Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Request for Poems: Restart

Best wishes to all TOP participants as you continue, start, or restart your prompt play elsewhere. It's been a fun ride.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Restart

Used to be, you had to flip the power switch on your computer to restart it. (You know, if it got hung somehow.) Now, most computers have a "restart" or "reset" switch.

Do you? As a poet, or in general? What do you do to get restarted on a task or activity that you've dropped, and that's lain fallow for a while?

The Request for this prompt will go up Sept. 30, and that will be the last from Totally Optional Prompts. Thanks, all, for the good ride.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Request for Poems: Penultimate

Sorry for the late post, TOPers: there's been illness at my house, plus an escalating workload.

Saturday Sept. 26th will be the last prompt at TOP, followed by the last request on Wednesday Sept. 30th. So this is... the penultimate request.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Penultimate

"Penultimate" means "next to last", as in "This is the penultimate prompt from Totally Optional Prompts."

First-comers and last-comers tend to get most of the attention. Do you ever think about the penultimates? Those often overlooked middle children, not-quite-bringers-up-the-rear? Write about them for this week's
Totally Optional

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Request for Poems: The Hive

Were we bzzzzzzzzy this week, TOPers?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: The Hive

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a hive mind? Does something give you hives?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Request for Poems: "Slowly, he turned..."

What slow turns did our writing take this week, TOPers? Let us know!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: "Slowly, he turned..."

In Peter Beagle's very fine short story "Sppok" (available in his equally fine collection, We Never Talk About My Brother), mention is made of a series of vaudeville routines centered around the line "Slowly, he turned..."

Whether there ever were such routines or not, I don't know. But it's a great line, and it forms the inspiration for this week's
Totally Optional
prompt: Write a poem in which someone is walking away, comes to a realization, and turns back... slowly. Milk that dramatic tension!

Come back Thursday and let's share some slow turns.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Request for Poems: Homework

Welcome to the last month of TOP. We've had a good run, and I'm happy to be moving on. The Internet's full of great prompt sites, so I have no fears that anyone will feel they can't find a place to share poetry.

So this is your next homework assignment: get involved in some more poetry communities!

Now, let's see the results of this week's homework (don't worry, we're not giving grades...)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Homework

Sadly, this is my last prompt. Tiel will be back on Wednesday evening and will have one more month of prompts for us before we close the site.

I've enjoyed my time as prompt thinker-upper, probably because as a teacher I love giving homework!

So, that's my last prompt for you: Write about homework.

Thanks to everyone who's been participating. I always looked forward to getting home from school on Thursdays and reading all the poems. I'll miss that but I'll see you around on other sites, I'm sure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Request for Poems: Laundry

It's time to hang your poems on the line so leave a link in the comments to anything you've written.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Laundry

When I sat down to write this post, I had no idea what the prompt would be and decided just to go with the first thing that popped into my head: laundry. That's probably because I just folded a dark load and have the lights washing right now.

So, what do you have to say about laundry? Do you do your own or does someone do it for you? Do you hang it outside or use a dryer? Do you use fabric softener and bleach?

And what about your dirty laundry? You know those deep, dark secrets. Do you air them or keep them hidden away?

Please join us on Wednesday evening or sometime thereafter to share your poetry.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Request for Poems: From Here to There

Here's the chance to show us what you wrote this week. Just leave a link to your poem in the comments, there!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: From Here to There

This week try writing a poem that begins with a strong word and ends with that word's opposite.

For example, if the first word of your poem is "beautiful" then the last word should be "ugly."

Hope to see you starting Wednesday evening about 7 EDT with any poem you'd like to share.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Request for Poems: Death and Shoes

Here it is another Wednesday evening and it's time to share what you've written this week. Personally, I haven't written a thing as my muse has gone on vacation, I guess! But, tomorrow, I'm going to settle down, ride my bike to the beach, and, hopefully, the words will start to flow.

Just leave a link in the comments. Thanks.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Death and Shoes

That's right: Death and Shoes!

Talk about death by writing about a pair of shoes.

Kind of morbid, I know, but I've actually used this prompt with my poetry-writing kids and the results have been great. One girl wrote about a pair of ballet slippers but it was really about her little cousin's death from cancer. And another boy used his grandfather's old boots to write a moving memorial about him and all the hunting trips they took together.

Sometimes, when we focus on the little things, we are better able to deal with the big emotions.

We'll be back on Wednesday evening about 7 EDT and we hope you will be, too, to share whatever you've written this week.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Request for Poems: Color

Show us your true colors!

Or anything else!

Just leave a link in the comments.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Color

What color are you? Not your favorite color but write about what color represents your personality.

Are you as spicy as red spaghetti sauce?
As steady as green pine needles?
As lively as a tangerine?
As boring as chalk?

Tell us about yourself using unique color words.

Or not. It is totally optional, you know!

The request for poems will be up Wednesday evening at 7 EDT.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Request for Poems: Midnight

Sorry for the late prompt, TOPers: it was 106 degrees at my house yesterday afternoon, and computers don't like that kind of heat.

Linda and I will be retiring as the hosts of Totally Optional Prompts: her last month will be September and mine will be October. I think TOP's had a good run, and has accomplished some good stuff, but it's time for us to move on. So: if anyone, or several, are interested in taking over as host, let me know at tielansari AT gmail DOT com. Otherwise TOP will end October 31st. (Seems like the right date for it.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Midnight

Midnight. What might happen at midnight? Besides the date changing, a new day starting, a deal with the devil, the witching hour, a half-moon rising, clocks chiming?

Let us know, if you decide to follow this week's
Totally Optional
prompt! And if not, leave us a link anyway-- on Wednesday or Thursday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Request for Poems: Planning/Spontaneity

TOPers, did you make a break this week with your usual way of doing things? Let's see the results!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Spontaneity/Planning

This week's prompt is: Spontaneity. Or its converse, planning. Do you write off the top of your head? Or do you sit down and plan it out?

Whichever you usually do, try to do the opposite this week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Request for Poems: Random stuff

TOPers, sorry, I'm late putting this up. Random links in the comments please!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Some random stuff

For this week's prompt, try writing a poem about one, some, or all of the following:
black mice
durien sherbet
a rust storm
blinking lights

Or none of the above. After all, it is
Totally Optional

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Request for Poems: Fireworks

OK, TOPers: let's see some brilliant links!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Fireworks!

Yes, there were plenty here last night! But for this week's
Totally Optional
prompt, I'd like you to explore some pyrotechnic language.

Go for some really over-the-top images. Pull words you don't normally use out of the dictionary. Or use perfectly ordinary words in combinations you wouldn't expect. Grasshopper soda? Deep travel?

Come back Wednesday evening and leave us a link!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Request for Poems: Weather

Good? Bad? Ugly? What sort of weather did we have, TOPers? Leave us a comment!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Weather

What's the weather like in your neck of the woods? Here in the Northeast of the U.S., we've been having rain almost every day and temps only in the 60s and 70s. (Of course, I missed a week of it because we were in Florida where it was unusually hot!)

What's the weather of your relationships? Hot and sultry? Cold and snowy? Sunny and temperate?

What's the weather of your soul?

No matter which way you use this prompt (or not!), come back on Wednesday evening at 7 pm EDT to leave a link to your poem.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Request for Poems: Horoscope

So, what did you come up with this week? Did you do the horoscope thing or something else entirely?

Whatever you wrote, we like to see it. Just leave the link to your poem in the comments. I posted the following process last week but will add it again this week for those who might not have seen it.

Some URLs don't come out as links so here's how to do it. (Don't feel bad; it took me months to figure this out! Finally, Gautami took pity on me and showed me how. Thanks, again, G!)
All you have to do is substitute <> for ( and ). You can copy your poem's URL by going to your archives and clicking on that particular post, then go up to the address line at the top of your screen, click on it to highlight it, then right click to copy it.

(a href="paste the URL to your poem here")Title of your poem(/a)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Horoscope

Check out your horoscope and write a poem in response to it.
You could read yours and your significant other's then begin your poem with one and end with the other one.
You could collaborate with a poet friend incorporating both your horoscopes into the poem.
You could do whatever you'd like because it is totally optional!

Come on back Wednesday evening to leave a link in the comments.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Request for Poems: Abecedarian

Hope everybody had fun trying to incorporate the ABCs into poems.

Just use the comments again for your links to your poems.

I'll be going on vacation for a week beginning tomorow and will not have my computer with me but have pre-posted a new prompt for Saturday night and the request for next Wednesday. Hope everything works fine! I'll catch up with everyone then.

Some URLs don't come out as links so here's how to do it. (Don't feel bad; it took me months to figure this out! Finally, Gautami took pity on me and showed me how. Thanks, again, G!)
All you have to do is substitute <> for ( and ). You can copy your poem's URL by going to your archives and clicking on that particular post, then go up to the address line at the top of your screen, click on it to highlight it, then right click to copy it.

(a href="paste the URL to your poem here")Title of your poem(/a)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Linky update

Well, it appears that free versions of Mr. Linky are "temporarily" disabled. You can read the details at Mr. Linky's blog.

I don't have any intention of shelling out $$, or asking anyone else to, at this point. So, unless and until they start supporting the freeware Linky again, TOP participants can leave their links in the comments.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Abecedarian

I love anything to do with the alphabet.

Last week I asked my poetry-writing students to write an abecedarian. They had fun and their poems were surprisingly good.

I looked online for examples but really couldn't find ones I liked. I'm not even sure where I first saw this form but I liked it at the time and always wanted to try one.

I'm not even sure I have this definition right but here's what I told my kids and it seemed to work well:

An abecedarian is a poem in which you concentrate on one letter of the alphabet at the beginning of your poem then let the words morph into the next letter and then the next. etc. You don't have to begin with A; you can start anywhere you want in the alphabet and go from there. You could even go backwards. Your words don't have to be at the beginning of lines and the letters don't have to begin the words, either. The words can just contain those letters.

Hopefully this makes sense and you have fun playing with the letters.

One more thing: the kids were kind of stumped for a way to begin because there wasn't a specific topic so I told them to write about the last strong emotion they had. And off they went.

So, off you go, too! Write an abecedarian about some strong emotion or anything else! It is totally optional, of course.

Wish I knew how to fix Mr. Linky. I'll write the link in but...who knows! Anyway, come on back starting Wednesday evening and leave your link in the comments if he isn't with us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Request for Poems: Yard Sale

What kind of poetic treasures did you find at yard sales this week?

I hope Mr. Linky is back but if he isn't, please leave your links in the comments. I do miss him, though! I noticed that he's working on other prompt sites but have no idea how to get him to work on this one. I'll type the link in and hope for the best, anyway.

P.S. Well, I just double-checked the link and I can't see that I typed it in wrong so, I guess, it still isn't working. Darn! Sorry!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Yard Sale

On my way down to camp yesterday I can't tell you how many "Yard Sale" signs I saw. It stuck in my head, for some reason. So, that's our prompt this week. Write about yard sales.

With any luck, we'll have Mr. Linky back on Wednesday but if not, just leave your links in the comments on Wednesday evening when we request poems.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Request for Poems: Uninvited Guests

So, what do you do with them?

Leave a link in the Mr. Linky (if he's joining us this week!) or in the comments to let us know how you deal with uninvited guests.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Unexpected visitors

They arrive at your house, in the middle of the night, on a fin afternoon, in the morning drizzle. You're happy to see them, love them but find the time inconvenient, they're the last people in the world you want to deal with right now. But you invite them in regardless.

Tell us what happens next, for this week's
Totally Optional
prompt! Linda will be here Wednesday evening with the request for poems. We don't know yet whether Mr. Linky will be with us or not.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Request for Poems: Song Lyrics

TOPers, did we have songs in our hearts this week?

If you don't see Mr. Linky, leave your link in the comments. He was working there for a while, but he seems to be down again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Song Lyrics

Some people don't consider song lyrics to be poetry. Others refuse to recognize the distinction.

Song lyrics usually fit a melody, which means they are usually metered. However, the meter is often looser than in, say a sonnet: as Tom Lehrer once wrote and sang, "it don't matter ifyoufitacoupleextrasyllables into a line." Song lyrics usually rhyme, although again the rhyme is often loose or slant. A songwriter can depend on the power of the melody to carry the listener past minor breaks in the sound pattern. And of course there are exceptions to all of the above.

For this week's

Totally Optional

prompt, write a poem you think would make a good song lyric. Come back Wednesday evening. I don't know if Mr. Linky will be with us or not, but if not, you can always leave your link in the comments.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Request for Poems: Opposites

Did opposites attract or repel this week, TOPers? Mr. Linky wants to know.

Update: Mr. Linky seems to be defunct for now. My guess is, the caching feature they recently implemented isn't playing well with Blogger. Feel free to leave a link in the comments instead :(

Update update: Republishing seems to have fixed it. *grumble, grumble*

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Opposites

What happens when opposites combine? Do you get something intermediate, like hot water and cold water blending to make lukewarm? Or do you get something completely different, like fire and water combining to make steam?

Watch for Mr. Linky Wednesday evening!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Request for Poems: Tardiness

Here's Mr. Linky, on time for once! to receive your tales of tardiness and woe, or whatever you chose to write about this week.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Tardiness

Late again! This week's
Totally Optional
prompt is: Tardiness.

Mr. Linky will be here Wednesday evening.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Request for Poems: Going home again for the first time

Well, TOP enthusiasts, did we get a fresh look at the old place? Or were we inspired by something else entirely this week?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Going home again for the first time

For this week's

Totally Optional

prompt, write about your hometown, the place you live, or some other place that's very familiar to you. But write about it as if you were seeing it for the first time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Request for Poems: Exercise

Jumping jacks
none of the above

Tell us all about your exercising. Just leave a link in Mr. Linky to anything you'd like to share.

Tiel will be back Saturday night with a new prompt.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Exercise

Two prompts this week as we head into the last few days of NaPoWriMo:

  1. We need help! Please consider contributing a line to the collaborative sestina on Poem: a Virtual Poetry Group. We're about half way through and need some fresh ideas! Thanks. (Each new stanza repeats the last words from the previous stanza in the following pattern: 6 1 5 2 4 3)

  2. Let's write about exercise this week. Love it? Hate it? Avoid it? Do it grudgingly? And there's exercises in school and it can also be used as a verb like to exercise caution, etc.

So, get your muscles moving those pens around or punching those computer keys and exercise your brains!

Mr. Linky will be up at 7 pm EDT on Wednesday evening. Please come back and share anything you'd like.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Request for Poems: Quotations

Did you find a way to incorporate a quote into your writing this week?

Mr. Linky is just sitting there waiting for your link to any poem you'd like to share.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Quote

This week write a poem that is inspired by a quotation. The quote could be from a newpaper or magazine article or it could just be a quote that you like about life or anything.

Come back on Wednesday evening around 7 pm EDT to leave a link in the Mr. Linky thingie to any poem you'd like to share.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Request for Poems: Photo Poems

I know one thing: I have too many pictures! This was harder than I thought it would be.

How did you do?

We'd love to see what you wrote this week so just leave a link in the Mr. Linky.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Prompt: Photo Poem

This week, find an interesting photograph that has meaning for you and write a poem inspired by it.

That's it!

Short and sweet!

Please come back on Wednesday evening to post a link to your photo and poem. Any poem is welcomed!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Request for Poems: A Letter

Did you adopt a letter this week? I tried several: F, J, and V and I think I like the V one best.

Please leave a link to your letter poem or any other poem you'd like to share.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Meditation on a Letter

I love letters.

They turn into words.

And words string together into poems.

Choose one letter this week and examine it, smell it, listen to it, hold it in the palm of your brain and feel it. Then write a poem about it.

There is a prose poem called "Meditation on the Letter L" that I share with my students. I can't, for the life of me, remember the author nor can I find it on the internet. I'll check it out when I go to school on Monday and, hopefully, add a link then.

In the mean time, what letter grabs your fancy?

Mr. Linky will be back on Wednesday evening around 7 pm EDT for you to leave your links to poems about a letter or anything else.

P.S. That poem is called "Meditation in L" and is by Diane Comer. I still can't find a copy of it but here are a few lines:

"L is for letter. Not the first nor the last letter, but first to come to mind, first at hand, and when signed to the deaf it is itself, L, elle, she."

"The L can be lightweight and fickle, mere filigree, and yet many large and impossible words begin with L--life, love, law, liberty, loyalty, loneliness, longing."

"...of course, L is feminine, for all the masculine appearance of the capital L, all erection and purpose, the cursive L tells the truth. Listen, the loops and flourish seem to say, listen, lean a little closer. The words begin to lick the lobes of our ear, and language, the great seducer, begins to lull us."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Request for Poems: Solitaire

Happy (Inter)National Poetry Month everyone! I hate the idea that it's just for Americans. The blogging world has united poets from all corners of the world and this month should celebrate all of us!

This was an appropriate prompt to usher in this special month because writing poetry is usually such a solitary activity. There are some exceptions; collaborative poetry is one of the goals of Read Write Poem. And if anyone is interested in joining in on writing a sestina, check out the one that is being done at Poem: A Virtual Poetry Group. But, mostly, we write in solitude.

So, what did you have to say about solitaire or anything else, for that matter, this week? Please leave a link in Mr. Linky.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Solitaire

For this week's
Totally Optional
poetry prompt, let's have fun with the word "solitaire". Also solitary, solitude, sole. Card games? Lone walks on the beach? What does it make you think of? Come back Wednesday evening and let us know... as Linda takes over for the month of April!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Request for Poems: Season Change

What sort of season-changes inspired us this week, TOPers?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Season Change

The Spring equinox (N. Hemisphere) has just passed, so it's now officially spring in the US. I declared spring a number of weeks ago, though, when we had our first balmy day. How do you mark the change into spring, or into any other season? Do the equinoxes and solstices anchor your calendar, or do you go by the weather?

For this week's
Totally Optional
prompt, let's feel a season change.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Requests for Poems: Adjectives

How'd we do this week, TOPers? Did we get to deploy some effective adjectives?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Adjectives

Late again! Sorry, TOPers. Weekends at my house have been kind of frantic.

For this week's
Totally Optional
prompt, let's consider adjectives. Many people will tell you that adjectives are bad for poetry, and that you should keep them to a minimum or avoid them altogether. Some say that "concrete" adjectives (eg. green, cold, fast) are OK, but not "abstract" adjectives (majestic, sinister, superb).

I think of adjectives as being like spices. With none whatsoever, the product is bound to seem a little flat. But you choose them with care, such that the flavors enhance one another instead of clashing, or drowning each other out.

Consider Shelley's Ozymandias. What adjectives does he use? Does he use them effectively? Are there any you would take out, or change (bearing in mind that this is a piece of metered poetry)? Then scan down the page to Horace Smith's poem on the same subject, and think it through the same way.

Now... write a poem of your own. Or rewrite one of your own poems. Give careful thought to your use of adjectives. Is each one necessary? Are there alternatives that mean more or less the same thing, but give a different flavor (compare Shelley's "vast" to Smith's "gigantic")?

Come back Wednesday evening and leave us a link!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Requests for Poems: Rewrites

TOPers, let's see some rewrites! Any improvement?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Rewrite

TOPers: this week's prompt is about poems we've rewritten. Maybe it was a matter of changing a word or two, tweaking a line to make it flow smoother. Maybe it was a completely different approach to the original idea. Whichever it was, we'd like to see how it went, especially if you feel it was an improvement.

Post both versions of the poem. Heck, post several versions. We'd be interested in hearing any thought processes that might have been associated with the revision as well.

Come back Wednesday evening or Thursday morning and leave a link to your rewrite post. Or leave a link to some other poetry entirely. Remember it is
Totally Optional

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Request for Poems: Chores

Sorry I'm late, TOPers. Got distracted by all those chores!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Chores

As I was cleaning the bathroom this morning, I was thinking about a prompt for this week. Several promising ideas popped into my head but I kept coming back to the fact that I hate housework and I'd much rather have been writing a poem right then instead of scrubbing the tub.

A couple years ago I bought a book of poems called Sweeping Beauty compiled by Pamela Gemin. You can read several of them here. I found out that I enjoy reading about chores a lot more than actually doing them!

So, this week let's write about some aspect of chores. Do you hate them like me or do you get a sense of satisfaction when they are completed? Don't forget about the outside chores, too, like mowing the grass and washing the car and shoveling snow if you live in an area where that is a necessity.

Come back Wednesday evening when Tiel will put the Mr. Linky up to leave a link to whatever you'd like to share this week.

And, now, I see my vacuum cleaner staring at me, so, it's back to work!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Request for Poems: Anaphora

My school's Winter Vacation is this week and my granddaughter has come for a visit so not much poetry is being written. She's still sleeping this morning so I thought I'd take these few quiet moments to type this up ahead of time. I'll be taking her back later this afternoon so, hopefully, I'll have a chance to write something after I recuperate. She's three. 'Nough said!

How did you do this week? Please leave a link to anything you'd like to share.

I'll be putting up the prompt on Saturday night and then Tiel will take over for March

And, now, I hear the pitter patter of little feet. Time to play!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Anaphora

Well, here it is another Saturday and it's time for a new prompt.

Anaphora is a repetition device where the same expression (word or words) is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines, clauses, or sentences. You can read an example written by David Lerner here and a couple more here, one by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and another by Pablo Neruda.

Hope everyone has a productive writing week.
Hope everyone comes back on Wednesday evening to leave a link to whatever you'd like.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Request for Poems: Coin a New Word

Well, I lucked out with this one and got a really cool "word." Of course, I haven't written the poem, yet, but my head is popping with ideas.

So, how did you do? Did any of those letter combinations spark a poem? At the very least, did you not mind those annoying word verifications for a little while?

Please leave a link to anything you'd like to share.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Coin a New Word

You know those pesky word verifications? Well, I've noticed that recently they've changed. They used to be really awkward letter combinations like "xyffzyt" or something like that but lately they've been more like real words only not quite. A couple weeks ago I had "fooked" and that tickled my brain.

For your prompt this week, pay attention to those word verifications and choose one to use in a poem. Let the poem spin around it so that it seems like a normal word.

They say Shakespeare coined lots of new words; maybe you can, too!

Come back on Thursday to share your poem, and, if this doesn't inspire you, come back on Thursday, anyway, to share whatever you've written.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Request for Poems: Aubade

Hope everyone had a good week writing poetry.

I know that I'm "love"d out. This is the only week in the school semester when I allow my poetry-writing students to write love poetry and I've just about had it. One more day! I have some really talented kids but when it comes to love, they turn into mush writers. It's been a challenge getting them to show the love instead of just telling. "Love you, love you for eternity, I want to spend the rest of my life with you," Bleck!

So, I can't wait to read what you guys have written! I know I'm going to enjoy them!

Please leave a link in Mr. linky to anything you'd like to share whether it be an aubade or not.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Aubade

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought an aubade would be a fun poem to write this week.

Aubades are poems begging and tempting and pleading with a lover not to leave. You can read some examples here and a song by Jewel here.

Please come back on Wednesday evening to leave a link to your aubade or anything else you've written that you'd like us to read.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Request for Poems: Repetition

I love repetition. The last two lines of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" always pop into my head, "And miles to go before I sleep / And miles to go before I sleep."

So, how did you do? Did you try one of the forms or just go for it and repeat at will? Or did you not even bother repeating anything? Hopefully, you had time to write, at least!

Please leave a link to anything you'd like to share in Mr. Linky.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Repetition

TOPers: this week, let's explore the power of repetition.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true."

--Lewis Caroll, The Hunting of the Snark

Well, that might or might not be the case! But usually when we repeat something it's because we think it's important and we want our audience to pay attention. This is true in poetry as well as in ordinary conversation.

Look at the number of traditional forms that incorporate repetition: the sestina family, the villanelle and terzanelle, the triolet, the kyrielle, the rondeau and related forms. The list goes on and on.

Free verse also makes use of repetition: look at the phrases "Not to be spattered by his blood" and "this, while I kill him" in Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Not to Be Spattered by His Blood" or the use of "close" (enclose, unclose), "open", "rose", in e. e. cummings' "somewhere I have never travelled,gladly beyond".

What sort of effects can we get with repetition? You may want to explore this through one of the forms listed above. Or in free verse. Or in any kind of poetry at all. Or do something else entirely: remember, it's
Totally Optional

Remember to leave your permalink on the Wednesday evening post, which your February host Linda will put up!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Request for Poems: Intersections

What worlds did we get to touch each other, TOPers?

I'll post the last prompt for January this weekend: Linda will take over for February.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Intersections

Late again, sorry! It was a distracting weekend at my house :(

This week, I'd like us to think about the contact points between things you wouldn't normally think had a whole lot to do with each other. For example, what do a car mechanic and a ballet dancer have in common? How might a sand dollar and a bluebird interact? Where would you find stone and fine silk together?

Reminder: Leave your permalinks on the Wednesday night post. If you leave them here, people may not see them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Request for Poems: Ceremonies

TOPers, what are our thoughts on ceremonies?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Ceremonies

TOPers, here in the US we're about to inaugurate a new presidential administration. Some of us (myself, for instance) are planning to watch the ceremony. It'll actually be the first one I've ever watched.

How important are public ceremonies? Do President-elect Obama's choices for his inauguration really imply anything significant about the kind of President he'll be? Is it all just empty spectacle, circuses without the bread? Is Elizabeth Alexander the kind of poet who will flourish under the new administration, or just a poet he happens to like?

Write about public ceremonies: I don't mean the kind of private rituals we all have. Write about one you've been to, one you'd like to go to, or write about what public ceremonies mean to you. Or write about anything at all. After all, it's
Totally Optional

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Request for Poems: The Other Side

First I apologize: there are some publishing issues going on and I'm not sure if the problem's with Blogger or with my browser. I'm going to republish this tomorrow from a different machine and see if it works any better.

I had to change the template, because the old one was printing the nice brown brown border pattern all the way across the page, which made the text unreadable. In changing to this template, which had colors that kind of matched the TOP logo, I found that all the sidebar stuff disappeared (although it looks like it's still there when I view the Layout tab). I also can't seem to get Mr. Linky to show up (he may pop up later; sometimes it takes a while).

I may have to reload the template from an old version I have saved. In the meanwhile, bear with me...

What did we learn in exploring villainy this week? Or did we go in some other direction altogether?

Update: I fixed the Linky problem, but I can't get the border to go back to how it was, so I've changed the text and link colors so they'll show up. I can't get the sidebar stuff to show up with any other template, so this is how it's going to look for now. I'll keep working on it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: The Other Side

TOPers, this week I'd like you to write a poem from the point of view of a bad person. It could be someone from history, legend, or fiction; it could be someone who's alive and making headlines. Regardless, someone whose acts you consider criminal or reprehensible.

Really try to get inside this person's head. Do you relish the suffering you cause? Do you feel it's justified by some greater goal? Or are you completely indifferent to it? Did you start off with good intentions which went astray through a series of apparently reasonable decisions? Were you misled by your companions? Or is everything we think we know about you a lie promulgated by your enemies? Are you simply misunderstood? Convince us! This is your chance to present your side of the story.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Request for Poems: Sestina/Quartina/Tritina

TOPers, did you dance with end words this week? Or did something else tickle your poetic fancy? Leave the good word with Mr. Linky (and/or in the comments).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Totally Optional Prompt: Sestina, Quartina, Tritina

TOPers: sorry for the late prompt. I didn't have Internet connectivity at home yesterday.

For this week's
Totally Optional
prompt, we're exploring forms in which words are repeated at the ends of lines. Probably the best-known form of this kind is the sestina. Sestinas are a lot of work, though, so feel free to explore shorter options such as the quartina and tritina.

The trick to all of these forms-- as with all forms that involve repetition-- is to not just repeat the words, but to use them in a different way. If one of your words is a verb, you can use it in different tenses. Even better, many words can be used as nouns and as verbs, as verbs and as adverbs, and so forth. The more variety you can introduce in your use of words, the less repetitious the poem will seem.

For example, look at the different uses of rose/rise in the following quartina: Leaves of Glass. Check out the varying appearances of "may be", "spectacular" and "performed" in Ticker.

Come back Wednesday evening or Thursday morning and leave us a link!