CALLIOPE'S CLOSET




Ideas to Rummage Through While You 
Wait for the Muse

Calliope, Muse of Eloquence

You fail only if you stop writing.
 —Ray Bradbury


Some ways to jump-start your writing:

•••Medusa's Seed of the Week: Every Tuesday we offer a idea to get your writing started, and there are also NEWS-SOWS on the green board which change regularly, like the news. See below for past SOWs and Forms—or make up your own list or package of clippings for a rainy day. Or make a list of prompts to exchange with a poetry friend. And don't be shy about sending Medusa your SOW ideas! (See also medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/workshops_12.html and scroll down to "Prompts" for other sources of seeds.)
•••Make yourself a list of possible first and last lines of a poem.
•••Start a journal of visuals: photos, cartoons, graphics that might inspire a poem someday.
•••See if you can "find" a poem in the newspaper, a magazine, TV, etc.: snippets of this and that which seem to fit together.
•••Write a poem using one of the senses that you always seem to forget to include in your poetry.
•••Base a poem on a color: yellow? gold? silver? Or an animal, or an emotion, or... well, you get it. Hey—how about Medusa's Word of the Day?
•••Read, read, read, in print or on the 'Net. Other poets can be great inspiration—either good poets or bad ones! Build on their ideas; contradict them; let them be some sort of springboard. And the same goes for attending readings. Take advantage of all the poetry in our community to tickle your own Muse!
•••Consider a workshop (see our "Workshops/Retreats" page or watch our calendar), either on-going or a single event, formal or just a group of friends. If you can't find one you like, start one!—even with friends on the 'Net.
•••Check out:
     •languageisavirus.com for writing tidbits and treats;
     •
and more goodies at ticket2write.tripod.com
     Guardian: www.guardian.co.uk/books/poetry
•••Splurge and buy yourself the world's best thesaurus: Roget's Int'l Thesaurus from HarperCollins, ed. by Barbara Ann Kipfer; Rbt. L. Chapman, Consulting Ed. ISBN 0-06-018575-9. Or maybe ask Santa... Just leafing through a thesaurus, or looking at all the many synonyms for any word, is wonderful inspiration!
•••Poets' Forum Magazine: No website, but a picture of a cover (note local poets' names you might recognize) on www.flickr.com/photos/30268343@N00/4077393152. This print magazine, edited by Madelyn Eastlund in Florida, has been going on for many years, and it's devoted mostly to poetry "triggers". Write to Madelyn at P.O. Box 640387, Beverly Hills, FL 34464 and order a copy or subscription.
•••Medusa's Forms to Fiddle With: Get your blood pumping by trying a poetry form of some sort! There are those who think forms are archaic; still, they make great exercise—kind of like push-ups—even if you never publish any of them. They tune your ear to the shape and music of poetry. Here are some references to get you thinking, either with descriptions of forms and/or examples of them. The first is for kids and is kind of fun:
     abcteach.com/directory/basics/writing/poetry
     www.google.com/cse?cx=partner-pub-7815076224920535%3Agrtd7b5x6e8& amp;ie=UTF-8&q=acrostic&sa=Searchampsiteurl=www.boloji.com%2F
     thewordshop.tripod.com/forms.html
     www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/197
     www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/types.html
     www.poetry-online.org/poetry-terms.htm
     www.elfwood.com/farp/thewriting/27brianforms/27brianforms.html
     www.poeticbyway.com/glossary.html
     janhaag.com/PODesIntro.html

There are many print books, too, including Lewis Turco's The New Book of Forms (he also has a cool website at www.lewisturco.net) and The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms, ed. by Ron Padgett. See more about what Medusa thinks about forms at blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=13262320#editor/target=page;pageID=2956225716980947094


__________________

Past Medusa SOWs: It's Never Too Late to Have At 'Em!

PHOTOS/ART:

abandoned stairs by Robin Gale Odam
abandoned barn
sketch of person in hammock by Steph Schaefer
“tired dog” photo from Steve Williams
eggs in nest
electric egg beater
empty nest
playhouse
keys on a ring
fire-watch station in the mountains
hat hanging on hatrack
acorn
sand castle
magic lantern
lighthouse
ice/heart/fire
knot
target
leaky boat
park bench by D.R. Wagner
steps by Janet Pantoja
Magritte's Les Amants (The Lovers) 
Statue of Liberty w/fireworks


PAST SOW TOPICS:

Abandonment
A car passes on a rainy street...
A Day Late, A Dollar Short
According to Science
Afraid of Sunflowers
After Labor Day
After Midnight
After the Fire
After the Rain
Air We Breathe, The
All Five Senses
All I Want For Christmas...
All Those Books
A New Day
Apples
A Shadow of Dread
A Burst of Crows
Amber Mornings
Angels
Antebellum Ladies' Nudist Society, The
April
Are We Going the Way of the Rapa Nui?
Are We There Yet?
Art of Losing, The
Art of Swimming, The
At the Bus Stop
At the Fair
At the Movies
At the Pawnshop
Autumn
Autumn/crows
Autumn Leaves
Autumn Sounds
Babies
Bacon and Eggs
Beachin'
Back to Work
Beauty in Unexpected Places
Before We Had Air-conditioning...
Behind Closed Doors
Best Friends
Best Gears of my Life
Best Gifts, The
Best Job Ever, The
Beyond the Trappings
Birds and the Bees, The
Birdsong
Birthdays
Birthplace Revisited
Blessings of the Season
Blood Moon
Blue
Blue Silk
Bravery Is...
Bridges
Broken Promises
Bubbles
Bus Ride to Hell
Buttons
By the Sea
Call It Sorrow
Candlelight
Cats
Caught by Surprise
Challenges of Breeding, The
Chaos
Cherry Blossom Time
Chocolate and Other Addictions
Circus
Cleaning Out My Closet
Cliffhangers
Cobwebs
Cobwebs and Candlewax
Coffee and Doughnuts
Colors of Autumn
Coming Home
Consulting the Oracle
Cool Mountain Lakes
Cosmic Kerfuffles
County Fair
Curious Journeys
Dad
Dads
Daffodils
Danger! Explosives!
Dark Moments
Dark Shadows
Dear Diary
December
Deep in the Woods
Desert
Detours
Devils That Chase Us
Discoveries
Dogs
Down in the Cellar
Down the Cellar Stairs
Down the Drain
Dragon's Breath
Dream of Being Elsewhere, The
Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde
Eagle's Cry, The
Early in the Morning
Edge of Night, The
Eggs
Empty Boxes
Empty Nests
Empty Room
Endangered Species
End of Summer Dreams
Enough
Everyday Daemons
Expeditions
Experiments That Failed
Exploding Paint Cans
Eyes
Fair Winds and Following Seas
Falling
Family Album
Family Dinners
Fathers
Feathers
Finally, Spring
Fire!
First Rain
Firsts
Fish Pond in Moonlight
Fishing
Fleeting Moments
Flowers in the Trash
Flowers Were Delivered To Me Today
Flying
Food
Freedom
Friendship
Friends Who've Lost Touch
Frontiers
Fruits of the Earth
Frustration
Games
Ghosts
Gifts
Gratitude
Great Escape
Green 
Guardian Angels
Halloween
Ham-of-the-Month Club
Happy Holidays?
Hats
Heart Once Broken
Home Cookin'
House of Cards
How We Met
I Burned My Life
Ice
If I could have just one thing...
If I could write a poem...
Indiscreet
In My Dream
In the Back of the Closet...
In the Flower Shoppe
In the hollow of night
In This Brutal Heat...
Invisible
I Remember Rain
I saw in the news...
It All Started…
Jack Frost
Jelly Beans
Junk Shop
Keepsakes
Key, The
Kindness
Laces of Fog
La Golondrina
Language of Stones, The
Leaves of Change
Letter You’ll Never Send
Libraries
Light
Like a bad movie...
Like an Addiction
Local Landscapes
Locks
Loneliness
Lost
Lost Hour, The
Love
Love Week
Masks
Masks and Other Guises
Mementoes
Memories I Can't Shake
Mermaids
Message in a Bottle
Midnight
Midnight at the Oasis
Mom
Moms
Money
Monsters
Moon Gardens
More Than He Could Chew
Morning After the Night Before
Mountains and Molehills
Movin' On
Murmurous
Museum of My Life
My Autobiography
My Camera Sees...
My Favorite Fish
My Favorite Painkiller
My Favorite Shirt
My Favorite Sin
My Favorite Sport
My Life as a Poet
My Misspent Youth
My Mother's Voice
My Secret Garden
Mysteries of December
Mysteries of Spring
My Tackle Box
My Three Follies
My Very First Broken Heart
Naked Truth, The
Nesting
New Beginnings
New Shoes
New Soil
Night is a Cup of Evil, The
Night Sounds
No Tell Mo-Tel
November Treasures
Obsessions, Sweet and Otherwise
Odyssey
Off the Beaten Path
Oh, Those Appetites!
Old Anguish, The
Old Shoes
One That Got Away
On the Road
On This Planet of Ours...
One Square Inch of Silence
One Step Ahead of the Sheriff
Open Doors
Opening the Window
Our Feathered Friends
Out of the Ashes
Out of Your Rut (Experimental)
Overwhelmed
Pals
Parades
Pawnshop
Payday
Perfect Storm, The
Poems of the [Holiday] Season
Poem Starting With a Mustard Colored Car
Poetry of the Overlooked
Poet's Tools, A
Politics
Poppies, Robins, and Other Signs of Spring
Porches
Quilt
Railroad Tracks
Rain
Rainbows
Red
Renewal: Solvings, Turnings, Wakings
Rescue 
RHS (Restless Heart Syndrome)
Rivers of Doubt
Roots
Roses in the Snow
Santa Cruz
Scents
Scrapbook
Sea-Dreaming
Secret Admirer
Second Chances
Secret Gardens & Other Enchanted Places
Secrets in the Attic
Seeds
Seedy Motels
Self-Deceptions
Self-Portrait
Seven Deadly Virtues
Sex
Shadows of September
Shadows on a Summer's Eve
Sheer Poetry
She's Nesting!
Shop 'Til You Drop
Shorter Days, Longer Nights
Siblings
Signs of Spring
Silence
Sisyphus
Six More Weeks of Winter
Skydiving Without a Parachute
Skyward
Sleep
Sleepless Nights
Slow Dawns and Early Sunsets
Small Joys
Something Like Contentment
Songs of the City
Sorcery
Sounds of Children, The
Speed Dating
Spells
Spring Fever
Squid
Still Water
Stolen Days
Strangers on a Train
Stuck
Sudden Heat
Summer's End
Sun
Sure Signs of Spring
Surprise
Sweet Dreams
Telephone Rang, The
Thanksgiving
That Big Bear of a Man
That Special Gift
That Woman Selling Carnations
These Fragile Young
Things I Can't Stand
Things I Have Forgotten
Things We Keep, Things We Leave Behind
Things We’re Afraid to Write About
Things Without Names
This Fragile Earth
This Hallowed Earth
This Infernal Heat
This is Me...
This Murky Pond
Those Infernal Machines
Through the Open Window...
Time
Tiny Moments of Great Joy
Tomorrow
Topsy-Turvy
Toy Box, The
Traces
Traps
Trash to Treasure
Trees
Tricks, Treats and Treasures
Trikes and Bikes
Troll Who Lives Under My Desk, The
Trunk in the Attic, The
Tumble of Years, The
Turning of the Year, The
Turning the Key
Under the Boardwalk
Under the Mighty Oak
Unexpected Pleasures
Voyages
Wages of Sin
Waiting
Walking Through Walls
Walls
Watchers, The
Watch Where You Swim
Water
Waves
Wearing the Pants
Weather Report
Weeds
What a Circus!
Whatever Suits Your Pen
What My Camera Sees
What Remains
When Cats Disappear
When Dad and I...
When the Fog Lifts
When the Muse Draws a Blank...
Where the Wild Goose Goes
Where There's Smoke...
White Cat in the Alley
White Page of Silence
Why?
Wildfire
Wild Horses
Wild Winds and Cheeky Breezes
Wilted White Chrysanthemums
Windows
Windowshopping
Winds of Change
Wings
Winter in the Woods
Wishes
Witchcraft
Wolf at the Door
Woman With a Cat
Women
Wrong Decisions
Yellow


OTHER TYPES OF SOWs WE'VE DONE:

•Argument/debate/dueling poems: two poems w/contradictory ideas
•Poetic Left-overs (good ideas that didn’t quite fit into other poems)
•Poems in the form of questions
•Let us know what the subject is without actually naming it
•Mary Oliver quote: “Here you are—alive. Would you like to make a comment?”
•Condense a famous poem into an epigram/couplet
•Write a poem that has no adjectives
•Senyru by Sandoka: A lone figure/back turned/receding into the mist
•Tell a story using just six words


FORMS & OTHER TECHNIQUES WE'VE FIDDLED WITH (Google 'em up if you're unsure of how they're constructed; many of these come from thepoetsgarret.com; shadowpoetry.com; poets.org; www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides;
www.poetrybase.info/forms/menu.shtml;
thewordshop.tripod.com/forms.html; www.poeticbyway.com;www.poetrymagnumopus.com  Local poet/teacher Jan Haag has a long list of examples at janhaag.com/PODesIntro.html. See the list above for more resources.)

Alouette
Anaphora
Ars poetica
Aubade
Balassi Stanza
Bestiary
Brevee
Brevette
Cameo
Carpe Diem
Cascade
Catena Rondo
Cinquain
Clarihew
Decastich
Definition poem
Diatelle
Dizain
Elegy
English Quintain
Englyn Penfyr
Epistle
Epulaeryu
Essence
Etheree
Fib
Fibonacci
Five-line forms listed in The Poets Garret (thepoetsgarret.com)
Florette
“Found” poem
Free Verse
Glosa
"Google" ("found" poem, beginning each line with the same word)
Haiku
Idyl/Idyll
Imago (7/5/7/5/7/5/7/5, no rhyme)
Kerf
Kyrielle
Lanturne
Lira
Lune
Mirrored Refrain
Monorhyme
Monotetra
Musette
Naani
Nightsong
Nocturne
Nonet
Nove Otto
Occasional Poem (for special occasions)
Octelle
Octo
Oddquain
Ottava rima (rispetto)
Persona
Quatern
Quintains
Quintilla
Quinzaine
Rhyme/rime royal
Rondelet
Roundabout
Rubaiyat
Septolet
Sestina
Sextilla
Shadorma
Spenserian Stanza
Tableau
Tartoum
Terza Rima
Tetractys
TriCubes
Trijan Refrain 
Trimetric
Trinet
Triolet
Tritina
Trois-par-Huit
Tuanortsa
Tyburn
Villanelle


FORMS INVENTED BY OUR READERS:

•••"Linvillanelle": a poem in three parts that was devised by Cynthia Linville of Sacramento:
    
1) The lines in the first part are repeated in the next two parts, but in a (mostly) different order. Different punctuation and capitalization are also allowed.
    2) The last line of the first part becomes the first line of the second part, and the last line of the second part becomes the first line of the third part.
    3) The last two lines of the third part are comprised of the first line and the last line of the first part.
    See Medusa's 7/26/11 post for Cynthia's example.

•••Brigit Truex's "Floressence": a florette stanza followed by an essence; at least 2 of these alternations (although you could keep going as long as you want). 

Florette stanza: 3 8-syllable lines + 1 12-syllable line, rhymed aaba, with internal b rhyme at syllable 8 of the 4th line:
xxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxb
xxxxxxxbxxxa

Essence: 2 6-syllable lines end-rhyming (a), with an internal rhyme (b) somewhere in each line.

(Description by Taylor Graham. See Medusa's 6/25/12 post for examples.)


•••Unrhymed villanelle by Sacramento's Carol Frith: Write a villanelle without rhyming, just like the name says.

•••TriCube by Phillip Larrea: Each stanza is three lines, three syllables per line, any subject.