August 3rd, 2009


Music and Expectations

I was fascinated by this video demonstrating some tricks that one can play with the pentatonic scale and an audience. If you like scat singing, or other songs that are based on wordlike sounds rather than exact words, definitely check it out. Link courtesy of janetmiles through my partner Doug.

I can't help but wonder if this kind of trick would work with aliens, or if it would be useful in demonstrating the sentience of one's species to aliens.

Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, August 4

This is an advance announcement for the August 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "stages of life."

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. Drop by and give me some ideas, comment on the posted poetry, encourage people to come look, whatever tickles your fancy. I hope to see you then!

Most Popular Topics

According to the "Manage Tags" feature, the topics most often appearing in this journal are:

Writing -- 597 posts
Networking -- 577
Poetry -- 381
News -- 397
Reading -- 376
Politics -- 369
Science fiction -- 353
Cyberfunded creativity -- 318
Economics -- 272
Blogging -- 238

The only change in ranking this time is that Blogging edged ahead of Fishbowl.

SQUEE: Two Poetry Collections Coming Your Way!

*fanfare* *confetti*

I'm delighted to announce that two countersigned contracts arrived in my mailbox today. Now officially pending are two collections of my poetry, From Nature's Patient Hands: A Collection of Poetry and Prismatica: Science Fiction Poetry Across the Spectrum, due out sometime in the next two years from Cyberwizard Productions. Approved manuscripts are already in the publisher's hands, just need a little last-minute touchup. I will keep you-all posted on further developments.

haikujaguar and janetmiles are two of my earliest fans (along with my partner Doug and, of course, my parents). They've been asking for a poetry collection for quite a few years now. Folks, thanks for waiting, and I hope the double dish helps make up for the long wait.

Squeee, squeee, squeee!

Poetry Fishbowl Landing Page

This is the landing page for the Poetry Fishbowl project. Once a month, I host a live poetry activity in The Wordsmith's Forge. I have collected the details below to provide a permanent description.

2013 Best Poetry Winner

The Poetry Fishbowl project has WON the Poetry category of the 2010 and 2013 Rose and Bay Awards, celebrating excellence in cyberfunded creativity. I am deeply honored. (You can see the original nomination and voting pages.) Also, the winning Patron of 2010 is haikujaguar, a donor and prompter from the Poetry Fishbowl; in 2013 the winners included Poetry Fishbowl patrons marina_bonomi and technoshaman.

Four of my 2009 poems have been nominated for a Rhysling Award:
"Fallen Gardens"
"How the Aztecs Conquered Cortez"
"The Mummy Child" (from the October 2008 Poetry Fishbowl)
"The Dreamgod"

My poem "the leaf whisperer" won 2nd Place in the 2009 Dwarf Stars Award.

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and the similar Crowdfunding community over on Dreamwidth.

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 -- Each month's "Fishbowl Is Open" post has 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 are tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted. Outside of active fishbowls, you may support this project via the permanent donation button on my Profile page (or other methods as above).

For international donors: PayPal automatically translates between most currencies.  To figure out how much you need to spend, I recommend using a currency converter such as XE or MSN Money.  Put in the price of the poem in US Dollars, then select your local currency to find out how much you need to give to PayPal.  Put that into PayPal and they will credit me with US Dollars.  If you want to cover the transaction fees, or you're worried about the exchange rates shifting while you're doing the transaction, just add a few extra dollars; at the price ranges I work with, that's usually enough to cover it.

2) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem during (or shortly after) an open fishbowl. 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) Matching donations. You can pledge a certain amount (say, $10) toward a poem if somebody else puts up the same amount, or you can pledge to match donations up to a ceiling (say, $30) as long as other people are contributing. Matching donations are also allowed for the general fund.

4) Call for cosponsors. If you crave a particular poem but can't afford the whole thing yourself, you can team up with one or more other people to sponsor it. You can post your call for cosponsors in the comments here, or make a separate post on your own blog, or both. Please let me know when you're calling for cosponsors for a poem, so that I can echo that in a separate post on my LJ and more people will see it.

5) Open an epic for microfunding. Unsponsored poems currently for sale have a line count and price at the bottom of their entry. You can find the newest poems in the Fishbowl Open post or Unsold Poetry List each month, and older ones on the Serial Poetry page. Epic poems may be opened for microfunding, usually at $.50/line. The starting donation is flexible, but $10 gives a good jumpstart to most poems. I try to keep at least one epic open, no more than three at a time, and no more than one in the same series. If you need more details, just ask me.

6) 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. Most poems fit on one page; a few turn into spreads of two or three pages. I use scrapbook paper, both patterned and plain. Embellishments include stickers, rub-on decals, paper punches, and borders of contrasting paper cut with decorative scissors. If you want specific colors, you can ask and I'll see what I've got in stock. Autograph available upon request. See samples:
"Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"
"Mental Iterations and others"
"Where Have All the Heroes Gone / Different Gifts & others"
"Autumn's Daughter & Chance Process"

Scrapbooked poems typically cost $5-$10 per page. $5 would cover poems I can print out onto a single matching sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper, or plain paper embellished with stickers or simple cutouts. $10 would cover poems that require more complicated cutting and piecing, laser cuts/stickers I have to buy special, premium paper like metallic or handmade stuff, and 12" x 12" pages. Most poems could go either way, depending on how fancy a page you want. Some are an obvious match for easy-to-find paper (I can usually find leaf frames, flower frames, etc.) and others are just so exotic that I have to do a lot of piecing or stickering to make the presentation match the poem's content. Add postage for mailing in a cardboard envelope, usually $1-2.

If you're interested in buying a scrapbook page, contact me and we'll discuss details.

7) Spread the word! Post about the Poetry Fishbowl project on your blog; link to an active fishbowl page and/or to this landing page. Ideally, include your prompts so people can see what kinds of things to contribute; you can then go back and add the thumbnail description of your poem, and a link or copy of it if it gets posted. Tell your friends about the fishbowl and encourage them to participate. If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem. Do you belong to another social network such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.? Spread the word there too, and include a link back to the project. The Twitter hashtag is #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall is also relevant.

Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt comments telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief "thumbnail" description of the resulting poem(s). After the fishbowl, I compile the thumbnails into an "unsold poems" post. If you want to know what poems are available for sponsorship, watch for those.

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send electronic copies of poems to people through LJ's private-message function. If you're not logged in but you want to see the poem inspired by your prompt, give me your eddress; I recommend using {at} and {dot} to discourage spammers. These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing. Also, if I write several poems based on your prompt(s), you will get to see at least one of them but not necessarily all of them.

3) Some poems belong to a series of poetry featuring the same characters and/or setting. You can read about the series and find links to the published poems on the "Serial Poetry" page of my website.

4) I wrote a description of warnings and other notes that appear above some poems.

General Perks

The more active the audience is, the more goodies you get during and after a Poetry Fishbowl. Sometimes I need to swap things around a bit, so check the perk list for each fishbowl. Here is the typical lineup of perks that are currently available to everyone.

1) Just for sharing your ideas, one poem will be posted free during the fishbowl.

2) If there is at least one new prompter and/or one new donor, you get an extra freebie poem. This usually appears during the fishbowl, but sometimes shortly afterwards.

3) Right of first refusal. That's the official publishing term for my custom of letting the poetry fishbowl audience pick whatever you-all want to sponsor, before the remaining poems get added to my archive for submission to magazine editors and so forth.

4) $100 in a month's donations gets you a free poem in the $15 "medium-long" range.  $150 in a month's donations gets you a free poem in the $20 "long" range.  $200 in a month's donations gets you a free epic.  This will be series poem f possible.  If I don't have the right size currently, I may offer you series poetry in a different size or non-series poetry in the relevant size.  If there are multiple possibilities, the audience may get to vote on which they want.

5) $250 is the level relating to bonus fishbowls.  Reach this four times -- they don't have to be consecutive months, I'll keep a tally -- and you get a mid-month session.  That will prevent overload but should still allow for several of these a year.  After each bonus fishbowl, the tally will reset to zero and I'll start counting towards the next session.  The audience will get to vote on which series to feature in the bonus fishbowl.  The fishbowl may run for a half-day instead of whole day, and you'll get a free poem posted for that series.

6) $300 in a month's donations activates a half-price sale running for one week, featuring unsold poems from a specific series.  I'll try to give you a poll of at least two series with multiple unpublished poems.  The Holiday Poetry Sale will still be special because it covers everything from the year's fishbowls, but this will give folks more opportunities to buy at least some things on sale an no e competing with the mainstream holiday rush.  The series sale will be positioned to avoid proximity with other fishbowl activities as much as possible.

Donor Perks

Donors enjoy a variety of perks in appreciation of their support. (Some of these are also available to my regular prompters. I don't shout them very often because they're simple enough to do for a few people, but would tangle up if too many were stacked together.) You folks help put the beans on the table for the wordsmith and family! You are all awesome.

1) Complete list of currently scheduled dates and themes. Read the Poetry Fishbowl lineup for January-July 2012.

2) The "Poetry Fishbowl Patron" icon. See the image reserved for donors in the icon section above, which you can use to show your support of the fishbowl.

3) Donor perk-posts. You get to read the essays I write about poetry, which are custom-locked for donors. See a menu of previous perk-posts in the section below.

4) Advance prompting. If you expect to be offline the day of a fishbowl, you can contact me backchannel and leave your prompts early.  I'll jot them down for use on the fishbowl date.

5) Hold a poem. If you want to sponsor a particular poem, but won't have the funds available immediately, let me know.  I can make a note of your interest and set that one aside for you, rather than submit it to magazines.

6) Split a poem's price into two or more payments. This is especially useful for epics, if you want to sponsor one by yourself but can't fit the whole thing into your budget all at once.  Talk to me and we can probably work something out.

7) Suggest a theme. A couple times a year, usually, I ask folks for theme ideas and then put those into a poll to determine the most popular ones.  But if you have a good idea, you don't have to wait for that -- just send me your suggestion, and if it sounds promising, I'll schedule it or save it for a poll.

8) Nonexclusive reprint rights. If you sponsor a specific poem for publication in The Wordsmith's Forge, then you have the option to repost it on your own blog or website, as long as you keep the credit intact.

9) Polling perks. Donors get extra votes in some polls, such as the selection of future themes. Donors also get access to some polls or calls for prompts that aren't open to the general audience, such as an extra serial poem.

Holiday Season Perks: At the end of the year, I do something nice for my patrons. So far I've done the following, although the exact perks may change over time.

1) Donor bookmark. Patrons who donate $25 toward the Poetry Fishbowl project during the year will get a copy of that year's "Donor" bookmark. This is printed out on nice paper (so far I've used cream with gold-foil flourishes, solid pearly gold, blue with blue and silver snowflakes, and solid pearly silver) with a poem and the year, then autographed by hand. I usually manage to cover almost all the qualifying donors, minus a few people whose addresses I can't get. At $50 you get a whole sheet, usually 4-5 bookmarks that you can cut apart.

2) Poetry Collections.
Patrons who donate $100 or more in a year qualify as k-fans. For them, I have been creating a collection of fishbowl poems sponsored in that year. I collate the poems, then create a cover page and list of included poems. Electronic versions are in MS Word files. Hardcopy versions are first printed out on plain white paper. That bundle gets spiralbound with a flyleaf of nice paper. Essentially this is a handmade edition with a print run of however many k-fans I have that year. Each copy is unique, though, because the flyleaf papers are different and the dedication letter includes the recipient's name. These are the collections planned for 2015:
$100 -- electronic copy of a single-series collection
$200 -- paper copy of a single-series collection
$300 -- electronic copy of a half-year collection
$400 -- paper copy of a half-year collection
$500 -- electronic copy of the full-year collection
$600 -- paper copy of the full-year collection

Donor Perk-Posts

Each month I write a little essay about a poetic technique, or how the theme played out, or some other tidbit relating to the creation of poetry. These are custom-locked for donors. Either sponsoring a poem or making a general donation will put you in the "Donors" group for two months. You can thus read the perk-posts for those two months, plus the archive of earlier ones. Just click the "donors" tag to see them.

December: "Having Fun with Poetry"
November: "Competition and Cooperation"
September: "Healing Words"
August: "The Flexibility of Truth"
July: "Cats and Poetry"
June: "First Contact"
May: "The Science of Poetry"
April: "The Genderqueer Umbrella"
March: "Dragons"
February: "Types of Love"
January: "Decisions and Consequences"

December: "Angels as Characters"
November: "Gathering Family"
October: "Trickster Characterization"
September: "Conflict as Plot"
August: "Wanderers"
July: "What Makes a Hero?"
June "Surrealism"
May "Wordplay"
April "Historic Ages"
March "Static vs. Mobile Settings"
February "Mature and Elder Characters"
January "The Poetry of War"

December "Playfulness in Poetry"
November "Women in Poetry"
October "The Nature of Demons"
September "Bounds of Action"
August "Mythology and Mythos"
July "Linchpins and Ripple Points"
June "Desire and Motivation"
May "Sympathetic vs. Unsympathetic Characters"
April "Genre Blending"
March "Class and Character"
February "Writing About Animals"
January "Addressing Evil in Poetry"

December "Creating Sensation"
November "Reinventing History"
October "Literary Mood"
September "Humans and Animals"
August "Perspectives"
July "Quotations and Conversations"
June "The Epistolary Form"
May "What Is Folklore?"
April "Madness and Sanity"
March "The Sonnet Form"
February "Serial Poems"
January "The Triolet Form"

December "Metaphor and Simile"
November "Wordplay"
October "Exploring Cultures in Literature"
September "Discussing Issues Through Poetry"
August "What Is Divination?"
July "Dealing in Futures"
June "Verses by the Numbers"
May "Teaching Through Poetry"
April "Ballads and Double-Ballads"
March "Lines and Shapes"
February "Between the Worlds"
January "Hard Science in Fiction"

December "Scottish Poetry"
November "Exploring Languages in Poetry"
October "Horror -- The Other"
September "Folk Ballads"
August "Specifics and Generalities in Poetry"
July "Space and Shape in Poetry"
June "Writing Humor"
May "Name That Form!"
April "The Mechanics of Epics"
March "Building Structure from Free Verse"
February "The Quatern"
January "About Manta Rays"

December "Choosing Voices"
November "Focus"
October "Why Horror?"
September "What Patronage Can Do"
August "Repeating & Interlocking Forms"
July "Nature Poetry"
June "Poetic Forms by Origin"
May "Alien Minds"
April "Lincoln Log Verse"
March "The Story of My Name"
February "The Rispetto Form"

Poetry Fishbowl Report Posts

A day or few after each fishbowl, I post a report describing what I did, along with links to sponsored poems. There is also a list of unsold poems. If you want to see what previous fishbowls have produced, this is the best way. You can also see all the activity associated with the Poetry Fishbowl project by clicking the "Fishbowl" tag in the right sidebar. (Individual poems are under "Poem," everything having to do with poetry is under "Poetry," and cyberfunded projects and news are under "Cyberfunded Creativity.") Here are the reports from previous fishbowls:

April 4, 2017 unsold poems (living in the cracks)
March 7, 2017 unsold poems (small yet crucial moments of courage)
February 7, 2017 unsold poems (nonsexual intimacies)
January 24, 2017 unsold poems (nature)
January 3, 2017 unsold poems (a glitch in the matrix)

December 6, 2016 unsold poems (All the news is dark, so light a candle)
November 8, 2016 unsold poems (families of choice)
October 18, 2016 (The 50 Poetic States)
October 4, 2016 unsold poems (monsters)
September 6, 2016 unsold poems (pet peeves)
August 2, 2016 unsold poems (unexpected SCIENCE ensues)
July 19, 2016 unsold poems (anything goes)
July 5, 2016 unsold poems (Is there a word for that feeling?)
June 7, 2016 unsold poems (all creatures great and small)
May 3, 2016 unsold poems (schooling vs. education)
April 19, 2016 unsold poems (An Army of One)
April 5, 2016 unsold poems (changing society from within)
March 1, 2016 unsold poems (building a future)
February 2, 2016 unsold poems (tactile emphasis)
January 19, 2016 unsold poems (The Moon Door)
January 5, 2016 unsold poems (unexpected uses for ordinary things)

December 1, 2015 unsold poems (weather)
November 3, 2015 unsold poems (I want my future back!)
October 20, 2015 unsold poems (The Ocracies)
October 6, 2015 unsold poems (curses)
September 1, 2015 unsold poems (yarn, thread, and string)
August 4, 2015 unsold poems (friendship, kinship, and families of choice)
July 21, 2015 unsold poems (anything goes)
July 7, 2015 unsold poems (the end of the world as we know it)
June 2, 2015 unsold poems (outgrowing old ideas)
May 19, 2015 unsold poems (Path of the Paladins)
May 5, 2015 unsold poems (gentlemen in distress)
April 7, 2015 unsold poems (language shaping thought)
March 3, 2015 unsold poems (surviving the worst)
February 17, 2015 unsold poems (Fiorenza the Wisewoman)
February 3, 2015 unsold poems (what makes a real wo/man)
January 6, 2015 unsold poems (earn your happy ending)

December 2, 2014 unsold poems (games & fun)
November 4, 2014 unsold poems (winning without defeating anyone)
October 7, 2014 unsold poems (mad science)
September 16, 2014 unsold poems (P.I.E.)
September 2, 2014 unsold poems (healing & growth)
August 5, 2014 unsold poems (flexible truths)
July 1, 2014 unsold poems (concerning cats)
June 17, 2014 unsold poems (Frankenstein's Family)
June 3, 2014 unsold poems (first contact)
May 6, 2014 unsold poems (science & math)
April 1, 2014 unsold poems (genderqueer people)
March 18, 2014 unsold poems (Polychrome Heroics)
March 4, 2014 unsold poems (dragons)
February 4, 2014 unsold poems (love)
January 21, 2014 unsold poems (Walking the Beat)
January 7, 2014 unsold poems (It seemed like a good idea at the time)

2013 Holiday Poetry Sale
December 3, 2013 unsold poems (angels & deities)
November 5, 2013 unsold poems (family gatherings)
October 1, 2013 unsold poems (tricksters)
September 3, 2013 unsold poems (conflict resolution)
August 20, 2013 SOLD OUT (One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis)
August 6, 2013 unsold poems (nomads)
July 2, 2013 unsold poems (unlikely heroes & implausible villains)
June 4, 2013 SOLD OUT (sleep & dreams)
May 7, 2013 unsold poems (homonyms, puns, & wordplay)
April 16, 2013 SOLD OUT (Path of the Paladins)
April 2, 2013 SOLD OUT (fantasy in other eras)
March 5, 2013 SOLD OUT (houses & homes)
February 5, 2013 unsold poems (mature & old adults)
January 22, 2013 unsold poems (Fiorenza the Wisewoman)
January 8, 2013 unsold poems (military science fiction)

2012 Holiday Poetry Sale
December 4, 2012 unsold poems (games & toys)
November 6, 2012 unsold poems (influential women)
October 2-3, 2012 unsold poems (horror: demons)
September 18, 2012 SOLD OUT (Monster House)
September 4, 2012 SOLD OUT (rights & responsibilities)
August 7, 2012 unsold poems (modern myths)
July 3, 2012 SOLD OUT (alternate history)
June 19, 2012 unsold poems (Hart's Farm)
June 5, 2012 SOLD OUT (precious metals & gems)
May 1, 2012 SOLD OUT (anti-heroes & anti-villains)
April 3, 2012 SOLD OUT (steampunk & other eras)
March 20, 2012 SOLD OUT (Path of the Paladins)
March 6, 2012 unsold poems (commoner heroes & second fiddles)
February 21, 2012 SOLD OUT (The Steamsmith)
February 7, 2012 SOLD OUT (wild animals)
January 17, 2012 SOLD OUT (Fiorenza the Wisewoman)
January 3, 2012 unsold poems (heras & villainesses)

2011 Holiday Poetry Sale
December 6, 2011 unsold poems (chocolate & other foods)
November 1, 2011 (humor & whimsy) SOLD OUT
October 4, 2011 unsold poems (ghosts)
September 6, 2011 unsold poems (pets & livestock)
August 16, 2011 perk fishbowl (Monster House)
August 2, 2011 unsold poems (corruption & redemption)
July 5, 2011 unsold poems (low fantasy)
June 7, 2011 unsold poems (alternative sexuality & gender studies)
May 3, 2011 unsold poems (folk tales)
April 5, 2011 unsold poems (mad science)
March 1, 2011 unsold poems (things with wings)
February 8, 2011 unsold poems (vision & sight)
January 4, 2011 unsold poems (urban fantasy)

December 13-17, 2010 Holiday Poetry Sale
December 7, 2010 unsold poems (oceans and other waters)
November 2, 2010 unsold poems (doors and passages)
October 5, 2010 unsold poems (Horror: Vampires)
September 7-8, 2010 unsold poems(DNA, genetic engineering, and evolution)
August 3, 2010 unsold poems (fortunetelling, forecasts, and futures)
July 6, 2010 unsold poems (sociological science fiction)
June 1, 2010 unsold poems (opposites)
May 11, 2010 unsold poems (teaching basic lessons)
April 6, 2010 unsold poems (high fantasy)
March 2, 2010 unsold poems (elements & elemental spirits)
February 2, 2010 unsold poems (dreams)
January 5, 2010 (hard science fiction)

Poetry Fishbowl Statistics from 2009
December 1, 2009 (cultures of the world)
November 3, 2009 (languages & ways of writing)
October 13, 2009 (horror: shapeshifters)
September 8, 2009 (folk tales)
August 4, 2009 (stages of life)
July 7, 2009 (cyberpunk)
June 9, 2009 (the magic of everyday things)
May 5, 2009 (travel & exploration)
April 7, 2009 (sword & sorcery)
March 10, 2009 (hidden, lost, or microscopic things)
February 10, 2009 (romance, science and love)
January 6, 2009 (speculative fiction)

2008 Poetry Fishbowl Project Report
December 9, 2008 (science and its stories)
November 3, 2008 (civics/politics)
October 14, 2008 (horror)
September 9, 2008 (folk tales)
August 12, 2008 (science fiction & fantasy: energy)
July 8, 2008 (nature)
June 13, 2008 (languages, linguistics, and linguists)
May 15, 2008 (speculative fiction)
April 17, 2008 (civics/politics/sociology/civilization)
March 26, 2008 (nature)
February 19, 2008 (speculative fiction)
January 16, 2008 (Paganism & other Earth-based belief systems)

December 17, 2007 (nature)
November 21, 2007 (speculative fiction) [no report]