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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 you for your time and attention.  Please keep an eye on this space, as I am still writing.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "rites / rights of passage."  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 "Rewriting the Narrative" (9 verses, standalone).

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 "rites / rights of passage." 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.  "Rewriting the Narrative" has 9 verses and stands alone.

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 bonus piece.

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 "rites / rights of passage." I'll be soliciting ideas for adolescents, parents, heroes, villains, fools, clergy and other officiants, explorers, travelers, ordinary people, outcasts, facing thresholds, questioning, debating labels, traveling, accepting the call, refusing the call, getting lost, losing everything, hiding in the closet, coming out, finding your power, speaking truth to power, telling your own story, discovering new places, bedrooms, classrooms, counseling offices, churches, government buildings, the wilderness, cliffs, trails, self-discovery, self-awareness, birth, puberty, getting a job, marriage, sex, parenthood, death, rebirth, radical transformation, the hero's journey, birth control, reproductive freedom, alien transitions, self-sacrifice, disruptions, adventures, legal rights, famous geographic passageways, 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 New Book of Forms by Lewis Turco 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 "Rewriting the Narrative."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

16 comments or Leave a comment
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 1st, 2017 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel prompt from Anthony & Shirley Barrette inspired the poem "The Four Gates." It is written in tercets with a trailing line, and it talks about thresholds in life.

19 lines, hold for original prompters
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: August 1st, 2017 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
transitions out of order or unexpected.

Confirming that you meant it.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)


Your unexpected prompt inspired the free-verse poem "By Right of Passage." Bexley argues that she qualifies as an adult because she made her own way to the Lacuna.

160 lines, Buy It Now = $80
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 1st, 2017 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your first prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Passage Rites, and Rights of Passage." The jumpgates begin singling out a few special people.

56 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 1st, 2017 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)


Lb_lee sent me some image prompts earlier. I crammed all of those murals into "Mysterious and Impermanent." Dale and Kelly love how the street art reflects the culture of Jamaica Plain, including its response to refugees and immigrants.

57 lines, Buy It Now = $20

Edited at 2017-08-01 07:14 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 1st, 2017 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)


So there's this faery ring of mushrooms in my yard today. :D I went out and took pictures. Then I wrote a poem about it.

7 lines, Buy It Now = $5
Includes publication of four photographs.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 1st, 2017 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "The Bamboo That Bends." Turq and Dao talk about family and death with Ansel.

149 lines, Buy It Now = $75
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel image prompt inspired the free-verse poem "The Windows of Your Home." A young mother struggles to deal with her son's superpowers, and Fireheart lends a hand.

68 lines, Buy It Now = $34
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)


Several prompts inspired the free-verse poem "Look at Me with Fresh Eyes." Three friends decide to celebrate their special days together.

73 lines, Buy It Now = $37
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)


I used a prompt and several other prayers, spliced together, to create the free-verse poem "Common Passages." Because everyone talks about death in similar terms.

21 lines, Buy It Now = $10
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)


Your license prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Shopping for Privileges." Graduating from each form entitles students to buy a wider range of licenses.

31 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "The Retraction Factor." When a birth announcement and christening have gone awry, the only thing to do is correct them.

26 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

I still have poems to write, but my brain is tired.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)


From an online tidbit and a bingo prompt I got the free-verse poem "All a Man Can Do." It's about the importance of being nice when Death cruises you.

29 lines, Buy It Now $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2017 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)


DW user Peoriapeoriawhereart sent me a backchannel prompt. In the free-verse poem "Humanwatching," a pair of sasquatch observe some interlopers in their territory.

60 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 7th, 2017 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)


A DW prompt about the Iron Horses inspired the free-verse poem "Sheltered and True." Kenzie is getting restless, Ida helps him find something safe to do, and they talk about culture.

532 lines, Buy It Now = $266
16 comments or Leave a comment