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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 "horror: demons."  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 "To Attend a Ball" (The Steamsmith, 20 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 "horror: demons." 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.  dreamwriters has volunteered to post the verses this month, so you'll need to notify her of your linkbacks in a comment to her post, in order for them to count.  "To Attend a Ball" belongs to The Steamsmith series and has 20 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 piece of bonus material for a poetic series.

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 "horror: demons."  I'll be soliciting ideas for demons, fallen angels, clerics, innocent bystanders, lost souls, mistaken identities, holy symbols, sacred or profaned weapons, dimension-traveling devices, seals and sigils, ancient tomes, symbolic locations, dimensional gates, mythic places, churches, underworlds, summonings or banishings, escapes from hell, deals with the devil, exorcisms, conversions, infernal or celestial languages, 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 "To Attend a Ball.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

52 comments or Leave a comment
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the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: October 3rd, 2012 03:01 am (UTC) (Link)
One amazing Samhain ceremony, we travelled into the Underworld, to confront our greatest foe, revealed in a mirror. The theme was Demons to Daemons, and was meant to have us reflect upon how to change our deepest fears and weaknesses, into our strengths.

Also, mailer-daemons man, mailer-daemons!

Also, speed demons! VAROOOOM!!!

Edited at 2012-10-03 03:03 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2012 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)


I used your prompt about mailer-daemons to create the free-verse poem "The Cybernetic Sorcerers." The higher speed in computing really came from summoning infernal servants.

25 lines, Buy It Now = $10
dreamwriters From: dreamwriters Date: October 3rd, 2012 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
1. Anodea Judith called the emotions and states that can close chakras demons (reference)

2. Using the disambiguation page suggestion from the advance notice... How about a fanfic-crossover prompt idea for Schrodinger's Heroes: I'm curious about what the cast would have for daemons in the His Dark Materials universe.

Edited at 2012-10-03 03:20 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2012 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)


Your crossover prompt led to the poem "Settling," which is posted as today's second freebie.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2012 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)


While researching for another poem, I came across a description of Lucifer's rebellion, which reminded me of haikujaguar's rendition of Lucifer, which matched very closely with the one I've always had. Because what's the bigger sacrifice: putting up with humans being horrid for a small span of mortal life, or putting up with them forever so that they will, by Hell and not by Heaven, never be alone and have somewhere to go no matter what? The result is the free-verse poem "Not One Soul Be Lost."

52 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2012 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)


"Knocking On" is very rude political humor of the anti-Republican flavor, written in free verse. My parents started it with a prompt for Romney/Ryan in a demon-themed fishbowl. Then I added a prompt from DW user Jjhunter about demonic proselytizers. I wrote it down, but I cannot make this shit up. Only the insult to their educational plan and general intelligence is really mine. Romney and Ryan get themselves into so much trouble for so little gain.

54 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 3rd, 2012 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Prompting Is Closed

I haven't finished writing everything, but I have come to the end of my energy tonight. Prompting is closed. More poetry probably tomorrow.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: October 4th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)


Aoifes_aisle left a prompt over on Dreamwidth.

Nearly the whole nightmare-demon prompt went into the text of the free-verse poem "The Formless Ones." Our paladins hunt nightmares in the space between dreams. The past is a thing with teeth and claws, but that doesn't mean you have to let it win.

235 lines, Buy It Now = $117.50
52 comments or Leave a comment
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