Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Rerun #3 – Journeys

Originally Posted July 31, 2010

It’s been said that we travel to lose ourselves, and that we travel to find ourselves. Proust wrote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” What does “travel” mean to you in terms of wonder, discovery, and self-revelation? Has a journey in your life given you “new eyes?”

Write a poem in which you travel: the journey may be real, imagined, emotional, or spiritual. You may take an “overland trip” through description, attention to details, and sensory perceptions, or you may lead readers through your journey's surface terrain into the emotional, spiritual, or metaphorical landscape at its center.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer Rerun #2 – Résumé Poem

Originally Posted July 24, 2010

Write a poem about your life (a poetic “résumé”) in which you really "go introspective" and dig deeply (define and clarify).

Following are some “prompt supports” that you can include in your “résumé” poem (maybe as stanza starters).

  Click Here to View the Rest of the Prompt

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Summer Rerun #1 – Caesura (cæsura or cesura)

I was considering taking a brief summer hiatus from the blog this year and mentioned that to my friend and fellow poet/blogger Diane Lockward. Diane suggested that I do some summer reruns instead (similar to summer reruns on TV). A great idea, Diane, for which my thanks!

I decided to go back and revisit some of the July and August posts from 2010, the year I started The Music in It. I haven’t looked at most of these prompts in about five years and suspect that most readers haven’t either. So … for long-time blog readers, here’s a revisit; and for new readers, here’s something you may not have seen.


Originally Posted Sunday, July 11, 2010

Think how a bird pauses between songs, how we pause between thoughts, how there are pauses in our lives. 

In poetry, caesura refers to a pause that occurs naturally in the rhythms of speech when a line is spoken. The pause or break usually occurs near the middle of a line (sometimes used along with enjambment.). Used to create a specific effect, caesura may be soft (barely noticeable) or hard (as in a full stop, such as a period or other terminal punctuation). A caesura is called "masculine" when it falls after a long syllable, and "feminine" when it falls after a short syllable.

There is a caesura right after the question mark in the first line of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's  sonnet that begins, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." There is also caesura in Emily Dickinson’s line, “I'm nobody! Who are you?” Caesura may be indicated by //. Consider Robert Frost’s line: “Two roads diverged // in a yellow wood” (“The Road Not Taken”).

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Prompt #229 – Say It Again, Sam ...

This week’s prompt is easy and will, hopefully, be fun for you to try.  Simply write a poem in which each line repeats one word from the previous line. That’s it. Nothing complicated.


1. Think of a subject/topic for a poem.

2. Write an opening line for a poem based on your subject.

3. Continue writing your poem, but be sure that each line includes a word repeated from the line that immediately precedes it. The only exclusions—this is important—are definite and indefinite articles (an, an, the), prepositions (he, she it, they, etc.), and conjunctions (and, but, nor, for, so, etc.).

4. Be sure that you don’t repeat the same word for every line of the poem. The echo should only occur in paired lines:

Lines 1 & 2 should contain one repeated word.

Lines 3 & 4 should contain one repeated word that’s different from the repeated word in lines 1 & 2.

Lines 3 & 4 should contain one repeated word that’s different from the repeated word in lines 1,  2, 3, & 4.
And so on ...

1. Word toward making your echoes words seem more organic than deliberate.

2. Pay attention to content—that is, the repetitions should be subordinate to meaning.

3.  You might consider beginning with the first line of a poem that you’ve already written and  rewrite the poem using the repeated word format.

4. Repetition necessarily suggests sound, so be aware of the sounds you create within your poem.  Work out ways in which your repetitions may enhance your poem's sonic impression.