Let’s Celebrate!

What’s Up December?

I am celebrating today because this is my 100th blog post! Thank you to all the readers and followers that continue to support The Whispering Pen! I appreciate you!

This is a busy month. Denise and I are hosting three Wine & Canvas events, I have several assignments with the St. Charles Press, an assignment for Radish, a Rochester Post Bulletin subsidiary, and a trip to my hometown to celebrate the holidays and my mom’s birthday!

December 5th Wine & Canvas Event is “A Bottle of Red.”

Wine & Canvas events for December 2014

December 12th Wine & Canvas Event is a “Snowman.”

December Events Wine and Canvas Snowman

December 19th Wine & Canvas Event is “A Whimsical Holiday Tree.”

I didn’t have time to create this painting over the weekend…perhaps next weekend.

This month I am reading short stories from Stephen King’s, Skeleton Crew, and Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures: funny women write from the road. I’ll dig into another novel in January when I have more time to devote to reading.

I’ll also provide more tips for poets courtesy of the Portable MFA in Creative Writing.

And, the best part, exploring more haiku.

Memories Haiku

Memories fading
one by one—
journal entry remains.

What are you up to in the month of December?





A Hiking We Will Go

A winter wonderland…

I love hiking in Whitewater State Park. I always find beauty each time I go.

Hiking up the Dakota trail in snowy conditions

A gorgeous view atop the bluffs

High on the bluffs overlooking the Meadow Trail

A Hiking We Will Go Haiku

arrive atop the bluffs
wintry landscape

My goal…less is more. I enjoy deviating from the traditional 5-7-5 haiku rules.

I will continue experimenting with line length, punctuation and strong words to describe a scene, feeling or thought.

I’ll be spending my Black Friday painting, writing and hopefully reading. Is anyone else avoiding retail stores on this crazy day?


A Little of This and a Little of That

I love a challenge. Today I took a writing prompt from Writer’s Digest and experimented with some of the things I have been reading about in the Portable MFA…strong words at the end of a line that catch the reader’s eye…rhyming or rapping poems similar to June Jordan.

The writer’s prompt was to write about a hero or heroine. I decided not to write this about a specific person, instead I picked a character trait that reminded me of a heroine.


Courage Haiku

her strength prevails
more so than the song
of the nightingales

What are some elements that you use when writing a poem?

Just curious, do you like knowing my thought process about each poem? Or, do you prefer to read the poem and enjoy the mystery?


Week Five: MFA Creative Writing Tips

Tuesday’s Writing Tips

What’s Free About Free Verse?

We are working on free verse, line length and risk this week. Ask yourself:

  1. How do the lines work?
  2. How do they begin?
  3. How and where do they stop?

Notice the word that sits on the end of each line. These words catch your eye…and tell your story.

Good poems are, on some level, a mystery. Where a line is broken creates part of the beauty and magic of the poem.

Since I am working on haiku, I am going to try and deviate from the 5-7-5 structure and experiment with line length and punctuation or lack of it.

Fear Haiku

are you afraid?
do your thoughts send shivers
she walks alone

This week, you may like to explore another poet. Pick one to focus on and examine their line length and free verse. Take a risk! Keep writing, reading and growing.

Most of the thoughts above are from my trusty Portable MFA. I hope you are finding some of Tuesday’s tips to be beneficial.

If you would like to look back on the last few weeks, here are the links:

  1. Week One
  2. Week Two
  3. Week Three
  4. Week Four

Have you explored new ways of writing poetry? I encourage you to deviate from your standard poems. 

Have a great Tuesday!


Give Rap a Try!

This feels like the ultimate haiku challenge—create a rap that is based on the structure of a haiku. Haiku is not supposed to rhyme, but I am deviating, experimenting to see where this takes me.

Last Tuesday I discussed the poet June Jordan. She creates simple poetic raps. Listen to one of her poems in the book His Own Where.

Here is my rap-like haiku.

The Cold Midwest Haiku

the midwest is cold
bundle up…try to be bold
go brave the icy road

 Give Rap a Try!

Let me know what you think of my first rap haiku!

Have a great week!



Crime Scene

I cruised into weekend mode several hours ago. I don’t usually post anything on Friday, but I found a haiku in The Haiku Anthology that sums up the True Crime book I am reading.

If you remember earlier this month I started reading a book about Ted Bundy, the creepy serial killer. It’s a long book and I have been squeezing in a few minutes here and there because my schedule has been packed.

I was several hundred pages in before I really started to get creeped out. And, about that time, a friend of mine informed me that a level 3 sex offender moved about 1/2 mile from my house. She warned me mainly because she knows I go out after dark to run.

I would not have guessed that someone would write a haiku about crime, but Joanne Morcom did.

Crime Scene Haiku

the quiet bungalow
yellow crime scene tape

How’s that for describing a place you’ve never considered including in a poem. I love that it paints a vivid picture, but keeps the reader hanging, wondering what happened. My imagination can fill in the blanks. Can yours?

Have a fantastic weekend!

What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever written about?


Just Dance

When I need inspiration, I free write or look to my favorite author for a tidbit of wisdom. Today, I did both.

Excerpt from Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott:

“You get your confidence and intuition back by trusting yourself, by being militantly on your own side. You need to trust yourself, especially on a first draft, where amid the anxiety and self-doubt, there should be a real sense of your imagination and your memories walking and woolgathering, tramping the hills, romping all over the place. Trust them. Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance,” Anne Lamott.


Let the Words Dance Haiku

A story to tell—
stop, listen and let go
words dancing along.

Do you free write for inspiration?


Poetry Taking Shape

Tuesday’s Writing Tips

As I cruise through the Portable MFA in Creative Writing, it’s time for the poetry to take shape. It’s time to discover the length of the lines and stanzas, pay attention to rhyme schemes and punctuation.

I feel like I am deviating a bit from this book since I am writing haiku, so I purchased a book specifically for haiku, The Haiku Anthology.

Cor Van Den Heuvel, the author who compiled The Haiku Anthology states,

“Haiku help us to experience the everyday things around us vividly and directly, so we see them as they really are, as bright and fresh as they were when we first saw them as children. Haiku is basically about living with intense awareness, about having an openness to the existence around us—a kind of openness that involves seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.”

Jim Boyd writes,

morning surf
a dog fills the sky
with seagulls.

I love this haiku.  I feel present. I feel like I am at the beach even though I am pulling memories of my own experiences at the beach.

I can recall seagulls flocking on the sand and taking flight when someone or something invades their space.

The goal for daily writing is to first review the Handbook of Poetic Forms. Write a sonnet, a sestina, a pantoum and lyrics for a song rap. The Portable MFA recommends June Jordan’s work for rap examples.

Again, I am deviating a bit with my haiku, but I want to continue to share information from the Portable MFA..

 What type of poetry do you like to write?