April 8th, 2009


This Week on Gaiatribe


Poetry Fishbowl Report for Tuesday, April 7

This month's fishbowl started briskly; most of the prompts arrived early in the day. I started working at 12:15 PM and stopped at 3:00 AM - the poems wouldn't let me go! - for a total of 12 hours and 45 minutes, accounting for lunch and supper breaks. I wrote a total of 14 poems, mostly long. There were no $5 poems this month, a handful of $10-15 ones, and 7 long enough (61+ lines) to require custom pricing. Most used a single prompt, but several combined multiple prompts; I got especially good mileage out of wyld_dandelyon's "crafters of magical items" prompt. A majority of the poems were rhymed, metered forms - particularly ballads - with only 4 being free verse. Only 8 people sent prompts, but many of them sent multiple prompts, and there was particularly high activity in which one person's prompt inspired another person to comment in a way that spawned more prompts. There were 32 comments including mine.

These patterns are not surprising given the topic of "sword & sorcery," since that genre runs to epics and metrics. I feel a little bad about having written so many huge poems which are probably out of price range for some of my readers. (Remember that you can team up to sponsor poems, if you're attached to one that's over your threshold.) Still, I'm really pleased with the general flow of the epics - you folks gave me great prompts! - and there's an equal number of medium-sized poems available. I may need to go back and look at the epics to see whether they might need revision: at least a couple times in there, my talent crashed into the wall of my body's limits. I was running out of steam during the last double-four verses of "Where Have All the Heroes Gone?/Different Gifts" before lunch; and I think I was asleep and working on autopilot for at least an hour before I went to bed, so that'd be part of "The Odd Trio" and all of "Pawsoldiers." Wheef...

[EDIT 4/22/09 adding poems]

These are the fishbowl poems that have already been published:
"The Carver's Guard"
"A Doe in Velvet"
"Gentlemen in Distress"
"Raising the Hero""The Swordsmith's Secret"
"Where Have All the Heroes Gone?/Different Gifts"
"Whistling Girls and Crowing Hens"

This month's donors are: ellenmillion, minor_architect, mtrose2, and dulcinbradbury; [EDIT 4/22/09 adding donors] janetmiles, oldewolfe, jasra, haikujaguar, asakiyumi, elusivetiger, akaihyo, morenasangre, and arielstarshadow. [EDIT 4/22/09 update]Later there will be a donor perk post. I'm just under my $50 first goal, and part of that was a general donation, so there will be a poll too. Thanks to tremendous enthusiasm over "Where Have All the Heroes Gone?/Different Gifts," I'm now well over my $100 second goal; donor perk post and polls have been completed. Thank you all for your support and the lively prompts. You take me to places I wouldn't find all by myself.

Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for April 2009

This is going to be a short, simple poll as the general donation fund contains $10 and there are four poems in that range.

Poll #1380355 Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for April 2009 Fishbowl

Which of the following poems do you most want to see published?

Beowulf's Legacy
It Takes an Old Man
The Swordsmith's Secret

Celebrate National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate by reading poetry online or in person, or attending a reading. Network with your friends who are enjoying poetry too!

Here are some online resources about National Poetry Month:

National Poetry Month on Poets.Org
National Poetry Month on Wikipedia
National Poetry Month Resources for Teachers
Poetry Podcasts, Slideshows, and Activities for Teachers

Here are some online resources for poetry:

Poetry on Wikipedia -- massive article with many cross-references
Poetry.Org -- articles, history, poems, and more
Poets.Org -- poems, poets, bios, and more
Poetry Foundation -- home of Poetry Magazine
The Eserver Poetry Collection -- searchable database of classic and contemporary poems
Classical Poems -- big database of canonical poems and poets
Poetry Blog Rankings -- a database of poets who post poetry on their blogs
Poetry Books on Amazon.com -- shop for anthologies and collections of poetry, or nonfiction about poetry

Here are some poems that I have uploaded this week:

"The Carver's Guard"
"Raising the Hero"
"The Swordsmith's Secret"

... and you can find many more here.

Poem: "The Swordsmith's Secret"

Here is the April 7, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl poem selected for the generally sponsored poetry fund, by far the most popular in the poll. "The Swordsmith's Secret" was inspired by a prompt from wyld_dandelyon and this month's donors are ellenmillion, minor_architect, mtrose2, dulcinbradbury.

The Swordsmith’s Secret

Everyone knows that it takes
the finest steel to make a mindful sword,
water-clear gems to set in the pommel and quillions,
rare woods to build the hilt,
gold and silver and platinum for inlays.
The sword is only the body
for the spirit shaped within it,
brought to life by magic and
sustained by precious metals and gems.

Only the swordsmith knows
that the spirit lives in the steel
before it is finished – before it even begins –
sleeping until awakened with the fire’s first kiss.

Only the swordsmith knows
how the sword screams when it’s heated,
weeps when it’s beaten,
cries when it’s quenched.

Only the swordsmith, and I,
the priestess of the bees
who brings the soft golden wax
for the swordsmith to stub into his ears
every morning so he can stand to work.