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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "high fantasy."  (Any version of HF is eligible, including "set in another world" or "epic and heroic.") 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.

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 "high fantasy." 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) 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.

3) 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. Details are here.  New photos of sample scrapbooked poems are here.

4) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  The Twitter hashtag is #poetryfishbowl.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl. If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

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.

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.

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 "high fantasy."  I'll be soliciting ideas for heroes, heras, heroines, heronets,* villains dire, comic relief sidekicks, phantasmagoric creatures, magical artifacts, fantasy weapons or tools, whole new ways to destroy the world, diabolical plots, endangered monarchies, epic plot twists, world themes, enchanted locations, and poetic forms in particular. (Hero = male lead, Hera = female lead, Heroine = female love-interest, Heronet = male love-interest.  Queerly sexed or gendered leads and interests are also cool.) 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 first edition of Lewis Turco's The Book of Forms 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.) The rest will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

36 comments or Leave a comment
siege From: siege Date: April 6th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
A Deific lover. A land of houses but not castles. A golden temple high on a mountain, legendary the world over. Dancing in a meadow filled with festival booths -- what are they celebrating? A hot, juicy berry pie at just the right moment to... ruin one's festival clothes? Washing in the local stream, and finding someone else there too -- who are they, and where are their clothes? A weapon repurposed and likes it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 6th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)


From your last line, I got a hauntingly beautiful poem about an unusual veteran who has a different take on saving the world. "The Plowshare Sword" is a double-ballad.

32 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 6th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)


I got a note from zianuray posing several fascinating questions. So I put them all together ... asked by baby mages. "Someday Saviors" is written in unrhymed quatrains.

20 lines, Buy It Now = $10
zianuray From: zianuray Date: April 6th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

I saw the part about "Elements and Elementals" and made that comment, then I realized the overall theme seemed to be HF relationships and took it back -- so I'm delighted it worked for you!
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: April 6th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Villain: S/he doesn't want to be a villain, but everyone in his/her family, for as far back as they have records (presumably in the family Bible?) has been one, and s/he doesn't want to disappoint his/her parents.

Setting plus hero plus sidekick: Don Quixote stumbles into a fairy ring, meets the King of the Elves, and mistakes him for Sancho Panza.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 6th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)


I combined the villain with siege's temple. The result is "The Reluctant Villain," a free-verse poem about Zenobia Ravenne and her complete inability to carry out an Evil Plan. But there's another wicked family, the Thornsteles, and that's where things get really interesting...

134 lines, Buy It Now = $67
From: minor_architect Date: April 6th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay, I'm not sure what your Muse can do with this, but for some reason my brain has been trying to put fantasy and history together. Like a fae poet, musician, or artist in the court of Louis XIV. Or Custer receiving a magical warning against fighting the Battle of Little Bighorn - which he ignores, of course. Or dark servants in Hitler's army.

Something like that?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 6th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)


>> Like a fae poet, musician, or artist in the court of Louis XIV. <<

This got me thinking of how fairies are rumored to steal children, and what might happen if they decided not to. So Louis got a glimpse of fairyland and all that glitters ... and one of the faeries later became his secret wife. "King of the Sun, Daughter of the Wood" is a free-verse poem.

62 lines, Buy It Now = $31

marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: April 6th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
A magical competition / duel / rivalry / competitive quest between or friend, the origami mage from last month and a kirigami mage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirigami
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 6th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)


Per request, the hera of "folded wings" returns in "cutting and folding," which is also written in haiku verses. I looked up some traditional kirigami and origami patterns and Japanese symbolism for this duel, which is all about envy and serenity.

30 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: April 6th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm fond of literal meanings, so I'd like to see a play on the 'high' in fantasy. (Either altered state, or elevation)

I also love underdog heroes - Robin Hood and warrior moms. :)
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: April 6th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Better yet, a universe where 'warrior mom' is not the underdog, but the ruling class, and all those unmarried/adolescent adventurers are the ones who aren't trusted with the work. -_-
miintikwa From: miintikwa Date: April 6th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorcerer siblings who battle evil together.

Misunderstood dragons.

Elves who kill nature
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 6th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)


From your last prompt, I got "The Treeslayers," a double-ballad. Since the elves were wickedly killing nature, I decided to make trolls the good guys, humans and dwarves the moronic bystanders.

84 lines, Buy It Now = $42
valdary From: valdary Date: April 6th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Based on how I feel right now, how about a dragon with a sore throat, and a hero with linctus?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)


*chuckle* I'm working with a cold, myself, so this idea definitely grabbed me. Meet Tregarth the Herbalist, not your ordinary hero. "Horehound and Honey" is a free-verse poem about Tregarth's service to dragonkind and humankind alike.

37 lines, Buy It Now = $15
glynisj From: glynisj Date: April 6th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Spread the word

I'd like to help promote this journal. Is it alright if I use your user pic on my blog?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 6th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spread the word

Promotion is welcome! You can use the "poetry fishbowl today" userpic on days when there is a fishbowl running, like today. You're also welcome to leave me a prompt.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: April 6th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm late today!
I'm seeing that high elven royal court and thinking about just how alien of thought process they might be.
High elves and "low" elves...
What happens when you are a hera and hero and you have small children, a la my family. Is there a world where this happens and how and why?
Or how about another take on sentient trees...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)


"What happens when you are a hera and hero and you have small children, a la my family. Is there a world where this happens and how and why?"

There are many ways of casting magic, and one of them employs connections. The result is "Family Circles," which I'm posting as today's second freebie poem.
allykat From: allykat Date: April 6th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am just dry as a bone for prompts today... I put a donation in the pot. Please apply it to whatever you ike!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I've logged this for the general fund, so there will be a poll later.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

Thank you all for coming.
jolantru From: jolantru Date: April 7th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Swords. Something about swords.
36 comments or Leave a comment