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Poetry Fishbowl Open! - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank your for your enthusiasm.  Watch this space for later updates, as I hope to write more later.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "yarn, thread, and string."  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.

You may interpret today's theme literally (knitting, drawstrings) or figuratively (the red thread, stringing along).  Use your imagination!  And mine.

Click to read the linkback poem "Ramping Up the Fun" (Polychrome Heroics, 22 verses available).

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 "yarn, thread, and string." 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. "Ramping Up the Fun" belongs to Polychrome Heroics and has 22 verses available).

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, there will be a half-price sale in one 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 "yarn, thread, and string."  I'll be soliciting ideas for spinners, weavers, other people who do fibercrafts, puppeteers, storytellers, sheep and other fiber-bearing animals, spinning, weaving, other craft activities, cutting the cord, pulling strings, following threads, being strung out, telling yarns, stringing along, tying knots, getting strung out, untangling strands, puppet theaters, fibercraft factories, sewing rooms, laboratories, craft stores, looms, Gordian knots, spinning wheels, the red thread, family ties, cosmic strings, loose threads, macrame, 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 "Ramping Up the Fun.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

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rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: September 1st, 2015 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had something I wanted to get finished before this started, tomorrow will have to do... :)


Cat's cradle.

Pompoms and yarn toys.

Spoilt for choice when faced with all the colours, weights and textures of a yarn shop.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 1st, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)


This combined with a backchannel prompt from Shirley Barrette to inspire "The Yarns of My Youth," about storytelling and crafts from my grandparents. It is unrhymed and unmetered, but with a pattern to the verses.

33 lines, Buy It Now = $15 (HOLD)

Edited at 2015-09-04 07:39 am (UTC)
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: September 1st, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Crazy quilt as a metaphor for diversity.

Sewing as a way to cast a spell.

Hand-me-downs don't have to be shabby or fit poorly.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 1st, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your sewing prompt combined with several others to create the free-verse poem "Crossed Stitches." The daughter of Monster House learns how to work science and magic through needle and thread.

39 lines, Buy It Now = $15
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: September 1st, 2015 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and sailboats, which (like poetry) have "lines".
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 3rd, 2015 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)


This combined with a prompt from Anthony Barrette to make the free-verse poem "To Catch the Wind." It speaks of the history of sailing and how ships are rigged to run on windpower.

18 lines, Buy It Now = $10 (HOLD)

Edited at 2015-09-04 07:39 am (UTC)
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: September 1st, 2015 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
The link in your linkback line leads to your Polychrome Heroics landing page (which is a great thing to link to, but is not the linkback poem post).

Edited at 2015-09-01 05:54 pm (UTC)
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: September 1st, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dang typos.
my_partner_doug From: my_partner_doug Date: September 1st, 2015 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
More on string figures (not limited to Cat's Cradle), in particular on the contrast between their ubiquity in indigenous cultures (i.e., everybody decided that tying a knot in a piece of string to make a loop, and then manipulating it creatively in their fingers was cool) vs. the extraordinary diversity in the results: Inuit figures look *nothing* like Navajo figures look *nothing* like Maori figures look *nothing* like...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 1st, 2015 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)


Today's freebie is "Tie a String Around It," based on your prompt.
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: September 1st, 2015 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
A stitch out of step


Whatever happened with Laisesu's last yarn?

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 1st, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)


Laisesu's last yarn appears in today's second freebie, "The Colors of Fire."
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: September 1st, 2015 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Two other people already got in with string figures.

What kinds of materials are used for yarn in the Lacuna? Does anyone there know how to crochet or knit or weave?

Gods Eyes

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

Sewing machines

The Bayeux Tapestry

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)


Your prompt about the Lacuna inspired the free-verse poem "Closing the Loops." Weavercreep and Shuttlecock discuss the challenges of producing fibercrafts in space.

152 lines, Buy It Now = $76
eseme From: eseme Date: September 1st, 2015 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hart's Farm, making items for the kids, or possibly quilting. It is a setting with many handcrafts, and lots of interesting approaches to them I am sure.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)


For Hart's Farm I wrote the free-verse poem "The Thread of the Seasons" about all the work that people do with their wool.

50 lines, Buy It Now = $20
From: siliconshaman Date: September 1st, 2015 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Marionettes pull strings to fix a fixed awards ceremony, because when big business meets great literature, money talks and internet trolls have no pull.

McCavity plays with super-strings and winds up entangled, leading to a rescue from Schrodinger.

Spinning a yarn, [as in a tall tale], in the Monster house.

Yarn stashes gone bad..

The Norns take up knitting...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)


Your stash prompt contributed to "Closing the Loops," thumbnailed elsewhere.
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: September 1st, 2015 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
A sentient cat chasing string. Dignity? Highly overrated!

Knot spells and knit spells. (Knitting kitty? Yes, I have felines on the brain today.)

Evil Schrodinger in a yarn store.

Warping a loom with wishes for the wearer of the finished garment.

Virtual string leading to something lost.

A web spun in the branches of the World-Tree.

That'll do to go on with!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Of Cats and Cosmic Strings." Our heroes try to figure out how to get a ball of cosmic string away from Evil!Schrodinger ... but it's not the quantum mechanics who figure out how.

74 lines, Buy It Now = $37 SOLD

Edited at 2015-09-03 08:01 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)


A marionette prompt on Dreamwidth inspired the free-verse poem "Mending Strings." It actually dates back decades before the current time in Terramagne, and shows the current Puppetmaster as a boy with his old master ... and a very subtle lesson in leadership.

118 lines, Buy It Now = $59
rowyn From: rowyn Date: September 2nd, 2015 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Fiorenza and crocheting!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)


From this I got the free-verse poem "Dreams of Little Feet." Bettina asks Fiorenza for a favor that turns out to be several months in the making.

64 lines, Buy It Now = $32

Edited at 2015-09-04 07:42 am (UTC)
From: technoshaman Date: September 2nd, 2015 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Schrodinger pulls a string he maybe ought not, as cats do...

My swiss-cheese memory says that that lout who left the trot lines and got banished by Victor left something to do with fibre arts? Victor could use an extra blanket...

Shiv cuts some ties holding him back.

We need a wedding here. Hart's Farm, or Fiorenza... either of those can involve knitting, too...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)


See above thumbnail for "Of Cats and Cosmic Strings" for Schrodinger.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: September 2nd, 2015 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I got here too late to suggest the sort of thing you've already written "Of Cats and Cosmic Strings" for. So I'll try something different:

Can you find (or construct) a poetic form in which words, or a rhyme scheme, conform to a braid pattern? For example, using the common three-strand braid:


Here's a line to use, or you can use the well-known mythological reference: "Lost in a labyrinth, longing for string."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)


I actually have one already, Brigid's Braid. I've been debating whether to write one for this session. It's a fabulous form but really complicated to write. I love your line, though. :D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 2nd, 2015 06:11 am (UTC) (Link)


Several prompts combined to inspire the free-verse poem "The Word for Family Is Forest." Danso struggles with an assignment to make a family tree because his relationships are so complicated now. Taking a walk brings him alongside a construction site, which offers further insights.

192 lines, Buy It Now = $96 (HOLD)

Edited at 2015-09-04 07:43 am (UTC)
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