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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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 "rights and responsibilities."  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.

Watch for the linkbacks perk to go live.  Click to read "Alone in the Bee-Loud Glade" (Hart's Farm, 15 verses).

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 "rights and responsibilities." 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) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A new feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.

3) 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.

4) 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"

5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  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.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  "Alone in the Bee-Loud Glade" belongs to the Hart's Farm series and has 15 verses.

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 $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, you get a half-price sale for one week in one series.  Everyone will get to vote on which series to feature in the sale, out of those with extra poems available.

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 "rights and responsibilities."  I'll be soliciting ideas for rights activists, responsible heroes, oppressors, taglines about rights, activist tools and techniques, places where people defend rights, places of responsibility, famous rights movements, pivotal events in activism, the kinds of rights that people expect, new rights that come with new technology or other developments, unexpected or unwilling responsibilities, 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 additional perks at $100-$300 in donations.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "Alone in the Bee-Loud Glade.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

31 comments or Leave a comment
paka From: paka Date: September 4th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Rights and Responsibilites ideas?

1) The Columbine Mine Massacre. The miners protested and the establishment literally murdered them with armored cars. There were children in that camp; the capitalists and their hired muscle didn't care.

2) The Siege of Blair Mountain. More mining activity connected with some seriously nasty tactics by the Pinkertons. Includes the fairly newly minted Air Force bombing US civilians on presidential orders.

3) Occupy Oakland and the intentional, heavyhanded destruction of Occupy's camp in Ogawa Plaza (or Oscar Grant Plaza) by the OPD and allies - under the leadership of a Mayor who claimed she stood for Oakland's disenfranchised. The media tried to make it all the protesters' fault, those of us who were anywhere nearby know differently.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2012 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)


From this I got the free-verse poem "Of Bones and Mountains," posted as today's freebie.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)


thesilentpoet left some backchannel prompts. This led to "The Anarchivist," a free-verse poem about the safety valves of civilization.

29 lines, Buy It Now = $15
lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: September 4th, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel bummed, because I love your work, but don't feel comfortable giving prompts when I know I can't pay for the result. :(

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)


I won't pressure you. You can still sit back and watch the action.
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: September 4th, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.

Right - wright - write - rite

With great power comes great responsibility, TM SpiderMan


Civil disobedience including but not limited to pickets, non-violent resistance, and hunger strikes

These boxes protect your rights: soap, ballot, jury, and ammunition, in that order

"What do you mean you're not a gypsy rover, you're a powerful king?"
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about the boxes of freedom I got the free-verse poem "Open This End First." It discusses the rights and responsibilities of citizens in troubleshooting civilization.

31 lines, Buy It Now = $15
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2012 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)


This combined with several other prompts to inspire the free-verse poem "The Strength of Starfire" in Path of the Paladins. Shahana pushes Ari to learn how to light up a fallen star without help, which leads to a discussion about rights, responsibilities, power, and authority.

138 lines, Buy It Now = $69
From: siliconshaman Date: September 4th, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
The chain of responsibility from companion animal to care giver, to...???

Or is it more a web, counter-balanced by rights, all part of what holds society together?

Edited at 2012-09-04 08:31 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 5th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)


"Cheques and Balances" (see below) includes some interaction between Maryam and Farasat, and what she's learned from that.
siege From: siege Date: September 4th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
The right to arms becomes a responsibility for right use of said arms.

What are the rights of a free person, and should those be the rights of all people?

What does it mean to be responsible? What kind of people are responsible?

What does responsibility look like on Hart's Farm?

What are the rights of the various peoples and professions in the Path of the Paladins?

Perhaps our beloved Steamsmith encounters a problem with claiming her right to something.

What is the opposite of a right?
siege From: siege Date: September 4th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
And one more: taking responsibility vs giving responsibility.
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: September 4th, 2012 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Responsible Party

The right to outrage

Purist Rights. (Purist Rites?)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 5th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)


Your prompt about "Purist Rights" became the title of a free-verse poem in Torn World. Bai and his teacher discuss the difference between rights and responsibilities for citizens, and how that affects people who aren't citizens.

76 lines, Buy It Now = $38
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 4th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)


Stephen Laird shared a spooky glossary about temporal engineering and how it could break reality if people aren't careful with it. This led to "Stacking the Deck," a free-verse poem in Schrodinger's Heroes. Ash and Alex discover that other people are messing around with spatiotemporal forces.

128 lines, Buy It Now = $64
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 4th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
The gray area of monkey wrenching - sabotaging logging equipment sounds like a great way to stop logging operations, but what about the poor bastard whose chainsaw hits a spike in a tree and is subsequently maimed, or even killed, as a result?

Also, how do you balance the need for conversation against the needs of those dependent on the lumber industry?

Edited at 2012-09-04 10:55 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 5th, 2012 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about sabotage, I got the free-verse poem "Branches and Actions." It looks at layers of options and outcomes regarding the lumber industry and the environment.

26 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 5th, 2012 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)


Anthony Barrette sent a backchannel prompt about voting. "Voter Expression" is a free-verse poem about how rights and responsibilities come together at the poll.

21 lines, Buy It Now = $10
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: September 5th, 2012 01:35 am (UTC) (Link)
The difference between the right to happiness and the right to the pursuit of happiness.

Motherhood and Daughterhood

How do you balance responsibility to make things safe with the costs of making things safe? Accidents happen and entropy eventually always wins, after all.

Speech as action

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 5th, 2012 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about mothers and daughters, I got the free-verse poem "Coils and Brass." Maryam and her mother Sarah discuss family history and how it influences their lives, as Sarah fixes Maryam's hair.

53 lines, Buy It Now = $40
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 5th, 2012 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

Okay, I've done at least one poem for every prompter, so I'm closing down now.
31 comments or Leave a comment