Archive for the ‘Poetry Carnival / Ringing of the Bards’ Category


Ringing of the Bards XVI – Serial Poetry

October 9, 2006

It’s time, once again, for the Ringing of the Bards. Last time, you may remember, we were left wondering if anyone would ever find Terry’s missing submission. Billy was left, at the end of last week’s episode, hanging from a virtual cliff, wondering if he would ever be rescued.

Well, in good serial form, we return now to this week’s episode, only to find that the cliff was only 5 feet high, and Terry’s submission was never lost anyway (all of that in the first two paragraphs)! But back to the action!

Serial stories and episodic fiction is the hallmark of great storytelling (I am rereading Oliver Twist now, where every chapter leaves you hanging for more), and poetry is no exception. Where this works best, you rush from poem to poem, waiting to see where the theme or story takes you. Bill Piety mines this feeling of movement in his latest poem from his “?” series entitled “?, no. 5” (I also recommend his lost series, found on the same pages!):

there is a man, sitting on my kitchen floor, tucked into a
corner, tossing flour up on the air, making words that float
and make a chatter that i can not understand, and his face

is hidden by this ghostey clamor, so i can not judge his eyes,
or have his lips been kissing mother, has he brought some
solace to her days, for he must know she’s buried deep in


Episodic stories can also be revealed as a story gets told and retold, each time adding new details and new twists (see the many versions of Cinderella as an example). MadKane gives us a modern (do I dare?) fairy (I dared) tale in her poetry series on the continually unfolding Mark Foley scandal. The latest of these is entitled “Dirty Denny” (the entire series can be found here):

There once was a House Speaker Denny,
With character not worth a penny.
He failed to shield teens
From a boy-obsessed fiend.
Family values? He doesn’t have any.

While we are on the subject of family values, Jo Janoski does an excellent job of dissecting the intertwined values of love and hate in her submission for the ringing, entitled “Serial Heart” (the poem is written in a series of stanzas with 3-5-7-9-7-5-3 syllables):

Your utterances
pepper my soul with contempt.
Pitchfork devil dancing in my heart.
Silence! I demand you go!
Leave me gentle peace.
You rile me.

I was riled a bit by finding Terry’s submission right where Billy left it, under my pile of superhero comic books, themselves serial entertainment. In Terry’s submission, Human Cardinal, which is (he says) part of a larger series, we meet one of these characters:

Human Cardinal
Spreading out his bright red wings
Defending pure peace

Hero of us all
Fighting those evil creatures
From deep outer space

Blue Tornado Boy
His faithful sidekick nephew
Speeding at his side

Champion of Earth
Coming out of the future
Human Cardinal

Sometimes the true “Superheroes” are just simply you and I, travellers together down the same road, a paradigm which Abhay explores in his series, “You and I” (part I can be found here, and part II here):

What stays with me
Is me
You came and went away
What stayed with me
Is me

From serial to circuitry is not a far leap, and Bob (the not-so Average Poet) offers us an insight into the world of circuitry theology in his stirring “Cyberphim“:

Metallic wings calmly poised
head bowed in contemplation
my circuits tingle pleasantly
with the flow of information
ascended high above the rung
of my virtual incarnation
dutifully I kneel and pray
Man can grasp salvation.

The serial nature of life is always on display at HouseMouse, as is salvation. Shirley writes, in “Born Again“:

It seems like the first things we learn in life are also the first things we forget. Like how to use the big potty and tie our shoes. We forget what a fork is for and are just as content to eat with a knife or our fingers. We experiment by putting our food in our milk to see if it will float. We have to be told when it’s time get up, time to eat, time to go to bed and must be reminded every day to be careful. Our bodies revert to the fetal position and we babble rather than make conversation. Our hand is constantly reaching out for another to hold and we doubt our ability to move on our own without training wheels.

The more I see of death and its process, the more I see the beginning of life. It’s like watching a plant wither and break down putting all of its energy into producing a seed that will live again only through its own death. It gives me cause to wonder…

Well. while I certainly don’t know the answers to the ponderous questions you all have raised, nor can I predict what the serial nature of the Ringing will bring in the coming weeks (especially as we have no host for the coming week), I do know what kind of food to put in your milk to see if it floats. As my entry to the Ringing, I offer “Breakfast Food“:

Your lucky charms entice me –
Too, your dulcet, “Cheerios“,
when your sugar smacks surprise me
you should hear my honey nut “ohs”.

Evidently, I wasn’t the only one thinking about breakfast foods this week. While my mind was on cereal, Billy’s was on “Cold Pizza for Two“:

Wake up in the morning
the light hurts my head,
stumble to the kitchen
for my daily bread.
The cupboard is empty,
the cabinets are too,
but in my ‘frigerator
cold pizza for two.

Until we meet again my friends, have a slice for me!!


Ringing of the Bards XVI – call for submissions!

October 2, 2006

It’s time again!  Time for another Ringing of the Bards.  And I certainly hope you will stand up and be counted.

To keep things interesting (and I do like to keep things interesting…) I will be adding a theme to this week’s ringing:  what I like to call “serial poetry.”

Here’s how this will work.  If you are at work on a series of poetic pieces (like the Tarot series I am working on), choose one of the pieces (your first, your last, your most current?) and send me the link.  Also send me the link for the entire series (if there is one) and I will highlight that as well.

If you are not currently working on a series, or want to try something else, trying writing a poem which itself features a “series” — perhaps a series of vowels or images or colors or rhymes.  Anything “serial” works for me.  Along those lines, you may want to take a look at the serial poetry of William Gillespie.

Of course, you could also send a poem on any theme, from breakfast cereal to “sear”ing attack on “eel”s (Get it?  Sear-eel?)

Anyway, have fun, and send your submissions to dbarkowitz(at)rcn(dot)com by Saturday at midnight to be featured in the Ringing.


Ringing of the Bards XIII – The In-Between Time

September 18, 2006

Fall is in the air. Despite the brief resurgence of Summer (marked today by highs near the 80 degree mark), the onward march of the seasons has come again, and as the warm, relaxing (or steamy and sultifying) days of summer move on to the cool and crisp (or bitter and frozen) nights of winter, we arrive at last at the in-between time.

I love Fall, for its vibrant harvest hues as much as for its tangy flavor. Fall is the time when the world breathes in, and holding … holding … holding, waits for the chance to exhale. I revel in Fall as the space between, symbolized by harvest holidays which presage the coming “death” of the old, before the birth of the new.

Just as the fabric between summer and winter stretches thin in Fall, so too does the one between this world and all others. Mysterious things emerge, and Fall is their time as well. Fall is a time for superstitions, for thirteen, for the beginning of the end of all things.

Superstitions, though, have to have their origins somewhere, as we hear in Russell’s submission to the Ringing entitled “Superstition“:

Turn to the horror of himself, look at deep within
He knows there is a growing burden, He is guilty
If he hadn’t done what he shouldn’t do, no problem,
But he had to; no one takes care of you but yourself….

Superstitions also led Jo Janoski to write in her entry “Thirteen” (subtitled “(Evil One and Three)”):

Wake to bleak day while storm clouds spit fear
Encircling overhead restlessly
In warning to avoid all thirteens.

Black smack you down one and three death spree
Evilness traversing neighborhood
Comes knocking while watching for weakness….

The number thirteen itself seems laced with magic meaning. Whether the number comes from the participants in the last supper, as Ozymandiaz reminds us in “The Thirteenth“:

About the circle sat the twelve discussing thirteen
(As, on a Friday, the Knights Templar were befallen)
And the one who completed this baker’s dozen sat
Like Judas to contemplate his fate just there outside….

or if it really is just a reflection of “A Dirty Dozen“, as we are reminded by Billy:

13 miles,
13 men;
13 years they lived in sin.
13 sins each would commit….

we know that thirteen itself represents a magical age of transformation as we are reminded by Renee in “Thirteen“:

Thirteen is too young to be mature; you disagree.
The fabric of time, once so vast, now is restraining.
Live glows in fiery colors, producing awe, pain and
indelible dreams, shouted out in forced syllables.

and as Abhay also shows us in “A teen of thirteen“:

There was a time
When I was a teen of thirteen
Full of dreams and fantasies
Just waiting to win the world

This place of transition can be any place in the real world (as we are reminded by Katy in her piece entitled “triv“):

something just like
a tumultuous love affair
on the ring of moral

or they met
in a cheap coffee parlor
doubled by….

or maybe just in the microscopic world (as Bob, the Average Poet, reminds us in “Linked“):

Can electrons bear emotions through the ethernet?
I’m not sure if they do, but am confident to bet
that surges of compassion can transcend having met
creating connectivity no wire could beget.

or even in the world of the sublime and ridiculous (as Mad Kane shares with us in “Ode to the Segway Scooter“):

The maker of scooters called Segway
Has recalled them from road, walk, and hedgeway.
Their software’s quite galling.
It’s prone to cause falling.
Now lawyers have fresh “we allege” prey.

Whatever you do, don’t trust your senses in the in-between time, since, as Shirley of HouseMouse points out in “Hearts & Flowers“, you cannot trust them:

it’s not what it seems
the fortress of dreams
is cracking
and coming apart at the seams….

And, once again, we return to the topic of superstitions, where I remind you in “Black Cat, Drat” that:

….For when it comes to superstitions, I just don’t believe ‘em
(though watch me as I hold my breath when I pass a mausoleum).
Nothing ever beats a little bit of self-protection,
just as long as I don’t indulge in any serious self-reflection.

And, just as suddenly as it began, the in-between time ends.  For that is the nature of thin places where time stretches and then contracts.  They move quickly by, trapping you in their eddies and whorls for a brief visit before their transitory path leads you onward…  

Hope you enjoyed the visit to space between… 


And the in-between time doesn’t end! Pearl offers this late addition to round out the 13th Ringing of the Bards:

im mute able
There must be some unifying theory
of psyche that ties the consensus paradox tight
explains how cooperative non-violence drives
boxing match sales, movies with blood capsules for actors
to spew on director’s command, gratification
rubbernecked, observing battles vicariously,
precariously tip, not towards bloodbath fury
but to tranquil, post-orgasmic calm.


Ringing of the Bards XIII

September 12, 2006

So, it is my turn to welcome the ringing of the bards.

In honor of the triskadekaphobes out there, I would like to invite submission on the theme of thirteen.

For entries on the subject, please either write a thirteen line poem, or a poem with lines of thirteen syllables, or poems having to do with superstitions. I will feature all of them in my carnival post coming (probably) on Sunday!  Of course, if you want to submit a poem on any other topic, that would be welcome as well.

As usual, look to Ringing of the Bards for the basic rules, and submit your emails to me at dbarkowitz(at)rcn(dot)com, or link to the post on your blog as a comment on this post!

Looking forward to your great submissions!


Ringing of the Bards VII

August 5, 2006

The brand new Ringing of the Bards is online and hosted at Erin’s Poetic Acceptance.

Weep, Like a Cedar in Lebanon is featured in the Carnival.  Thanks, Erin, for your kind words!

Are you part of the Ringing of the Bards?  If not, next week’s will be hosted by Daniel of Naked and Ashamed.  Look there for more info!


“Ars Poetica” Poetry Carnival is Up

November 15, 2005

Hey all…

The new poetry carnival is up at Legwarmers. Liz has done a fantastic job with this month’s carnival. Check it out…

Submission details for the next Poetry Carnival can be found at Glittering Muse. The new theme is music poetry. Submission deadline is 11/29/05.

Join the Poetry Carnival Google Group to receive updates on Carnival events.


Ours, Poetica

November 10, 2005

Imagine, were it possible to see
a world where every object was expressed
as reference to another, every tree
a metaphor, and every one addressed

by “rose” or “poem” or “ancient crooked man”.
If poetry existed as a state
of being, we could live it rather than
depend upon the poet to create

a world of imagery and fertile thought.
What would we call this world of which we dream?
Poetica her name and yet would not
her very same existence make it seem

that Poetry itself would be a sham?
A feeble, mild attempt to call to mind
a state of grace, perfection in the land,
then every single poet could remind

his reader that the work is more than metrical.
You find your own expressed as “ours, Poetica.”

For the next Poetry Carnival.


The Next Poetry Carnival

October 30, 2005

The next Poetry Carnival is up at Erin’s blog. Read and enjoy!!!


October Poetry Carnival – updated 10/17/05

October 15, 2005

Way out on the other end of town sits an abandoned grass field. It used to be a fairground, but when the factory closed down and the meat-packing plant closed its doors, the fairground ran into disrepair. When you walk through the abandoned field, you hear the echoes of voices long stilled (Poet Bill Kenney gives voice to the image of the field in his poem “Path”):

overgrown path

leaves drifting to the earth

they will become

The field only comes alive once in a while. Then, with color, lights, rides, and spectacle, the fairground explodes and reveals itself in all its glory. The barkers call out, the games tempt, the aromas of food mixed with the subtle whiff of sugary sweet fried dough beckons.

The Carnival has pulled into town!

Carol sums up the invitation that the carnival offers here:

Or perhaps the attraction is a little more mundane (here as expressed by Mark in a poem he composed only for this carnival — and not on his blog):

in the carnival

of poets, i am the guy

in the dunking booth

Walk on into the field. See in front of you the wildflowers, worn down by the passing of many feet. Erin Monahan says (in her short poem):

The lilies have wilted, weighted

by the dogwood’s scarlet berries

and red-tipped leaves –

one pitiable death born

in the beauty of another.

Death and the reach of those from beyond the grave has a long history as part of the carnival. The words and presence of those who have come before comfort us:

Cold cemetery

the long sleeves of your old coat

warm my fingertips

even from beyond this grave

you manage to comfort me.


A carnival brings together all kinds of people. Some may come with a somewhat irreverent sense of humor. From Doris comes this submission to the Carnival:

Maybe you are a late arrival to the carnival, working your way through the line of cars in the parking lot. Andrew Nichols (also known as Dan Weasel) submitted “Car” on this point:

She carries me from

pain to pain; rarely braking:

safe. Accelerate.

The carnival appeals to the child’s soul, but also speaks to the “big” questions. Adam Graham raises one of these questions in his poem “Why?”:

Knowing the answer,

Understanding why,

It is the human quest

The word we think will restore,

But the answer to the question

Often wounds more than it heals.

The sun falls and the carnival lights flick on. The glare of white light contrasts with the presence of “white space” in our lives. The multimedia group of the World Haiku Club used the theme of white space as a recent exercise. Lary collected these submissions into a web page listing them (one poem by soji is highlighted here):

In the night time, whimsy makes itself known. Flights of fancy continue in the evening carnival. All rules are suspended (even the rule that says you had to write a poem of six lines to be featured in this carnival). From Poet Billy Jones comes Six Lines:

Six lines, but Sir, you surely jest.

Six lines, but Sir, I must protest.

Six lines, all right I’ll give my best

and do it with but four.

The end of the day approaches. For some, the carnival has been a time of enjoyment and frivolity. For us, though, the carnival has taught lessons not soon forgotten. From Presbypoet’s “Poems From God” comes “Being Corrected”:

Thank you for ripping out my heart.

Leaving it bleeding cut to ribbons.

Thank you for teaching

how little I know.

Thank you for showing

what I was too blind to see.

At the end of the night, the lights of the carnival go out and sudden darkness returns:


a sudden vastness

between stars


The carnival pulls out of town. Where will it set up next? Who will be part of the mad funhouse? What abandoned field will next be enlivened by its frolic and froth?

And what of our abandoned field? All left alone again to rest and reflect? I end the carnival with the 13th featured poem (we all know the power of 13 and carnival), an original of mine called “Empty Field”:

Empty field

silent in the moonlight . . .

carnival moved on

And now for a “Mea Culpa” — I missed one poem!! Renee Wagemans submitted a poem from her blog, Words to Go With, entitled “Dance in Memory Lane”.

All I can say is “Mea Culpa”, and here is the poem:

Thanks to everyone who submitted a poem for this month’s Poetry Carnival. Thanks especially to Andrew Nichols (aka Dan Weasel) for the invitation to host this month’s carnival. For future poetry carnivals, visit Dan’s web page!


The Poetry Carnival is coming…

October 12, 2005

Way out on the other end of town sits an abandoned grass field. It used to be a fairground, but when the factory closed down and the meat-packing plant closed its doors, the fairground ran into disrepair. When you walk through the abandoned field, you hear the echoes of voices long stilled.

The field only comes alive every once in a while. Then, with color, lights, rides, and spectacle, the fairground explodes and reveals itself in all its glory. The barkers call out, the games tempt, the aromas of food mixed with the subtle whiff of sugary sweet fried dough beckons.

The Carnival has pulled into town!

Come on aboard and join in the fun of the monthly Poetry Carnival. Details on how to join in are here, and your submissions are still welcome through midnight on Friday!