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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 for your time and enthusiasm.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "angels & deities."  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.

Click to read the linkback poem "The Trains Must Run on Time" (The Steamsmith, 19 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 "angels & deities." 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 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.  Comment with a link to where you posted. "The Trains Must Run on Time" belongs to the series The Steamsmith and has 19 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.  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 "angels & deities."  I'll be soliciting ideas for divine messengers, gods and goddesses, unusual angel types, angels or deities of color, terrifying or destroying angels, holy spirits, saints, sinners, true believers, bemused atheists, unconcerned bystanders, Fledging, praying, flying, falling from grace, rising from perdition, summoning, banishing, cursing, visitations, annunciations, mass hallucinations, churches, holy ground, sacred sites around the world, profane places to find angels or deities, robes, halos, feathers, holy relics, holy objects, faith-powered weapons, sacred texts, sigils, 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 "The Trains Must Run on Time.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

59 comments or Leave a comment
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2013 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)


From Dreamwidth I got the poem "the uncountable gods," written in haiku verses. It explores the idea of divinity in everything.

18 lines, Buy It Now = $10
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2013 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)


I've always figured that if Jesus came back, he wouldn't be very popular, and he wouldn't like his own church very much. "Sharper Than Nails" is a free-verse poem exploring that, based on a Dreamwidth prompt.

54 lines, Buy It Now = $20
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: December 4th, 2013 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

My mom observed not too long ago that if Jesus actually did come back now, the Powers That Be would kill him all over again.
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: December 4th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I wonder how the deities of truth and justice are faring about now? Ma'at, Lugh, Apollo, Twr, Forsetti, Themis...

And for that matter, Mammon, the god of greed.
siege From: siege Date: December 5th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
With permission, I'd like to write something up on this theme.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Go for it!

Other folks are welcome to use the fishbowl prompts if they feel inspired. If you post the results online, it would be nice to link back here so everyone can see it.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)


A Dreamwidth prompt about doves led to the free-verse poem "City of Angels." Different species of dove-folk congregate in Los Angeles, and find things in common.

43 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2013 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)


From a Dreamwidth prompt, the herukas appear in the free-verse poem "The Wisdom Kings." It explains the search for nonattachment.

20 lines, Buy It Now = $10
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2013 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)


From a Dreamwidth prompt I got the free-verse poem "Troubled at His Saying" about Gabriel and Mary at the annunciation. Given the extreme power differential, Mary could not give real consent, and that just never goes to a good place.

84 lines, Buy It Now = $42
From: technoshaman Date: December 4th, 2013 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
So many good ones falling out of this.

Damask end up home for Christmas and have to deal with church... and each facet's approach to deity.

Schrodinger's Heroes encounter Something... two Somethings, one seemingly darker than the other. Their reactions are as varied as they are.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 5th, 2013 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)


The prompt about Damask inspired the free-verse poem "Keep Our Christmas Merry Still." It's challenging to celebrate a holiday when your enjoyment of it has been chopped to bits and distributed amongst several very different selves, and you don't understand why your feelings have changed.

Available after "Strange Gratitudes" and "Lost in the Fog" are posted.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2013 09:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

I'm calling a halt here.
paka From: paka Date: December 4th, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Donated $10! I've been meaning to do this for some time now.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 4th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

General fund, or a specific poem?
paka From: paka Date: December 4th, 2013 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Initially I'd meant it to be specific (which is why the listed amount), but I think I put that towards the general fund. Unless it'd be more helpful to have that tagged to a specific piece, I'd just as soon have that in as a general thing.
59 comments or Leave a comment
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