A Room of My Own

If you’re just recently arriving at this space, welcome!  This blog has been part of my writing routine since the fall of 2010 when I left academia for a spell to travel abroad and work independently as an editor/freelancer.  Over the years, it’s been a place to write and publish book reviews, commentary (read: snark), author interviews, literary happenings (and other happenings), thoughts on the publishing industry, and – most often – as a work space for drafting new essays and poems.  Since 2011, I’ve been following (off and on) the poetry writing prompts offered by Poets & Writers’ Magazine called The Time is Now.  In its current iteration, this space is being used solely for that purpose.  Comments are always welcome as are your own attempts at doing this thing we call writing.

–Gabriel

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Proof of Life

No, no, don’t get too excited.  There’s no poem attached to this blog post.  But it’s been a minute since I’ve posted, and I didn’t want you all out there waiting and wondering if I’d fallen off the face of the earth, or had my typing fingers crushed in some weird baking accident, or perhaps gotten wrapped up in some cult that believes poetry should only ever be recited aloud and from the top of a mountain (or, at the very least, a small hill).  Nothing quite so interesting has occurred.

However.  I did acquire a new superpower that’s going to allow me to save the world from ignorance and hate (one high school English teacher at a time).

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P&W Prompt: You Come to Me

I don’t usually make any real use of the titles Poets & Writers’ Magazine gives to its weekly prompts: The Time is Now; however, this week the prompt title really spoke to me.  Here’s the prompt itself:

“I was young when you came to me. / Each thing rings its turn…” begins Meena Alexander’s poem “Muse.” Write a poem of direct address to a muse—any specific object, memory, person, moment, or idea that invokes wonder and reflection. Read the rest of Alexander’s poem for inspiration derived from sensory pleasures, multiple languages, and the associations between words and images.

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P&W Prompt: The Poetry of Science

I had to laugh out loud when I read this week’s prompt from Poets & Writers magazine:

Poetry and science combined to join forces at this year’s March for Science in Washington, D.C. Jane Hirshfield organized writing workshops and readings, and science poems by writers like Tracy K. Smith and Gary Snyder were displayed on banners. Many poets are using social media to respond quickly and powerfully to events occurring in the tumult of the political climate. Browse through newspapers or online for fresh science news—such as scientists attempting to capture the first image of a black hole—and write an urgent poem in response. What sort of emotional or philosophical significance can you draw between this scientific news and your feelings about current affairs?

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P&W Prompt: Why Is the World So Messy?

Happy Spring, y’all!  This week’s Poets & Writers’ prompt is inspired by a truly inspiring short film project (if you have a moment, it’s worth the time to watch):

Can girls be robots? How do you make water? What does extinct mean? Children have a curiosity for the world that can often inspire them to ask difficult questions like these from filmmaker Kelly O’Brien’s five-year-old daughter Willow. In the spirit of childish inquisitiveness, write a poem entirely of questions. How might you use a child’s persona to explore your own concerns and wonder for the world?

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P&W Prompt: New Language

This time last year, when I made the, what some might call “radical,” decision to leave my lucrative, work-from-home, Assistant Professor of English position at Ashford University to take a lectureship offering half of my Ashford salary and requiring a move to deeply conservative Texas, I had high hopes for what that decision would mean.  I’d been with Ashford for four years, and for four years, I’d been swept up into the most corporate, insane, fast paced, high pressure gig I’d ever experienced in my career.

And I hadn’t written a thing.  Not. One. Thing.   Continue reading

P&W Prompt: Ode to Dinner

It’s hard to believe it, but this is officially my last “backlog” of exercises from Poets & Writers’ weekly prompts, The Time Is Now.  Assuming I can also write the prompt from this week over the weekend, I am officially (hallelujah!) caught up.  Now….staying caught up will be the next challenge.  Here’s hoping 😉  From March 28, here’s the last back dated prompt:

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P&W Prompt: Poem in Pink

Moving right along, here’s the prompt from March 14:

A salt lake in Melbourne, Australia recently turned pink due to the growth of algae “in response to very high salt levels, high temperatures, sunlight, and lack of rainfall.” The phenomenon transformed the lake from its natural blue tone to an unusually bright flamingo color. Write a poem that begins by evoking the sensations of one color, and then—gradually or abruptly—turns a strikingly different color, perhaps even pink. How will you manipulate the mood, images, sounds, and rhythms of your language to reflect the color change?  [Click here to jump to the final draft]

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