Friday, September 22, 2017

Diane Mayr: How to Get to Carnegie Hall


  "Inside Carnegie Hall" by Troy Tolley

Ladies and Gentlemen...

Diane Mayr is in the building! 

Following up on her last post in the Ask a Librarian series, today Diane encourages us to maintain a poetry practice routine with some useful resources to loosen the imagination.



How to Get to Carnegie Hall

The joke has been around for an eternity: A man is walking the streets of NYC, looking a little lost. He stops a stranger to ask,

"Hey, Mister, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?"

Jodi Marr

The stranger answers, 
  "Practice, practice, practice!"

Fortunately, the answer to many questions can be answered with, "practice, practice, practice." How do you walk the length of the Appalachian Trail? You start with practice trips carrying a backpack. How do you publish a book of poetry? You start by reading and writing poems. Lots of poems. Perhaps write one a day or several a week. You must practice, practice, practice writing poetry!

So here's the rub: what do you write about? Where do you get your ideas? I addressed this question in my February post at Today's Little Ditty, “Be Curious.” In it I recommended several online newsletters packed with writing ideas to pursue. But, if you're going to write several poems each week for practice, you don't need to dive headfirst into a topic.

What you need is a prompt. Michelle provides monthly prompts here at TLD; this month it is to write an abecedarian. Laura Salas provides a photo for a 15 Words or Less poetry challenge each Thursday. Laura Shovan, during the month of February over several years, used postcards, colors, sound files, and more to provide readers with prompts. Other bloggers provide additional starters.

If you set yourself a goal of a poem with your morning cup of coffee, or a poem before going to bed each night, you'll need something easily available to give you a nudge. And, you're going to need variety to keep your writing fresh. Let me suggest the following:


The Athenaeum
Here you'll find the artworks of thousands of artists across the ages. Pick a random work of art, or pick an art movement.
There are many ways to classify the history of art by time period, stylistic features, or geography. Currently The Athenaeum calls all such groupings "art movements."
I have no idea of what the "Veduta" movement is, so I might click on that, then on an artist, then on a work. Here's the point, don't think about whether or not you like the work you land on, just use it. Let it set your imagination loose. Imagine what the artist was thinking when she created it. What would the subject of that work think about you looking at him? Can you come up with a story to fit the picture? Can you do it in 15 words, or three stanzas, or in rhyme? What about the colors? What do their use reveal? How does it make YOU feel?

A painting from the Veduta movement:

"The Distribution of Milk at Saint Lazare Prison" by Hubert Robert.

The Length of an Arm

The length of an arm—
two arms—
spanning a gap.

The length of a glance—
two glances—
bridging a difference.

The lengths to which
we must go merely
to survive.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

The Museum of Bad Art
This site is loosely art related. It makes me laugh, which, as far as I'm concerned, is a major plus! Again, pick a picture and go!

flickr.
For a long time I've used flickr. In the drop-down menu titled "Any license" I click on "No known copyright restrictions." Then, I put in a random term such as "weathervane" or "goat" or "permanent." You never know what is going to come up—art, photos, vintage ads.

(Word of warning: some of it may be distasteful since anyone can post photos free for use, but it's generally a small portion of what is revealed. Another note: flickr is owned by Yahoo which recently entered into a deal with Verizon. Within the past few weeks I've had problems accessing the site--it started asking for Yahoo passwords. As of 9/16, everything seemed to working right again, but be aware.)

If you prefer a word-based prompt, try one of these:

The Journal.

J. Robert Lennon Random Poem Idea Generator.

Random Line Generator.

Robert Lee Brewer's Wednesday Poetry Prompts.


There are plenty more places to go for writing nudges. Perhaps you can share your favorite in the comments section? There is no excuse for not writing a poem a day when the prompts are so abundant. Start today and you'll be on the road to Carnegie Hall!


Rian Castillo

Brava, Diane! 
Thank you for sharing these fantastic resources with us!

Be sure to check out Diane's other posts in the Ask a Librarian series:

Diane Mayr (a.k.a. Kurious Kitty) is a long-time public librarian and a freelance writer.  She is the author of a storyhour favorite picture book, Run, Turkey, Run! (Walker & Co., 2007).  Since 2007, she has concentrated on haiku and other short form poems, and works to improve her graphic skills by illustrating them. Find out more about Diane at her website.






I'm delighted with the turnout for Carole Boston Weatherford's abecedarian challenge. (This is not an easy poetry form!) This week's featured daily ditties included poems by Suzy Levinson, Juanita Havill, Rosi Hollinbeck, and my own, written for yesterday's International Day of Peace. Although abecedarian poems will be accepted through the end of September, next Friday will be our wrap-up celebration. To be included, post your contribution on our September 2017 padlet.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm.








34 comments:

  1. I am struck by that painting and those arms spanning the gap. Makes me want to know more.
    Useful resources, Diane -- thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Tabatha? Are you familiar with the Veduta movement? I wasn't, so I looked it up to find that "veduta" is Italian for "view." The painting above is one helluva view, isn't it?

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  2. Thanks, Michelle, for allowing me the opportunity to share the resources that make writing fun!

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    1. Thanks as always, Diane, for a great post today, and also that little gem of a poem that you seem to have shaken out of your little finger! Though I'm familiar with a few of these resources, I'm excited to try out some new ones.

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  3. Practice practice practice! I would add: play play play! Play with words, have fun, just like you demonstrate here, by exploring new-to-you art. I actually keep an idea notebook to capture the many many inspirations that flit by on a daily (hourly!) basis. Thank you, Diane... see you at Carnegie Hall. xo

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    1. Speaking of idea notebook, did you hear the interview with David Crosby on NPR this morning. There is a discussion of writing things down. Here's the link: http://www.npr.org/2017/09/22/552581862/on-sky-trails-david-crosby-recounts-his-regrets-and-revelations

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    2. Yes, Irene, practice and writing daily are the keys to opening the mind to possibilities. Aren't Diane's suggestions wonderful?

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    3. Diane, I always say that your knowledge is extensive and your gift for supporting others. I The length of an arm moves gracefully from literal to a higher plane. I plan on sharing your work during my workshops. Thanks for the librarians' view on broadening our resources.

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    4. Thanks for your kind words, Carol.

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  4. I really appreciate this post, Diane! For me, coming up with a solid idea is the hardest part of writing poetry. (I'm jealous of poets who find ideas everywhere they look!) My go-to prompt source has been the Random Word Generator site. I'm looking forward to using the tools you've listed -- especially the Museum of Bad Art!

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    1. The best part about the MOBA site is the captions under the pictures. You can use the picture itself, or the caption!

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  5. Michelle, bringing Diane onboard TLD was a good move and I plan to share this site today. Stay tuned.

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    1. Oh, I know! Thanks so much for sharing the post, Carol.

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  6. Diane and Michelle....you make me so happy! I love the light-hearted and generous sharing of the PF community....but this takes the cake. Bravo on The Length of an Arm and the inspiration you have given.

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    1. Thanks, Linda! Isn't the PF community amazingly generous?

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  7. Thanks for these great resources, Diane. I love your poem and what a fascinating painting.

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    1. I wonder about the subjects of the painting. Were the women with the milk cans related to the prisoners? Were they servants? Why did they distribute the milk in such a perilous manner? So many questions!

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  8. As usual, Diane, you make it seems easy. I also like pairing photos and poetry. For me, I go for a walk with my phone and keep my mind open.

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    1. Today's phones have made things so easy! Remember the days when you had to send a roll of film away to be developed?

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  9. Wowsa! What a wealth of ideas. Thank you for sharing. I will check out some of these. I'm intrigued with using a visual prompt--art of photos to start. I also want to use poetry writing as a chance to explore and learn new topics. But first, to write, write, write and practice, practice, practice.

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    1. Isn't it Malcolm Gladwell who promoted the idea that you have to work at something for 10,000 hours before you become an expert? That's a lot of time!

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  10. I usually just jump in and start writing... something! These different writing prompt sound fun. (I guess that's a bit like Storybird, actually. And I always love the way that takes my poetry in new directions. Especially when I'm using the picture book option to write poetry. (As opposed to the drag&drop.)) Thanks ladies!

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  11. So many great resources! Yes, prompts are great motivators. I'm bookmarking and going to try some of these--thank you!

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    1. It's always good to have a backup plan for those days when your mind is a total blank!

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  12. Terrific ideas here. The painting is amazing. I can see how it would generate poetry. Thanks for the post.

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  13. Treasure trove! Thanks, Diane (& Michelle for featuring!). I'm struck by that painting, and love your poem and its title, "The Length of an Arm."

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    1. Enjoy the treasure, Robyn and be sure to share anything comparable you come across. I'm always looking for something new.

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  14. This is perfect for me this morning; have time to write but no grand ideas! Thank, ladies!

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  15. "How to get to Carnegie Hall," what a great line and intro into poetry prompts. The Athenaeum, looks like a rich resource to check out for many reasons; and The Museum of Bad Art, well there's a prompt right there even before we visit It. Thanks for this collection of resources Diane, and I like "The Length of an Arm," or two. Thanks Michelle for sharing Diane's post with us!

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    1. About The Athanaeum: I can truly say it has had a major influence on my writing!

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  16. Thank you to both of you for your generosity here. I am bookmarking this post. Diane - "The Length of an Arm" is stirring. I cannot stop thinking about reaching out. Peace. x

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