Thursday, May 30, 2013

Otis Redding

For me, nothing evokes memories like music. When Robert Lee Brewer gave the prompt "knock on wood" on his Poetic Asides blog in March, it was natural for me to think of the song by that name. I knew it from one of my Otis Redding albums. Voila! I had the makings of a poem.


Knock on wood*
Maybe the dock
of the bay#
You had no
time to waste.
The crash
took it away.
Still, the music lasts,
from vinyl
to CD
to downloads.
Well past the time
you had to knock,
knock on wood.

*Knock on Wood by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper
#Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper

What is your favorite kind of music? Do you ever write about it?
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Photo-The Moon


This week's Wordsmith Studio Photo Prompt is The Moon. This is a picture of the full moon a couple of nights ago.

Since I have become tuned into the moon for the purposes of poetry and photography, I have been surprised at how often it is visible. I see it on early morning walks, and I remember seeing it at noon once.

When I see it in the morning, I like to play a little and position it atop houses, trees or power lines.

Of course, I also have my classic horror movie opening shot.
Are you inspired by the moon? Thanks to Rebecca Barray for this prompt. Take your own picture of the moon and put a link to it at Wordsmith Studio.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Where Do You Like To Write?

My favorite place to write is the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. There are several reasons I enjoy  writing here.
1. I like to write in the presence of other art. That is an energy-infusing environment for me. I may write about a piece of art I see or I may write about something else. Either way, being in the presence of art facilitates my writing process.
2. I like to go for walks outside. There are many options here. You may walk right up to various sculptures or simply pass by. You may stay at ground level or climb up a little bit. I like to bring my camera and take some photographs in addition to writing. 
3. There are plenty of places to sit. Benches may be found throughout the park. You may bring a blanket, your own chair or simply sit on the ground.
4. Going to the park makes me feel like I've taken a little getaway, whether I spend an hour or an entire afternoon.
Where is your favorite place to write? What qualities draw you to this place?
Related Post-The Lost Wax Process
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Photo-Drink Up!

Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee? I'm happy to sit and talk over this kind of brew.
As a matter of fact, I'm surprised I don't have coffee elbow. Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe I do!
What's your favorite drink? Take a picture of it and post a link on the Wordsmith Studio's Weekly Photo Prompt. Thanks to Rebecca Barray for this prompt.
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Poetry Submissions-Take the Next Shot


Khara House is encouraging people to engage in the submission process via the May Submit-O-Rama Challenge on her blog, Our Lost Jungle. The challenge is designed to give writers/visual artists support during the process, through the information provided on the blog and the fact that others  are taking the challenge. Whether you are a rookie, a novice or a veteran of the submission process, I recommend that you take a look at the posts. In addition to providing great information, they are very entertaining.
I am a willing participant in this challenge and that is an important step for me. By my own standards, I really haven't made a lot of submissions.
I have done a lot more open mics than I have submissions. Many people probably think that reading  work aloud is more terrifying than sending it in to an editor. I felt it was a better opportunity because I could at least get to the table. I know my voice gave away how nervous I was, but the important thing to me was that I had the chance to read.
I have had a harder time sending out a submission knowing that the likelihood of rejection far outnumbers the likelihood of acceptance and that that is the norm. I have heard the stories of others who have sent multiple submissions to a publication or sent the same work to multiple publications  before receiving an acceptance. Intellectually, I understood that's what I should be doing; but I couldn't get comfortable with it. That is, until recently.
What turned things around? A post-game interview I heard during this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. One of the best shooters on a team was having an off night, but made a key shot down the stretch. In the interview, the player was asked how he felt about taking that shot when he wasn't shooting well. He said you don't doubt yourself. You take the next shot, and you always think its going to go in.
When I heard that, I immediately thought of the submission process. I have always loved sports and was fortunate to have a career working in sports. I needed that sports analogy in order to really come to terms with the process.
S-o-o-o, Pond has the curser in perfect position. She hits the send button and.... 
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Photo-Books

When I saw that this week's Wordsmith Studio Photo Prompt was Books, I knew exactly which book I would photograph.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of  my oldest and most read books. You can see the wear along the edges of the binding and evidence that the book has been opened and closed many times. There is even a bit of unraveling going on. Only one small panel of the dust jacket remains and it is missing a corner. I have turned it into a bookmark.
To read more about my adventures with Sherlock, see a previous post-Elementary, My Dear Poet.
Thanks to Rebecca Barray for this week's photo prompt. Take a picture of one or some of your books and post a link to the photo in the comments on the prompt post.
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jazz Improvisation and Form Poetry

Recently, I saw this video of Charlie Rose and Billy Taylor discussing improvisation, which had been posted on Facebook by the American Jazz Museum. Taylor's comments made me think of poetry forms and how they may be used to enhance creativity.
Taylor states that preparation is necessary in order to improvise.  The preparation he talks about is  knowledge of the craft of creating music.
First, the musician must have an understanding of the song as it was written. How did the composer put it together?
Additionally, the musician must have a knowledge of the three elements, rhythm, harmony and melody, that may be improvised. How does changing the rhythm change the mood created by the music? What goes into creating a new melody?
Poetry forms teach poets knowledge of the craft. They deal with elements such as overall length, line length, rhythm and repetition. For example, if you try a few forms that have a small line count; how do you distill your idea to stay within the limit? Doesn't this exercise help you learn to tighten up your writing when you go back to free verse?
Forms show me what comes easily to me and what is hard for me.  They give me a way to develop an element if I think it adds to my writing.
For both the jazz musician and the poet, it's all about conveying a feeling. Working with forms helps poets develop more ways to do this.
Do you think working with poetry forms enhances your skills?  Do you write in forms on a regular basis?
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Photo-Forgotten

This week's Wordsmith Studio Photo Prompt is Forgotten. Thanks to Rebecca Barray for another great prompt.
I decided to take a walk and see what kinds of things might have been forgotten at the edge of the sidewalks or the side of the road. I saw bottles, cans, cigarette packs and straws.
When I saw an apple core sitting on the sidewalk, I decided I had my subject.  Of all the items I had seen, I was most interested in the story behind this one.
How did this apple core with some edible fruit still on it end up on the sidewalk?  Did a child start to eat, decide he or she had had enough and toss it aside?  Did it slip out of a little hand accidentally and did tears appear as it hit the ground? Was it dropped or knocked out of the hand during the course of play?
What forgotten items are sitting around your house or neighborhood? Take a picture, post it and post the link in the comments on the prompt post.
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Thursday, May 2, 2013



Spring teases the
Midwest this year.
It just doesn’t
want to stay here.
Temperatures rise
then take a dive.
Plants come alive
then fight to survive.
The calves are unsettled.
The humans are nettled.
Surely things will calm down
when summer comes round.
I had to save these from a previous cold snap.
Has spring arrived where you live or does winter keep making a comeback?
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