Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I thought it would be fun to look at some different jargons. I think they can add a lot to our poems. Reference books are a great source, think medical, math, scientific names of birds, flowers, and shells.
Do you remember these little books?  Pick two different jargons that appeal to you and pen a poem.
Fishing terms, geometry, gardening terms, computer, cycling, etc. ...whatever appeals.
Think of all the unique combos or you could chose two opposites and see how well you can bring them together. This could make some really interesting poems.  Here is one I wrote a while ago. My daughter was taking Geometry and she is interested in hair n' make up. I thought I would combine the two.  My husband is in the military and I love flowers, what a unique poem that could be?!
Outlined illusion
Cupid's bow pursed,
perimeters changed,
passion's natural rose smiles,
planes appear, saving face
hollow apples,crop dusted
windows encircled, uplifted soul
smoky drama arrives in
matte made dreams,
skin and bone extract the canvas
hair color highlights hinges of youth,
rusting under painted brow,
alluded light by degrees
emotion drawn on,
play the part,
light reflects the God given jewels,
softness sets against animated sun,
light danced when young,
time worn clouds appear.
elements erode,
concealed geometry
covers pieces of  YOU.     

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shortening the Sails

Hello again! Grace here, glad to be back for the second round of our poetry format challenge. This week, we'll discuss the Rondelet. This is another French form, consisting of just one stanza. This form is a compressed version of the format we will tackle next time. Think of it as a building block!

The forms we have been enjoying are all of the Rondeau family, defined by the rentrement. The rentrement, as we saw in the last post's roundel, is an opening phrase or line that becomes a refrain. A French poet of the 19th century, Theodore de Banville, said of the rentrement, "It is at once the subject and its means of expression."

In "The Literary World", published in 1889, Charles Henry Luders gave us this quick lesson in the "Rondelet":
Is just seven verses rhymed on two.
A rondelet
Is an old jewel quaintly set
In poesy--a drop of dew
Caught in a roseleaf. Lo! For you,
A rondelet.
While each poem in the rondeau family is derived from a dance round set to music, the rondelet is also a short, disciplined format. There are a mere seven lines. A rondelet composed in French will be syllabic, counting 4-8-4-8-8-8-4. When written in English, the syllable count is often disregarded, and tends to be iambic. You are free to use the strict syllable count or choose another! While the strictness of the French-style meter helps to bring a spare beauty to your verse, a looser English-style meter can give you a little room to play around with this form. However, there must be meter and flow even if you choose a looser interpretation of the rules. "Rondelet", above, hews very close to the French syllable count, but not exactly, and its meter and flow are similar to what we are aiming for, here. Try reading your piece out loud to be sure it doesn't sound choppy.

This format is also rhymed, and the scheme ends up looking like this:
A (Refrain)
The first line, our rentrement, becomes the third and the seventh line as well.

A fun way to approach the rondelet is to begin it like a traditional haiku. Pick two clear images and try to reconcile them. Be sure to take your time in selecting the perfect descriptions, and don't settle for something easy or trite. It's not difficult to turn a small piece like this into doggerel. It's like walking a tightrope: you have to find a balance, adhering to the format yet allowing your own voice to shape it. Don't be afraid to modify the strictest rules as needed, while treating them with respect.

I couldn't find any online, readily available versions of the rondelet, none I truly liked, so I don't have an example to post for you in the article. I will of course link up along with runaway sentence. at the bottom when my version is posted, and look forward to reading your versions of this tricky, yet rewarding, little form.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Calling All Toads

Welcome to the Real Toads open link, where both members and visitors alike are invited to share a poem, either old or new.
Let us start our week off by reading some wonderful poetry, and forgetting, even for half an hour, that deadlines await our attention.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kerry's Wednesday Challenge

I had something else in mind for today's challenge but, when I opened the Google home page, saw that today marks the 112th anniversary of Jorge Luis Borges' birthday. Being something of an Alice when presented with a rabbit hole, a series of links lead me to his short story: "The Garden of Forking Paths".  I'm a sucker for anything convoluted, and I have become immensely intrigued by what I have read about the story.  (I have not read the story itself yet, but will read it HERE)

"The concept Borges described in 'The Garden of Forking Paths'—in several layers of the story, but most directly in the combination book and maze of Ts'ui Pên—is that of a novel that can be read in multiple ways, a hypertext novel." 

"Borges conceives of 'a labyrinth that folds back upon itself in infinite regression', asking the reader to 'become aware of all the possible choices we might make'."

I wonder, now, how can a book be like a maze and can a poem be like a maze too?  

Borges is lauded as the father of magical realism, so my challenge is that we all allow ourselves to become lost in the maze of language, magic, and endless possibilities.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Calling All Toads

Open Link Monday

Welcome to the Real Toads open link.  I do hope that your Monday proves to be less stressful than mine.  The best antidote to workday blues is the opportunity to relax and read a poem of two. 
Both members and visitors alike are invited to share a poem, either old or new, and read a few of those so generously offered for our enjoyment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interview with an Interviewer - Robin takes on Sherry Blue Sky

Kerry asked me to interview a writer. While I could have chosen one of my many poet friends, I instead, chose a poet whom I knew very little about. Attracted by her poetry and her own series of interviews, I asked the very interesting and animated Sherry Blue Sky to share some thoughts with us. ~ Robin Amaral

Hi Sherry, could you introduce yourself and tell us what makes you - you?

Whoa, that is a question that could take a lot of cyberspace to answer! I am a lover of life, of the beauty of nature, an environmentalist and a dreamer.  I live on the beautiful West Coast of Canada, on Vancouver Island. What makes me “me”? Dementia? Crazy hair? The answer is having survived 65 years of living. My life has been the usual mix of difficulty, challenge, struggle, loss and a few enormous leaps into radiance and blessing. The blue sky and my love for the beauty of this world has gotten me through the rough patches. Cackling accompanies me through everything. I look back at how I started out, all that happened in between, and am amazed to simultaneously see both how far I’ve come and also that I basically have returned to my authentic self.  That circular process seems to take a lifetime for some of us late bloomers. One of the things I most admire in humans is our ability to transcend our circumstances with grace and humor and, thus, help others. I feel like I have burned off  enough karma in this life, that the next one should be easier. (It just sucks about global warming, hee hee!)

You have a favorite quote you say you live by: "We live in hope!"  Why do these words resonate so strongly within you?

It is a quote a friend of mine said often, back in my coffeehouse days in the 80’s, and I adopted it. Because of all the struggle, and my stubborn refusal to be anything but positive, I have lived my life with an unusual amount of hope, hope that things will get better – and they always do.

I like writing late at night. Is there a special time or place for you, where words flow more easily, where inspiration is a brighter light?

 Now that I am older, I find my brain doesn’t work the way it once did. I mourn that I no longer create inspired lyrical poems like I used to. My current work doesn’t have the same flow. However, I am simply grateful to be writing at all, and the reason I am is the community of online poets, which has given me the creative community I lack where I live. It blows my mind that people are reading and encouraging my writing, and that is a very great blessing in my life. I work best in the morning, when all is quiet. But occasionally fragments come to me at other times too.

What does music mean to you?

 I was born and raised in music. My dad was a musician, and so it is the music of the 40’s that really speaks to me, though I like many types of music, from classical, to world beat, to pop, to jazz. Music is inside me, though, oddly, I never learned an instrument. I would love to play classical violin and I suspect that’s not going to happen. But when I hear live music, inside, I am playing. For much of my life, I sang, but now I croak. Sigh. And I beat a mean conga drum!

What is the message you would like the world to hear from your heart?

 I love this question so much! I have a deep belief – or hope? – that good will ultimately triumph over evil, light over darkness. I believe humanity has the capability of creating the world that way it was meant to be: with resources and equity for all. I believe the transformation of consciousness, light against dark, is trying to happen right now, globally,  and, if we can just make that shift, and the greedy multinationals lose their death-grip on the planet, we’ll be on our way to peace and plenty. However, the other side of that, if it doesn’t happen, is if everything collapses, humankind will have to go back to square one. If that happens, I hope the next humans do a better job than we have of living on this earth.

You have interviewed many writers. What have you learned from them?

 That every single person has an extremely interesting story. Real life is more interesting than fiction, by far, and often is more “unbelievable” than anything we can make up. And it is the spirit in each person – the light that is theirs alone to shine – that draws me to them. That spark of life and hope and dreams that draws us ever forward, even through the swampy patches.

What books have you written or have been published in?

Hmmm......I wrote a book about my son’s and my journey through his illness. (He was stricken with schizophrenia when he was seventeen, and we took an amazing journey over the next two decades.) But it needs an edit and to be submitted, and I grow weary at the thought of doing what is needed to make that happen. It’s on the To Do list. In the 90’s, when I lived in Tofino, a lot of my poetry was published in a magazine we had there, called The Sound. I was invited to write for a West Coast anthology called Writing the West Coast: In Love With Place, and my Love Song to Clayoquot Sound appeared in it, which made me very happy. I did once submit to and had a piece accepted by Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul. I also have pieces in the Poets United anthology and Annell Livingston’s Red Shoes Project, as well as Risking For Change: Stories of Ordinary People. My problem is, I never submit my work anywhere, I prefer just writing. And now that I have people reading my work, I am more than happy with that, though I do want to do three chapbooks this winter: the Soul Card series, the Wild Woman series, and a book of my poems about my beloved wolf-pup, Pup, who died last January. Takes a lot of work though. It is daunting.

                                                                                                                                  Soul Card

What websites of yours would you like us to direct readers too?

I would like to thank you for this interview, and I also thank all of my readers, each one of whom means more to me than they can ever imagine. They have changed my life so much for the better, and they keep me writing, no small gift.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Writer's Block

A wasp rises to its papery
Nest under the eaves
Where it daubs
At the gray shape
Seems unable
To enter its own house

~Jane Kenyon

* photo from:

Do you have any exercises you use, when feeling blocked?  Words won't come, your muse doesn't want to play, and you feel void of creativity.  I am rarely uninspired or short of ideas, for me picking up a book and glancing through will jar a memory.  I will jot down some lines about the thought or words that I was attracted to.  Today, I feel like the tide is extremely low and a fog bank has settled over my harbor. I wondered what do You do, when this happens?  Maybe it doesn't... but you must have ways to entice your voice to come through.  I glanced at this book on Amazon,"The Poets Companion" by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux.  They don't believe in Writer's Block; they believe we are empty or full and listed some creative exercises to try for help.  I will share a few:

Write what is in your view, even if it your hands or feet.
Write about not writing
Keep a journal
Look out your window write about what you see or don't see
Go to a busy place, be around people write down what you see, hear, etc.
Go for a walk, movement helps your muse

Today's exercise is to share what has helped you; please leave a comment and tell us what worked for you~