hear those voices!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Totally Optional Prompt: A different voice

As poets, most of us develop our own characteristic voice that we feel comfortable using. Perhaps it resembles our normal speaking voice; perhaps not.

But have you ever considered deliberately trying to use a different voice? To not sound just like yourself?

The poems below will give you a look at a variety of different poetic voices. Consider how your poetic voice is like, or differs from, each of these. Think about how you might use a different kind of voice. Use these poets for inspiration.

Walt Whitman: A Paumanok Picture

Emily Dickinson: "My Wheel is in the dark"

Federico Garcia Lorca: Adam

Amiri Baraka: leroy

Come back Wednesday night/Thursday morning and leave us a link to a poem you've written for this prompt, or something else you've written, or anything at all poetic. Remember, it's
Totally Optional