ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
For some months, the Science Fiction Poetry Association has been squabbling over the definition of speculative poetry, what qualifies as "speculative enough," and in a slightly overlapping discussion, the name of the organization and whether it should say something other than "science fiction." I and several other folks experienced in poetry and small organizations have pointed out that trying to force your pet definition on other people will consistently start arguments and frequently cause people to leave.

Now it's Rhysling Award nomination season, and the officers rejected a poem for not being speculative enough. Said poem was originally published in a speculative magazine, Strange Horizons -- which means the author, the editors, and the nominator all thought it was a speculative poem. But their opinions are irrelevant; the poem is excluded from consideration because someone else doesn't think it's speculative enough, people in a position of power that allows them to dictate other people's actions.

Predictably, this happened. Here is the poem, "I Will Be Your Grave."

Read more... )


Jan. 15th, 2017 01:55 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
:D  One of our fox squirrels has finally discovered the birdfeeders again.  I saw him doing acrobatics on the hopper feeder this morning. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Often it's not about education anymore.  And yet people are still pressured to attend, whether they can afford it or not.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
More stores are following the movement to offer low-stress shopping opportunities for people with autism or other sensory issues.  Music and announcements off, lights low, staff discreet. \o/  Go give these stores your folding votes.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Rats smile with their ears.  (Also I did not know most humans can't hear rats giggling.)  

I think that because humans have static ears, instead of parabolic ears, they tend to overlook ear language (also tail language, feather language, and any other body part they don't have) unless it is extremely obvious.  But I always watch for it. This is why I can't abide anthropomorphic art with static body parts; it looks to me like human faces all drawn O_O.  There is nothing more disconcerting than a despairing character -- whose ears should have completely wilted to the skull -- still fully erect as if everything is fine.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Put them in housing alongside natives.  Facilitate the formation of a community by encouraging people to spend time together and identify common interests.  I think that choosing young singles is especially apt because these folks tend not to have strong ties or obligations elsewhere, which means they're open to forming bonds with each other.  Given a little luck, this community should see a lot of cross-cultural friendships and romances that will last.  \o/  Go thou and do likewise.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the December 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] chanter_greenie and [personal profile] janetmiles, based on this image.

"One Nation, Indivisible"

In the wake of unrest,
the citizens are left
wondering what they
can do to help.

Each of them comes
to the problem bearing
their own set of skills.

It is the poet with her pen
who spreads words of wisdom,
for teaching techniques of peace is
one sure way to undermine warmongers.

It is the water warriors
who place their lives on the line
to stop a pipe that could leak oil
into the drinking water of thousands.

It is the signmaker
who goes into his shop
and makes a sign to hold
outside of his local mosque:

You belong. Stay strong.
Be blessed. We are
one America.

Across the continents
there are centers of energy,
engines of civilization which
help humanity to lift itself up
to new and dazzling heights.

Such saw the construction of
the Constitution and then the birth of
the United States as one nation, indivisible.

The engines of civilization are powerful --
they can surround hatred and dismantle
its forces piece by piece and limb from limb --

but like any machine, someone has to turn them on.

* * *


The title of this poem comes from the original Pledge of Allegiance.  You can also read about the Constitution.

Celebrate the victory of Standing Rock.

In divisive times, you can help by promoting peace and unity.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank your for your time and assistance.  I'm still writing, so keep an eye on this page.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "All the news is dark, so light a candle."  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.

Click to read the linkback poem "The Golden Peaches of Peace" (18 verses, Path of the Paladins). 

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 "All the news is dark, so light a candle."  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.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  Comment with a link to where you posted.  "The Golden Peaches of Peace" has 18 verses available and belongs to Path of the Paladins.

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.

5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, there will be a bonus piece in one series.

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 "All the news is dark, so light a candle."  I'll be soliciting ideas for journalists, reporters, radio hams, creatures of the night, demons, villains, heroes, angels, lovable monsters, the misunderstood, outcasts, nemeses, oppressors, troubled relationships, monster hunters, activists, torchbearers, leaders, explorers, lighting a candle, burning the candle at both ends, candlemaking, fleeing in terror, resisting oppression, facing your demons, passing the torch, instilling hope, tikkun olam, the dark, the chandlery, the Valley of the Shadow, newsrooms, garrets, liminal zones, mad science labs, The Tower, deep forests, other places of light and shadow, torches, candles, bioluminescence, glowing weapons, a ray of hope, the darkest hour is just before dawn, radical transformation, beeswax, Chanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, the moon, cthonic symbolism, good, evil, radio, newspapers, magazines, 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.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "The Golden Peaches of Peace."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Just to make it obvious that Shkreli is a giant douche who only wants to hurt people, the cost was about $15 in materials or $2/pill.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
President Obama has denied the DAPL easement.  Read a statement from the Standing Rock Sioux.

My inner Indian is yelling and running in circles.  :D  

Well, that buys us a couple of months.  I'll take what I can get.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
As climate change wreaks havoc on Arctic ecosystems, people adapt to new ways of life


Nov. 22nd, 2016 05:30 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Why cashews are not sold in their shells, and indeed, the "raw" ones aren't actually raw.  This is a good thing. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Record highs and lows used to balance out.  Now they don't
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
People are wearing safety pins to show solidarity with the vulnerable.  

Some criticisms include accusations of white guilt. This assumes that everyone wearing a safety pin is A) white and B) not a member of any oppressed group.  Since women are wearing them, and women are a disadvantaged group -- especially with the pussy grabber in chief -- that disproves the argument.  Not to mention all the queers, people with invisible disabilities, foreign-born citizens, and everyone else the bigots would like to abuse.  Offering yourself as safe space isn't slacktivism.  It's advertising yourself as an upstander.  Because we need to remember this shit and that challenging bigots is risky.

I try to maintain my little corner of the web as safe space.  It's not perfect, because I've got a temper and some days I am out of spoons to fake being civil.  But I try.  I generally discourage people from picking on each other.  I welcome a wide range of people and traits.  By and large, I don't make a fuss over many things that other folks are fussy about.  So be yourself, and don't be a dick.  SOMEbody has to be the grownup.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Susan B. Anthony's tombstone is covered with "I Voted" stickers from women on pilgrimage there.  Notice also the stones at the base.  That's a Jewish custom, a wish for God to remember the departed, inspired by shepherds who would place stones in a pouch to count their sheep.  She helped pave the path on which we walk.
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Pop singer Bobby Vee has died

We were just talking about him the other day, because one of his songs was playing in a restaurant, "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes."  There are some lovely, subtle references to Indian and Middle Eastern traditions where people imagine peacocks as carrying the thousand eyes of God, always watching.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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