July 8th, 2008


Poetry Fishbowl Is Open!

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open! 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. I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems. Today's theme is "nature."
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Poem: "Older Princes Still"

Older Princes Still
This poem was inspired by prompts from cimeara and these photos.

Older Princes Still

At Namafjall Hverir, the world is thin
And cracked in places. You could fall right in.

The fumaroles breathe reeking clouds of steam
Like dragons snoring vapors as they dream.

The mud pots bubble briskly by the flue.
No witches tend this eerie, earthen brew.

No flowers bloom upon this barren field
But sulphur’s yellow badge adorns the shield.

The fairytales are old, but older still
Are stone and steam, the princes of this hill.