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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank you all for your enthusiasm!

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "alternative sexuality and gender studies."  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 "alternative sexuality and gender studies." 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. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

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 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.


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 $150+ by Friday evening then I'll write an extra series poem after the Poetry Fishbowl, and post it for free.  Everyone will get to vote which series gets a new poem.  June donors will get some kind of input into the poem's content; I'm currently planning to ask them for prompts, but it could be something else.


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 "alternative sexuality and gender studies."  

I'll be soliciting ideas for characters of nonstandard sex/gender, odd couples (or moresomes), alien sexes, extra genders, sexual orientations and choices, cultures with more than two gender roles, ways in which sex/gender affects plot, scenes that highlight differences in the way each sex or gender handles a situation, locations where sex/gender is relevant or is declared by where someone goes, how cultures handle sex and gender, 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 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, and an extra series poem  if donations reach $150+.) The rest will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

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Comments
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aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: June 7th, 2011 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
(psst, you didn't change the theme everywhere, you still have one Folk tail)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Fixed!

Thanks for catching this.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: June 7th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
This one might be interesting.

Sexuality for me has always been about emotional connection, the way that sharing physical connection can add to emotional connection.

Line marriages, sedoretu, polyamory

Two friends sleeping with the same third person.

Pansexuality with or without promiscuity.

Sexuality and sensuality, touch-need, without promiscuity.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

From prompt about touch-need I got the free-verse poem "Skinfriends." It explores the attraction of tactile relationships, something that English doesn't spare much vocabulary for describing; and so it is framed in terms of nature and primal forces, things that existed before ever words were carved free of the wind.

27 lines, Buy It Now = $15
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: June 7th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

And Gender

"I need a wife to do the cooking and cleaning," she said.

alternately: my dad used to joke about taking sister-wives when the Mormons would come door to door; Mom's answer was always "one cooks, one cleans."

(Given that my male spouse does all the cooking and cleaning)

How does a gender role get gendered? I.e., teaching and cooking used to be considered Male Occupations. Even Knitting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink#In_gender <-- or pink.

"Gender, hell, your mother has her own chainsaw," says my father (on giving me a drill for Christmas, <3<3).

I've been questioned recently on my apparently deeply-ingrained belief that to be male is to be strong and protective and a bit growly on occasion.

edited to add... um. *blush* sorry?

There's a poem tickling at the back of my mind. Ah. Pearcy's "Barbie Doll." http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Marge-Piercy/7926

and niki giovanni http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/giovanniNikki.php

"and if ever I touched a life I hope
that life knows that I know that touching was and still is and will always
be the true
revolution"

Edited at 2011-06-07 06:18 pm (UTC)
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: June 7th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, there's not a ton of BDSM-friendly poetry out there, especially of the female-top, male-bottom variety that doesn't simply transpose stereotypical roles.

Poly poetry is always nice; something on how the two ends of a poly V relate to each other, maybe...or something on the balance of experiencing NRE while in a long term relationship with someone else.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: June 7th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hrrm, good point on poly poetry. Shakespearean love sonnets for a trio or sedoretu?

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

the_vulture left a backchannel prompt about the conflict that asexuals face, which reminded me of a recent discussion about acceptance, rejection, and privilege. "The Air That Birds Don't See" is a very allegorical poem about sexual privilege. It's written in unrhymed tercets.

51 lines, Buy It Now = $20
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: June 8th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

I haz put in fundz!
unmutual From: unmutual Date: June 7th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Definitely looking forward to reading these!
From: idhren24 Date: June 7th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Letter, coming out of the sexual closet into freedom of open asexuality, writing makes it so.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

The prompt about a coming-out letter inspired an epistolary poem, of course. "Epistolary Adjustments" starts out formal and ends up very tongue-in-cheek (I couldn't resist the Sherlock Holmes reference) so it criticizes a couple more of society's bad habits than just expecting people to live in closets.

Also, I decided to price this at $5 since line breaks are variable in prose poetry.
rowyn From: rowyn Date: June 7th, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

It's a baby!

Thinking about Storm, maybe a poem where all of the characters have androgynous names and their genders are never discussed or mentioned in the narrative.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: It's a baby!

I actually got inspired more by the title of your comment than the content below it. I couldn't resist writing out the difference in baby-greetings between Waterjewel and two other cultures in the Whispering Sands. (I have no idea what the Tazha say, which I just noticed. Hmm. Maybe something to dig up later.) Anyhow, "Welcome to the Desert" is free verse.

12 lines, Buy It Now = $10
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: June 7th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've been writing quite a bit lately about asexuality.

Is it your Hallelaine setting that has five sexes?

The Gay Agenda, as seen on a friend's userpic: 1) Do laundry 2) Pick up milk 3) Vacuum 4) Destroy social fabric of America

NBarnes's credo: Bi, poly, switch -- I'm not indecisive, I'm greedy

What would society be like if we just didn't *care* about people's sexual orientations, if someone's orientation was just another piece of information to keep in mind like "allergic to cats, loves pizza, can talk intelligently about abstract math"?
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: June 7th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wonder what it would be like (and maybe this is just me) to be able to talk to someone without my/their sexuality being a factor. Are they hitting on me? Am I hitting on them? Do I want them to be/want to be?
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: June 7th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd like to see something related to Storm Wrack and Ferelye.

Or something about Lalya's new gender. :)

Someone visting Affabreidalam for the first time.

Changing gender with magic a few too many times... what confusion might that cause?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

From the idea of magical gender change, I got "Undercover (Wo)man," a free-verse poem about a spy who shifts sex and gender to pursue different assignments. And drifts farther and farther from conventional society as a result.

88 lines, Buy It Now = $44
From: siliconshaman Date: June 7th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess my biology geekiness is at play here.
see, some species have a functional third gender... either genotype male or females who's functionally neuter and fulfils a support carer role during child-rearing. They don't have sex, or secondary sexual characteristics.

Kinda makes you wonder what that'd be like for them... observing the whole gender thing and sexual relationships from the outside.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

The prompt about a third gender observing sex from the outside got me thinking about social insects, which led to the free-verse poem "Royal Affairs." The nursemaids and the soldiers have a very alien view of sex that the human anthropologists just can't quite grasp.

21 lines, Buy It Now = $10
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 8th, 2011 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Poem

The prompt about fluid sexuality touches on janetmiles's prompt about Hallelaine and the five genders.

Once upon a time, I found Waterjewel, a tribe that recognizes five genders (male, female, both, neither, and I'm-not-telling). I thought that covered the bases. It doesn't. There are three other versions in the Whispering Sands desert -- and you hit one of those others. I've known for a long time that there's a bandit tribe handling gender variance with what they call "the mellifluous gender," in which someone can chose on any given day to present as man or woman, but never mixing the two. So I finally caught them on camera, as it were. Another interesting aspect is that my desertfolk don't really have the concept of sexual orientation as an identity. They express it with the same marker as for a hobby.

So, "This Mellifluous Gender" is about a bigendered bandit and wife, and the dynamics of their relationship, which happens to involve touching only on the woman-days.

42 lines, Buy It Now = $20
heavenscalyx From: heavenscalyx Date: June 7th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

The "sovereign" prompt led to the free-verse poem "Dancing on Fences," yet another highly allegorical piece. It started with the idea of sexualities as pastures, and the possibility of treating a fence as a path between them; but really it could apply to any batch of divisions.

29 lines, Buy It Now = $15
kyleri From: kyleri Date: June 7th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been hanging out some with the local pagan crowd...and they very much tend to divide things up by gender. Men here, women over there. Where do I stand? When do I stand there? What do I wear while I'm doing that?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Poem

From this I got "Redrawing the Lines," and I've decided to make it today's freebie poem.
poeticknowledge From: poeticknowledge Date: June 7th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will send you an email with my prompt for the fishbowl. :) Can't wait to see what you come up with! :D I'm excited! Thanks for giving me advance notice yesterday. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Yeah, I usually include a reminder if someone says something that ties into an upcoming fishbowl theme.
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