Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Tuesday Platform: NaPoWriMo Eve

Toronto Music Garden Park Stage

It's the last day of March, and here in my part of the world, Spring seems finally to have shown herself. Appropriately--no time for resting, now--we Toads are getting ready for a Spring marathon. April is National Poetry Month, and we will be offering daily prompts, as well as support and encouragement, for anyone who wants to play along by writing 30 poems in 30 days. Yippee!

So, please feel free to link up a poem of your choice today for the Tuesday Platform, NaPoWriMo-Eve Style. And then come back tomorrow and throughout April to join in the chaos. Please don’t neglect to visit other Tuesday Platform participants this week; as you know, it can be the feedback from and interaction with our fellow writers that keeps us going.

2015 National Poetry Month poster, designed by Roz Chast, featuring a line of poetry from Mark Strand's "Eating Poetry"

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sunday Mini Challenge - not a sestina but close

My own picture.

One of the first challenges I ever tried when blogging was to try a sestina. Somehow I believed that the harder a challenge is the better the poet I would be (which I realize it is not). However I did love how it is constructed from mathematical principles. Where the last words are allowed to rotate in an intricate order.

The sestina is as you all know based on repeating the end words according to a specific pattern, that follow an intricate spiral repetition.

I soon realized that sestina are both hard to read (with a few exceptions) and I still wanted to keep it shorter and yet both more readable and writable. Therefore I wanted to carry it through as a less challenging (shorter) form, where the writer is challenged by the repetitiveness of the last words and still create a new unique sense in each line. I started searching and found the triquina that have been featured here before, and searched for the quartina, and found examples that is basically expanding the triquina's simple cycle of words.

I wanted something different that was a "downscaled sestina", and after some thinking I got this way of using the end words instead:

So as you see it has the same repetition as the sestina where the end words are the same in consecutive stanzas.  The poems will turn out to be 18 line poems which is much more manageable than the 39 lines of a sestina. I have tried different meter, but frankly I think it works much better with free verse, so I challenge you to write something really good her.

For anyone not yet familiar with writing the sestina it use the end-words to create the effect. The choice of end-words is not unimportant. A word with different meaning and same pronunciation makes the creation easier. 

Take for example the word fair that can be a noun, adjective or adverb, to that we can add the the use of compound words like unfair and the homonym fare that can be a noun and a verb. As I have not found this form anywhere else I can only share a mediocre poem of my own:


we’re hunting constantly on overdrive
while we ignore that it’s becoming worse
ignoring truth and hail the one who lied
the one who whispers with a vacant face
the climate change, a truth we cannot face
we prefer the ignorance and be belied
so we can burn the gasoline to drive
while for the polar-bears it now is worse
but though it will for humanity be worse
there’s always reasons for a faster drive
then one day we shall our children face
and tell them that “I knew the truth and lied
my comfort was important when I lied
and when I die it’s you who have to face
the earth’s destroyed by me, for you it’s worse
so join me on this hearse for final drive
down the mountain-face we together drive
when cheering and belied it can’t be worse

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

....An Old Man's Fancy

"When its spring time in Alaska... it's 40 below" or so the song says.  Many of my awesome Toad friends have been feeling the pain this year, waiting for a  lily pad to unfreeze, forearms the size of tree trunks after shoveling so much snow. Waiting and wishing for any day above 30 degrees so that they can take off a layer or two and show off that hot bod born from what a only a hard winter can create.

Herotomost at your service, and while here in in Sunny Phoenix, Arizona, I have no knowledge of these winter trials and tribulations (and I know that some like Kerry have just the opposite this time of year) I want to do what I can to help the rest ease into what I am sure is going to be one of the most anticipated springs in some time.  Hedge is already planting, that's a good sign.

So, for my challenge this week I want you to find a comfortable, quiet spot, tune out the rest of the world, close your eyes and let it all hang out.  I want you to visualize what it is that you might do on your perfect spring day given the time and the inclination. Who would you be hanging with if anyone?  Would you be walking, fishing, picnicking with that special someone? Imagine breathing in the sweet smell of citrus blossoms, wisteria, or whatever smell you associate with springtime.  Maybe you would be planting your garden. Don't pick up your pen until you can fully realize the scenario, relax a bit (you look fabulous in those yoga pants) and when you are ready, write me something that doesn't just describe spring.  We all know how wonderful that is, write yourself into spring, give me that feeling that you get.  Show me why I should be hanging with you on that one awesome day (there goes the relaxation...lol, I swear not to show up).

As always, form and format are of no consequence on a perfect day like this.  You can write, draw, make me a marble sculpture, produce a broken tile mosaic.  It is totally up to you. And as always, if this prompt does not suit your fancy (cuz in the springtime a young mans fancy turns to thoughts of love...and for us old men, it turns to thoughts of lust and sometimes food) please write whatever you would like or skip it and just enjoy your perfect spring day without worrying about writing a single word.

I love you all and Happy Spring!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Da Poetry Lounge, Los Angeles (2011)
Photographer Unknown

“My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.” ― John Lennon

A warm greeting to all poets and friends! You are most welcome to join our platform. Please share a poem of your choice, and stay awhile to enjoy the work of fellow poets in this gathering place where your passion for the written word is appreciated by all who stop by.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Play it Again, Toads! #15

A unique beer stein
Welcome to the 15th "Play it Again, Toads!" where we revisit archived challenges of this amazing Imaginary Garden.   Choose your own from the archives on the sidebar (2011-2015) or select from three I've highlighted below.  

You may use my i-phone photography I offer here - if so, please use the photo with an archived challenge. Click on any image to enlarge and see them more clearly.  These images are from The Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, FL - originally one of Henry Flagler's majestic hotels, The Alcazar, and it had everything the rich could desire… a russian bath, spa, state of the art work out facility, casino, movie theatre, and the largest indoor pool in the world with retractable roof when it was built in 1888, among other things.  In 1948, it was purchased by Chicago publisher Otto C. Lightner to house his … collection.  

This video does a great job with its history.  Enjoy.

Original poems only and link your specific post to Mr. Linky below.  Please make it clear which challenge you are resurrecting by including a link.  Sharing poetry and commenting on the other poetic endeavors is what makes this a fun place to be.  So please don't forget to return a few times and visit and enjoy what is created here.

"Girl on a Twig Seat" Carrara Marble, Pietro Lazzerini  Italinan 1900
"Woman in Garden" colored & leaded glass, American late 19th century
Hosted 1925 woman's swimming championship, featuring Gertrude Ederle
Detail of statue
Petrified Wood

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bits Of Inspiration ~ Spoems

Hello poets! Today we are going to dip into our e-mails and find the poetry in spam. Instead of grinding your teeth and hitting the delete button I want you to dig deep in your well of inspiration and pull verses from annoying. Shoot you might even choose your least favorite poetry form and put a spam spin on it.

Here are a few subject lines from my unwanted correspondence. 

The Gunshine State
Your Matches Are Waiting 
Celebrate Being Halfway
We Can Almost Hear The Easter Bunny
She Blinded Me With Science
Today's Maker Moment
Pink Ribbon Fleece
No Exam Required
Red Rocks Exclusive

There is even an institute for the preservation of Spam Poetry.

So poets choose from my selection of subject lines or your own waiting in your mailbox to craft your spoems. Be it humor or rant please write an original piece for the challenge, place it in Mr. Linky and visit your fellow word artisans to read what spam inspired them to write. 

(You can stick to the spoem definition in creating your poem, mix subject lines together, add your own words, etc. The creative door is wide open.)

spoem (ˈspəʊɪm) 



  1. a poem made up entirely from the subject lines of different spam emails
  2. a random sequence of words in the subject line of a spam email, generated to fool spam filters

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

Welcome to The Tuesday Platform!

Hey, Toads and Friends, Tuesday means open mic time in the Imaginary Garden. And you don’t even have to sign up, just link up! Here we are, your built-in audience.

Please link up a poem of your choice, and take some time during the week to visit others who have shared their poems. Hurrah! We look forward to reading your poetry.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Weekend Mini-Challenge - Poeticizing Out

Hey Toads. 

Karin Gustafson, a/k/a Manicddaily (also a/k/a Outlawyer on blogger) here, and I am asking you out. 

The prompt, should you choose to accept it, is to write something inspired by a breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, coffee, snack eaten out, at the local diner, cafe, restaurant, fast food joint, even, if you wish, camp site.  

I mean this prompt to be as broad as a glass door held open by a very polite person--(you will note that in my own politeness, I make no reference to tall stacks, wideness, and hips.)  You should feel free to write from the perspective of diner, server, cook, table, plate, pancake.  If you want to write with a forked tongue, in other words, go ahead!  If you want to just go sit in a cafe and write whatever comes to mind, that's okay too.  (Just, maybe, smear some ketchup on your screen.)  

I mainly want you to have fun (or be deadly serious) with this prompt, but I also chose it because I had some old photos and pics that seemed to go with it.  These are intended primarily to be thought-provoking, with no mandate to use, but please do feel free to use one if you wish (with proper attribution.)   (The top one is a pencil sketch I drew on a restaurant paper tablecloth--yes, the service was a bit slow, and yes, I left it there.)  

In the spirit of adventuring together, please try to write something new.  Also, please drop by for a drink, bite, read, at the spots of your fellow bloggers!

 I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Finally, finally, I want to write a very brief word about my personal icon, Terry Pratchett, who died this week.  I almost changed this prompt to be about him, but that seemed unfair since I know many of you were probably not lucky enough to have lived with his books in print and on tape for years and years, nearly 24/7--also, I honestly felt too sad about his death to think of a timely prompt.  I did want to mention a couple of quotes of his. They are not necessarily my favorites, as not particularly funny--yet good ones to remember I think----"evil begins when you begin to treat people as things," and "so much universe, so little time,"  Thanks. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Long History of Failed Kisses - Out of Standard

Greetings Garden Dwellers!
Welcome back to Out of Standard, where I will call upon you to write out of the standard and find new places in the everyday. It is in that spirit in which I present March’s challenge...

A Long History of Failed Kisses
 Today, my muddy buddies, we’ll defy conventions by looking to an overlooked source of inspiration….modern day stand-up comedy. When done well, a good comedy routine has all the same elements of a good poem: rhythm, drama, pacing, tone, delivery, and syntax.

The Challenge 
Enjoy the clip posted below from master storyteller/comedian Mike Birbiglia and write a poem inspired by his words or by the rhythm/pacing/structure of his delivery.

KEEP IN MIND Like every challenge, your poem must by newly written for this challenge and not one which you have previously written which conveniently fits the theme. So go now and bring us back something shiny and new.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Tuesday Platform

The Playhouse, Durban, South Africa

“Theatres are curious places, magician's trick-boxes where the golden memories of dramatic triumphs linger like nostalgic ghosts, and where the unexplainable, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic and the absurd are routine occurrences on and off the stage.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly (Goodreads.com)

Greetings to all poets and friends who have made their way to the Imaginary Garden on this Tuesday. The theatre I have feeatured today is one I frequently attended as a child growing up in Durban, South Africa. The magical atmosphere had much to do with my lifelong love of performance, stories and song. Perhaps, it is also the reason why I take great joy in welcoming you to our virtual stage, this platform for your poetry performance. Please join us by linking up a poem of your choice, and stay a while to read the work of the poets whose names are linked here alongside your own.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sunday's Mini-challenge: Wole Soyinka

Hi everyone ~  I am continuing my featured poet series with another Nobel Prize winner in Literature (1986), Wole Soyinka.  

Wole Soyinka was born Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka in Abeokuta, Nigeria on July 13, 1934. The son of a canon in the Anglican Church, Soyinka grew up in an Anglican mission compound in Aké. However, his parents were careful to balance this colonial, English-speaking environment with regular visits to his father's ancestral home in Isara. He would later chronicle these years in his autobiographical work, Aké: The Years of Childhood (1981) as well as in Isara, a Voyage Around "Essay" (1989).

Soyinka attended the University of Ibadan (1952-54) before earning a BA in English from the University of Leeds. From 1957 to 1959, he served as a script-reader, actor and director at the Royal Court Theatre, London, and while there, developed three experimental pieces with a company of actors he had brought together. Although African writers have traditionally viewed English, French, and other European languages as the tongue of the colonial power, the tool of stigma and imperialism, Soyinka made the decision to write in English in order to gain access to an international audience.

In 1960, Soyinka returned to Nigeria and founded the 1960 Masks, a theatre company that would present his first major play, A Dance of the Forests, in which the spirit world and the living world clash over the future of a half-born child. Although A Dance of the Forests exhibits a fairly serious tone, much of Soyinka's early work satirized the absurdities of his society with a gently humorous and affectionate spirit. As the struggle for independence in his country turned sour, however, Soyinka's work began to take on a darker tone.

In October of 1965, Soyinka was arrested for allegedly seizing the Western Region radio studios and making a political broadcast disputing the published results of the recent elections. In December of that same year, he was acquitted. He then served as director of the Drama School of Ibadan University in Nigeria until 1967, when he was arrested for writings sympathetic to secessionist Biafra. This time, he was imprisoned for twenty-two months. In Madmen and Specialists (1970), written shortly after his release from prison, Soyinka's protest grows much more powerful, perhaps as much a tribute to the playwright's suffering as to his growth as an artist. Madmen and Specialists dramatizes what the NEW YORK TIMES calls, "a police state in which only madmen and spies can survive, in which the losers are mad and the winners are paranoid about the possibility of another rebellion." In another powerful piece, Death and the King's Horseman (1975), the Elesin--chief minister to the dead King--fails to properly exercise his act of ritual suicide, thus jeopardizing the delicate and mystical balance between the dead, the living, and the unborn.

Soyinka's other plays include Kongi's Harvest (1967), The Lion and the Jewel (1964), The Trials of Brother Jero (1964), The Bacchae of Euripides (1973), Opera Wonyosi (1977), A Play of Giants (1985), Requiem for a Futurologist (1985) and Beautification of Area Boy (1994). He is also known for his novels, autobiographical works, poetry, and criticism, and in 1986, he became the first African writer ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Your hand is heavy, Night, upon my brow.
I bear no heart mercuric like the clouds,
to dare.
Exacerbation from your subtle plough.
Woman as a clam, on the sea's cresent.
I saw your jealous eye quench the sea's
Flouorescence, dance on the pulse incessant
Of the waves. And I stood, drained
Submitting like the sands, blood and brine
Coursing to the roots. Night, you rained
Serrated shadows through dank leaves
Till, bathed in warm suffusion of your dappled cells
Sensations pained me, faceless, silent as night thieves.
Hide me now, when night children haunt the earth
I must hear none! These misted cells will yet
Undo me; naked, unbidden, at Night's muted birth.

Fado Singer for Amalia Roderinguez

My skin is pemiced to fault 
I am down to hair-roots, down to fibre filters 
Of the raw tobacco nerve

Your net is spun of sitar strings
To hold the griefs of gods: I wander long
In tear vaults of the sublime

Queen of night torments, you strain
Sutures of song to bear imposition of the rites
Of living and of death. You

Pluck strange dirges from the storm
Sift rare stones from ashes of the moon, and rise
Night errands to the throne of anguish

Oh there is too much crush of petals
For perfume, too heavy tread of air on mothwing
For a cup of rainbow dust

Too much pain, oh midwife at the cry
Of severance, fingers at the cosmic cord, too vast
The pains of easters for a hint of the eternal.

I would be free of your tyranny, free
From sudden plunges of the flesh in earthquake
Beyond all subsidence of sense

I would be free from headlong rides
In rock seams and volcanic veins, drawn by dark steeds
On grey melodic reins.

Please read more of his poems here.

Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem in response to Wole Soyinka's words. Some examples of responses include affirming what the speaker said or using his title or line of verse as a jumping board for your own writing.  I look forward to reading your work ~ Happy weekend to all ~ Grace (aka Heaven)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Artistic Interpretations with Margaret "-- " Art with Toril

Toril & Tully Collaboration "Beety Babies" 24 x 36
Welcome to "Artistic Interpretations".  A year ago I introduced you to the art work of my dear friend, Toril Fisher.  Toril studied painting and metals at the University of Wisconsin-Madisoin and completed her BFA at Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State.  She currently resides in LaFarge, Wisconsin and manages a small farm, Second Cloud on the Left Farm, with her husband Drew and her parents.  The farm specializes in growing all heirloom, endangered, and rare varieties of produce.

Most of these paintings along with many others will be available for pre-sale one week before their showing at the Driftless Cafe between Mother's Day and Father's Day and possibly a juried art show at the Driftless Art Festival in Soldier's Grove, WI, on September 19 - 20.  If you would like your name added to a pre-show list, please email the artist at torilart@gmail.com.  Prints will be made of a few paintings.

Toril will also be the featured artist of the month for October 2015 at the Viva Art Gallery.

The images are not to be cropped or changed in any way and proper credit due the artist.  I prefer all poems be freshly penned, however, if you have a previous effort that is screaming for a re-write, please feel free to do so AND if you have one you would like to be represented by one of these images, I will allow that as well - because I just broke the rule so now I must allow it for others :)  But, with this said, I do think these images are worthy of new poetry as they are quite inspiring.  

Please link specific post to "Mr. Linky" below and feel free to write to more than one image.  "The Tuesday Platform" is available in the Imaginary Garden if you need extra time - but be sure to link it here as well.  I will soon be taking a week long blogger break, but I will pop in to visit and read your artistic interpretations.

Toril "Baby Blues" 12 x 30
Toril "California Poppy Glow" 20 x 24 
Toril & Tully "Carrot-eristics" 24 x 36
Toril "Old Friends" 20 x 20
Toril "Smells Like Rain" 12 x 24
Toril "The Emperor's New Sweater" 18 x 18
Toril "Wanna Play" 12 x 24
Toril "Wisdom of the Seeds" 24 x 36
Toril "Run With Me" 18 x 24
Tully & Toril Collaboration "Garlicscape"
Tully & Toril Collaboration "Four Good Eggs"

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Tuesday Platform: Stay Weird Edition

I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise you do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message along.  
-- Graham Moore, accepting the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, February 22, 2015
Welcome to the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden. The Real Toads do not proffer trophies, but we have created a safe space for all to share our poems and to feel safe in being exactly who you--WE--are. Fly your freak flag, friends. Pass it on.

Please link up a poem of your choice and visit others during the week. We all put ourselves out there--sometimes way out there--and sharing and exposing oneself can be difficult. Comments and support help with that feeling of vulnerability, or of being all alone. Share the love!