PHOENIX RISING – DESTINATION: POEM-A-DAY TRAVELOG

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We have made poetry a destination and have explored many aspects of the process of arriving to a great place poetically. That is your passport to bigger and better things. So in the tradition of our July Poem-A-Day exercise, we are embarking on a worldwide trip. This Summer we are going to locations around the globe to pen our poetic perfection.

Maybe you’ve been fortunate to see some of these great locations. You have a first hand perspective. But maybe you’d like to write what you could imagine it to be. Even if the closest you will get to the Eiffel Tower is an elevated place somewhere close to home, write from that perspective.

So rest up, pack your bags, (get that passport ready) and prepare to travel to new adventures in poetry. We depart July 1st. Bon Voyage!

PHOENIX RISING – DESTINATION: POETRY – HOW DOES IT FEEL? (MOOD)

Surely, we can tell when those around us are in a bad mood or  truly great mood. We can tell when they’re excited, calm, uptight, hyper or afraid. Much like people, poems have moods as well. This mood is tied into how a poet sets the scene, what is happening in the plot, and/or the rhythm of the poetic piece. The mood of the poems can change, usually as the situations in the plot change.

Write a poem in which you create a mood in either a doctor’s waiting room, a crowded movie theater, or any intimate gathering of people using the aspects of the poetic process we have discussed so far. Use your poetic skills to tell how it feels!

SIGN THE BOOK!

A few books. A lot of words. And an audience that spreads around the globe. Signing all of those collections would be a daunting task seeing that I have short arms, albeit with a somewhat mighty pen. Anyone who has acquired any one of these titles (including the new book in the DEAD POET trilogy) and would like them “signed”, let me know you’re interested and we’ll make arrangements. I have personalized book plates that I will sign and send to you. They are self-adhesive labels and would serve the cause nicely. Thanks for your interest.

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PHOENIX RISING – DESTINATION: POETRY – WHAT’S GOING ON?

Conflict

We’ve discovered that people do thing in specific places; the Who and the Where. But WHAT are they doing. In a story or bit of prose, this would be considered the plot. So why not in a poem? It expresses a vision to us. What is happening; what’s going on?

Poems describe an unchanging scene; a single thought, feeling, setting, experience or image. But they can also be a record of events that take place over a period of time. They can demonstrate change giving two points of view, offering the reader a chance to draw their conclusion. But the PLOT becomes a purpose-driven action by a character or an interaction between several, allowing you to imagine a certain outcome.

Characters at the center of the plot (protagonists) rarely head out on a set course without some conflict, making us question whether they’d be successful in their endeavor. It could be an internal quandary – the characters own personality or short-comings that holds them back. The desire to attain a goal can lead one to change or grow from the experience to face the reality of their dilemma or weakness.

But also, external conflicts; struggles with someone or something else out of our control can cause this road block to success. This foe (antagonist) can provide conflict, and could be a person, the environment, natural forces or societal pressures.

The dissection of this plot provides these basic aspects:

A beginning when the goal is set…

A middle when the characters struggles to achieve their goal…

An ending, the resolution of the character’s quest – successful or unsuccessful or even, undetermined (unresolved).

This week’s prompting has you consider a plot for your poem. Write a poem of any kind in which an attitude of someone (even yourself) becomes the thing that presents a dispute or conflict. Work towards defining the what, the attempt to resolve it and any outcome to the situation.

As always, the purpose to these exercises is to get you writing serious drafts which could be polished into finished works. Prompts are merely suggestions, meaning as long as you are writing poetry it is a good thing! But equally,the fact of you attempting to stick to the prompt could enhance your poetic prowess! Rise up!

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Thanks to all who continue to explore these weekly promptings. Hopefully you will gain some expertise to aid you in your poetic travels. If so, you make doing these presentations wholly worthwhile.

PHOENIX RISING – DESTINATION: POETRY – WHERE AM I?

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Let’s talk setting this week. We know, everything happens someplace, in some frame of time. That is the environment of our poetry.

Observe your surroundings. Maybe you’re indoors in a room. How is it appointed? Furnished? Unfurnished? What part of the building is it? What building is it in? Suppose you are outdoors. How’s the weather? What time of year are you experiencing? Urban or rural? What country, region, city or township is it? Year? These are all a part of our setting.

And setting can be categorized in three distinct ways: physical, historical or cultural/social.

PHYSICAL SETTING

  • location
  • the climate
  • natural or topographical features
  • architecture
  • furnishings

HISTORICAL SETTING

  • time and date in history
  • events having historical significance (past or present)

CULTURAL/SOCIAL SETTING

  • people
  • cultural background
  • ethnic background
  • socioeconomic situation
  • religious/philosophical beliefs

Since poetry is a concise expression, the implications of setting are a major function of the rest of the poem.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to write your poems this week with a main concentration on the three aspects of setting and less on the characters within your verse. Go into specific detail and inject imagery into the places and settings that inspire you. Ask yourself, “Where am I?” and write about it!