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Poetry Fishbowl Open! - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank your for your time and assistance.  I'm still writing, so keep an eye on this page.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "All the news is dark, so light a candle."  I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.

Click to read the linkback poem "The Golden Peaches of Peace" (18 verses, Path of the Paladins).


What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "All the news is dark, so light a candle." I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.


Cyberfunded Creativity

I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:

1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.






2) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.



3) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).

0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.

4) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  Comment with a link to where you posted.  "The Golden Peaches of Peace" has 18 verses available and belongs to Path of the Paladins.


Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function.  (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.)  These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.

3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.

5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, there will be a bonus piece in one series.


Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "All the news is dark, so light a candle." I'll be soliciting ideas for journalists, reporters, radio hams, creatures of the night, demons, villains, heroes, angels, lovable monsters, the misunderstood, outcasts, nemeses, oppressors, troubled relationships, monster hunters, activists, torchbearers, leaders, explorers, lighting a candle, burning the candle at both ends, candlemaking, fleeing in terror, resisting oppression, facing your demons, passing the torch, instilling hope, tikkun olam, the dark, the chandlery, the Valley of the Shadow, newsrooms, garrets, liminal zones, mad science labs, The Tower, deep forests, other places of light and shadow, torches, candles, bioluminescence, glowing weapons, a ray of hope, the darkest hour is just before dawn, radical transformation, beeswax, Chanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, the moon, cthonic symbolism, good, evil, radio, newspapers, magazines, and poetic forms in particular. But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have The New Book of Forms by Lewis Turco which covers most common and many obscure forms.

I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "The Golden Peaches of Peace."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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26 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 6th, 2016 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Neither Are You Free." Dale feels frustrated by a neighborhood robbery; Rivka gives her a new perspective.

34 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 6th, 2016 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A backchannel prompt from Anthony Barrette inspired the poem "A Brief History of Heat," written in unrhymed couplets. It looks at the technology of staying warm.

Hold for original prompter.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: December 6th, 2016 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Prompts

All the news is very dark right now in A Conflagration of Dragons. Is anyone lighting a candle there?

The current trend toward nationalism and authoritarinism has caused many people I know to seriously consider whether to cut and run, or stand and endure. Yet history shows, relatively clearly, that, absent determined and principled opposition, nations will go further into the dark areas of those ideas. And cutting and running doesn't work when there's no place left to run to. Organizations can only do so much, so a lot of individual action will be required.

Speaking of which: leaderless movements.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 7th, 2016 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Prompts

Your dragon prompt inspired the free-verse poem "The Gathering in the Grassland." It has an up-and-down arc as the refugees try to rebuild some semblance of civilization, only to attract yet more dragons.

113 lines, Buy It Now = $57
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: December 6th, 2016 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
The one small unexpected kindness that changed everything.

Handing out candles.

Being able to see the light.

People look different in the dark and the light.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 6th, 2016 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

"Keep the Homefires Burning" is today's freebie.
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: December 6th, 2016 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Boosted the signal to LJ and DW, as usual.

Shiv wants to show off his new-learnt skill on the saxophone, and being the poster-boy for Emotionally Complex Reaction, chooses to learn Mack the Knife to put on a performance, facing down a couple of his demons in the spotlight.

*points to icon* That!

Aqualina and the whales meet a bioluminescent sentient explorer from the abyssal deeps, investigating the strange world of light.

Lighting a spiritual candle.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2016 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

Your music prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Become Music Again." After Shiv gets out of prison, Boss White gives him a saxophone, and plays "Mack the Knife" as an example of what Shiv can learn to do.

280 lines, Buy It Now = $140
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: December 8th, 2016 11:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

Ok, I like this idea better than the one I had. After all, it explains how Shiv got into it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2016 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

Oh, good. I was hoping you wouldn't mind. There was no way to cram it all into one poem. Shiv came into this with no musical experience beyond listening to jazz and blues in the club, and maybe a workshop or two. He never had the patience to sit still for lessons, and nobody cared enough to try anyhow. So it's going to take a while for him to get any good at this.

He likes it enough to put the effort in, though. By the time Shiv reaches that six-month anniversary, he'll probably know one or two songs well enough to play decently if Boss White pushes him onto the stage to celebrate -- and it won't take him that long to learn how to hold a drone note so he can join the jam sessions. They can always use another backup instrument, it adds depth.
siliconshaman From: siliconshaman Date: December 8th, 2016 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

I can see that. And if anything was going to hook his interest at first, it would be that tune. I'm sure once he starts exploring he'll find out that the criminal underworld and Jazz have had a long and complex history together. Right from the earliest days, with coded messages hidden in the songs, through Prohibition and the bootleggers and Sinatra with his mob connections, and so on and so forth. Some truly great music came about because of that.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2016 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

>> I can see that. And if anything was going to hook his interest at first, it would be that tune. <<

Agreed. Thanks for suggesting it!

>> I'm sure once he starts exploring he'll find out that the criminal underworld and Jazz have had a long and complex history together. <<

Likely so, which could be worth exploring. I'm sure that plays into why Boss White has a jazz joint for a lair.

>> Right from the earliest days, with coded messages hidden in the songs, <<

Which goes back to: "When that chariot comes, who's comin' with me?"

>> through Prohibition and the bootleggers and Sinatra with his mob connections, and so on and so forth. <<

I've mentioned before that Shiv used to be a lookout.

>> Some truly great music came about because of that. <<

Sooth. Generally speaking, jazz and blues come out of a deep ache in the soul. It's pain, turned into melody. There are a few good musicians in this field who don't have a rough past, but not many. So in this case, Shiv's shitty background is an asset; it's fuel. Once he learns how to blow that out the end of his horn, he'll really be something.

And still a supervillain. ;)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 7th, 2016 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "A Letter to King Moonracer." It's possible to have a merry autistic Christmas, but sometimes it takes help from an unusual source.

72 lines, Buy It Now = $36
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: December 7th, 2016 01:23 am (UTC) (Link)
*skids in late*

Days right now are very brief, and nights are sooooo long and soooooo dark. Something about seasonal darkness?

A candle in time crystals that can last... if not forever, a very long time.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 7th, 2016 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

These combined to make "This Infinite Light." Written in unrhymed couplets, it speaks of a candle in a time crystal through the year.

8 lines, Buy It Now = $5
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: December 7th, 2016 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm thinking something like a villanelle.

The forgiveness ceremony at Standing Rock.

This dude, in Texas.

Ikea is offering expanded parental leave benefits.

Of course, if you have the chandlery, I'm going to think of The Chandler's Wife.

And the candle burning at both ends.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2016 04:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

Your Texas prompt inspired the free-verse poem "One Nation, Indivisible." It's a look at what citizens can do in times of unrest.

34 lines, Buy It Now = $15
book_worm5 From: book_worm5 Date: December 7th, 2016 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
A good-news story on an actual newscast.

The smallest light still chases back the dark.

Impromptu lighting (or possibly, If you can't find a candle, make your own)

Who needs candles when you have SCIENCE!?

Stage lights

Torches in the dungeons

Even the light-averse can act for warmth and goodness (monster under the bed, vampires, others?)

When you need a light, it's good to be friends with a dragon.

That's probably enough to be going on with. Use as you see fit. :-)

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 7th, 2016 11:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

Your prompt about the smallest light inspired the free-verse poem "If I Can Accept Others." Shaeth and Trobby talk about acceptance.

59 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 7th, 2016 10:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "The Sharpest Dose of Reality." Shiv meets Pain's Gray, and they get in over their heads during a sparring match. Fortunately Pain's Gray knows how to get out of it. The result is mindblowing.

732 lines, Buy It Now = $366
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 7th, 2016 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

Still have prompts left, but I need sleep now. More writing tomorrow.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2016 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

Various prompts combined in the free-verse poem "Dreams of New Zealand." Carla thinks about her stars and imagines seeing the Southern Cross.

46 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2016 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "A Slow Ripening Fruit." Dr. Bloch asks Shiv to help him convince other inmates that jicama is worth eating. Shiv realizes that spending time around other people doesn't always suck.

444 lines, Buy It Now = $222
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 9th, 2016 09:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Changing the Conversation." A super-gizmo gone wild, a bad trip to a scary dimension, and Hyperspaceman turns to Calliope for comfort.

177 lines, Buy It Now = $89
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 12th, 2016 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A Dreamwidth prompt inspired two poems.

"Black Mollies" is a free-verse poem in which Buttons dumps her son Jaxon on Shiv for babysitting. Shiv panics, and calls Dr. G, which is a good thing. Fluff and angst ensues.
946 lines, Buy It Now = $473

"Whatever Falls on Them" is a free-verse poem about the emotional fallout from Shiv's attempt at babysitting. Poor guy, he's still freaked out even after Jaxon leaves. Fortunately Dr. G knows how to handle this too.
336 lines, Buy It Now = $168
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 14th, 2016 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

A DW prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Always Repay the Cost." When Fiddlesticks is mortally injured, Stan and Lawrence go to visit him in the hospital. Lawrence reminds Hefty of the IOU from Dr. Infanta, who comes to put Fiddlesticks back together. Because Stan is trying to distract himself from a miserable situation that he can't do much to fix, this poem also includes a pretty good look at the soothing structure of T-American hospitals.

650 lines, Buy It Now = $325
26 comments or Leave a comment