ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED!  Thank you all for your support.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "Clay of Life."  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.

Today is the last day of Pesach (Passover). Pesach Sameach  to my Jewish fans!   This fishbowl will remain open until after sunset, for anyone who's observing the offline rule during Pesach.  (I usually close it during the wee hours of the morning.)

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 "Clay of Life."  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.

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.

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 "Clay of Life."  I'll be soliciting ideas for Menachem, Yossele, other Jewish characters, figures from Jewish folklore, outcasts, the misunderstood, fish out of water, abuse survivors, refugees, hermits, others on the fringes of society, wandering, hiding, helping each other, expecting the unexpected, speaking heritage languages, surviving oppression, upstanding, speaking truth to power, punching up, synagogues, Jewish homes, famous Jewish places, cities, classrooms, offices, Pesach / Passover, other Jewish holidays, Jewish customs, self-sacrifice, disruptions, poorskills, humility, humiliation, appreciation, debate, the Torah, 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.  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 06:11 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
"My children have defeated me, My children have defeated me!"

A hermit who likes it that way.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 06:19 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Yossele and Menachem have a discussion, in their own inimitable way, about freedom.

Keeping at least nominally kosher when poor.

Her Dishonour the British PM has called a snap election. Now is the time for upstanding and Belling the Cat

This isn't so much a prompt as an observation, but if you find something inspiring, run with it... a good friend and activist is Jewish... but kosher-keeping among Jews is as varied as the stars in the Universe. My particular friend keeps as kosher as sanity will allow during Pesach...

wait for it...


(And being as she cooks both Kosher and ... not... she is one of the *best* cooks I know. :9 )

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 06:40 pm (UTC)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
Can you keep this open a little later? Orthodox (and Conservative) Jews outside Israel aren't supposed to get online till after sundown tonight. (Hawaii is GMT -10)
Edited (Clarification ) Date: 2017-04-18 06:45 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 07:38 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Golems are made of clay, but clay makes porcelain. Golems are usually shown as huge and with great strength, because in literature the first of them was built as a warrior, a protector to defend... but what if one was created as a companion? And what might become of an immortal golem once they have out-lived the person they were created for, and society has no use for them?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 09:50 pm (UTC)
serpentine: (Default)
From: [personal profile] serpentine
The food associated with hospitality

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-18 10:03 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Horrible pun: Pyg(gy-bank)malion.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-19 03:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Prompt the first, drawn from a reference made in a previous poem: The travelers encounter Ladino speakers again. Maybe one or the other picks up a word or two in the language, either in the speaking of or, in the golem's case, the unspoken but clear understanding of?

Prompt the second, drawn from the same source: Someone else the travelers meet along the road speaks a minority language known in the worldwide Jewish community as a first language, though maybe they've got a fluent second and avoid confusion that way. Amharic? Possibly Arabic from Algeria or Egypt?

Re: Poem

Date: 2017-04-19 02:57 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Ooooh! I did not know that!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-19 05:40 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline


Where do fish out of water swim?

What do different types of clay bring to the potter's wheel?

Which poorskills cost the most and/or save the most (of something - e.g. time, energy, money, clothes, nature, leftovers, - maybe even people, love, community) and why?


LIFC: What does Steve do with the stuff Bucky retrieves, including Dr. Erskine's things, in LIFC?

PH: Is there a Jewish component to the congregation at the interfaith center helping Turq?

Any: A family functioning well despite growing religious differences (maybe someone converted one way or another) and the difficulties that brings.


When I was in Spain I visited some beautiful old cities with historic Jewish quarters going back many centuries. The azulejos, or blue tiles, were a striking element of cities that combined Jewish, Islamic, and Christian architecture.

Incredibly narrow streets with stairs and/or archways, as in this alleyway in Girona, also made an impression on me.

The Castell de Montjuic is both a major landmark and a place to get a major view in Barcelona. This picture. While it isn't anyone I know, this picture of a diverse group of young student friends reminded me of traveling and learning there. Of note as sensory cues for the area might be the dry tan stones, the clayey slippery paths through the lower areas of the park blending into the urban landscape, the windy heights of the castell, and the vivid purplish blue of the small, starry morning glories that grow wild up there.

More Info:

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-19 03:02 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
PRETTY tiles.

And you paint a vivid picture of the castell even without the camera.... :)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-21 06:17 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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