Photography by Rebecca Thomas

R. Thomas (7 of 9)

Rebecca Thomas graduated with a BA in Art Studio with an emphasis in photography from the University of Kentucky. She‘s inspired by finding traces of the human footprint, abandoned for nature to reclaim, and by what people choose to leave behind and how the earth reclaims the scraps.

Each week we will post artwork submitted to Accents in hopes that you are inspired to write and share.

If you are interested in submitting please send your art to christopher.accents (at) gmail.com with a 50 word bio.

Hills and Valleys: Marta Dorton

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Marta Dortion earned a BA in Art Studio, emphasis in Painting from the University of Kentucky. Her painting process involves scraping layers of Liquitex acrylic paint onto canvas with a squeegee. She seeks to feel small on the Earth, to understand her place in the vast order of life and time, to feel relevance in the midst of nature’s enormity. Family and land are elements that run deep in her heart and artwork. Kentucky is a commonwealth of great variety and beauty. The colorful and changing landscapes have played an important role in the art she creates.

Accents Publishing is happy to feature the work of Marta Dorton on our new blog feature. We want to combine visual and written art. Each week we will post artwork submitted to Accents in hopes that you are inspired to write and share.

If you are interested in submitting please send several images or scans of your art to christopher.accents (at) gmail.com with a 50 word or less bio and titles for your pieces when applicable.

Accents is Looking for Writing Prompts

chris_mccurry_awp13Accents Publishing invites you to submit your photography and artwork to be featured on the Accents Publishing Blog to serve as potential writing prompts during 2014.

Please send an attachment for consideration in an email to Christopher.Accents (at) gmail.com.

In the body of the email let us know the title (if any) and provide a 50 word bio to include in the post.

As for what we are looking for: we want images that inspire us to act, to write.

Note from the editor: As a practice round, why not use this beautiful picture of our handsome Junior Editor, Christopher McCurry, as some inspiration. For our writing prompts, just post a poem in the comments section or simply leave some words of encouragement. Thanks so much!

Literary Term of the Week: Syntax

Syntax, the arrangement of words and phrases to create sentences, needs to be just as intentional as the words we choose.

We have 5 structures to choose from:

Simple
Compound
Complex
Compound-Complex
Fragments

These control the pace and the release of information.

We can modify these sentences using phrases and clauses.

Prepositional phrases
Appositive phrases
Noun clauses
Adjectival clauses
Adverbial Clauses

These supply additional information and clarify who, what, when, where, why.

Sentence can be declarative, interrogative, exclamatory and imperative.

Since sentences rarely travel alone, there is the interaction among sentences to consider.

To practice:

Write a poem using only a simple sentence. Then rewrite that sentence 10 times, each time using a different combination of structures, phrases, types.

Make sure to break the rules some.

Literary Term of the Week: “Metaphor”

Each week, Accents Junior Editor Christopher McCurry provides a Literary Term of the Week. Following a description of the term, Christopher invites readers of the Accents Blog to write a poem prompted by the week’s term.

Sometimes words fail us.

Metaphor makes it possible to communicate despite our inability to translate our ideas and emotions into words.

We compare in order to understand, to yoke together, to bridge the gap.

Our brains, constantly seeking to make sense of life and the information it receives, naturally makes these connections. They come out effortlessly in our conversations as simile, metonymy, and analogy.

As writers we want to find striking metaphors.

Try this:

If you had to spend the rest of your life as an inanimate object, what would it be? Why? Try not to simply personify the object, but to compare the similarities as you explore what draws you to that object. Title it: My Life as a _________________.

Literary Term of the Week: “Diction”

As a brand new feature, Accents Junior Editor Christopher McCurry will provide a Literary Term of the Week. Following a description of the term, Christopher invites readers of the Accents Blog to write a poem prompted by the week’s term.

Diction, also known as the author’s word choice, has three qualities:

  1. Lyrical: the sound of the word
  2. Denotative: the dictionary definition of the word
  3. Connotative: the imaginative, emotional, cultural and implied understanding of the word when used in the context of a given situation.

As a writer, you must balance the three, be precise but understand the layers of meaning built into each word, and keep the sound of them in mind as you work.

Tips and Tricks:

  • It’s usually not wise to sacrifice denotative or connotative for lyrical qualities unless you are Edwin Morgan.
  • Deciding whether a word seems positive or negative can be the first step to understanding its connotative qualities—for example, skinny vs. thin; childish vs. childlike.
  • If you don’t know the dictionary definition of a word, it’s likely you don’t understand its connotative qualities.
  • Words that are more than one part of speech can do double sometimes triple duty.
  • The more words you know, the more fun you can have.

Exercise:

Use the following six words in a poem, considering how they work together. For the ambitious: use the six words for the last words in the line of a sestina.

Lance        Plume

Brother      Gray

Weather    Snare

Writing Challenge: “Ekphrasis” by Elizabeth Beck

Lexington poet and founder of the Teen Howl Poetry Series at the Morris book shop, Elizabeth Beck, has teamed up with Lexington visual artist John Lackey to offer a cool writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing!

"Self Discovery" by John Lackey

“Self Discovery” by John Lackey. Click for larger image. (used with permission)

Ekphrasis is an excellent tool to use as a writing prompt. Its etymology is Greek from the word ekphrasis, literally a description from ekphrazein, which means to recount, describe. From ex- out and phrazein- to point out, to explain.  John Keats “Ode on a Grecian Urn” written in 1819 is one of the earliest examples of ekphrastic poetry in the literary canon.

Your task is to observe the painting “Self Discovery” and then write a poem upon reflection. Interact with the art. Ask questions. Meander. The point is to draw a relationship between yourself and the painting.

-Elizabeth Beck

Elizabeth Beck published insignificant white girl earlier this year and just released Interiors from Finishing Line Press. Also, the Teen Howl Poetry Series will be celebrating it’s second anniversary on October 3rd at the Morris book shop at 6pm. Don’t forget to check it out!

Go ahead and post your writing in the comments or leave a message of encouragement for someone else! Thanks so much and have a great start to another exciting week!

More from Elizabeth Beck:

Writing Challenge: “Tolerance and Greed” by Jude Lally

Jude Lally is a regular fixture in the Lexington poetry community. He’s the only poet Accents has published twice (not counting Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems or this blog, of course). And while he’s not especially old for an established poet, he’s experienced his fair share of obstacles. Having to live with Friedrich’s Ataxia (a rare neuromuscular disease) has inspired a lot of strength and heavily influences his work.

So when I asked for a writing prompt, Jude responded with his usual mixture of inspiration and dark comedy:

Here are a couple ideas off the top of my head:
one prompt could be Tolerance and another one could be Greed—one virtue, one vice, I like that.

Feel free to use either (or both!) of those ideas to get writing. After all, the best way to get better is through practice.

Post your poems in the comment. And if you see someone else’s you like, let them know!


Jude Lally

Jude Lally writes and recites poetry as an outlet for his creative needs and as a means of enlightening, inspiring, engaging and entertaining listeners. Fortunately, Jude’s main source of inspiration in his writing is easily accessible; unfortunately, so many places in the world are not: in 1998 Jude was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative neuromuscular disease called Friedrich’s Ataxia. Jude received a BA in Business Administration in May of 2006. Jude is a member of the poetry group Poezia, occasionally attends The Poet’s Supper and the Artcroft writer’s group outside of Carlisle, KY, and is a regular presenter at the Holler Poets series events.

More from Jude Lally:

Writing Challenge: “Below the Surface” by Bianca Spriggs

SwallowtailsWe are proud to present a prompt from award-winning poet Bianca Spriggs!

Below is the prompt I came up with in 2010 after reading “Whales Weep Not” by D.H. Lawrence after I realized Captain Kirk quoting from it (to impress a lady, surprise surprise) in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This prompt resulted in the rarest of all mythological creatures among poets: the poem that is pretty much finished with the first draft. That poem also resulted in being the title poem in my chapbook, “How Swallowtails Become Dragons.”

Prompt:

  1. Choose a place that for you defines “below the surface.”
  2. Choose an everyday activity
  3. Choose one well-known characteristic of any animal
  4.  Invent one lesser-known characteristic of the same animal
  5. Choose one well-known characteristic of any paranormal or mythical being/creature.
  6. Invent one lesser-known characteristic of the same being/creature.

Step 1) Create a realm where your “below the surface” is now the everyday surface world. What would be different? What would stay the same? What is the weather like in a place that is not meant to be exposed, etc.?
Step 2) Take the animal you’ve chosen to describe in #’s 3-4 and through the act of #2, make them become something more like #’s 5-6

So if you’re feeling brave, go ahead and take the plunge into this prompt! I’m excited to see what everyone does with this.

Bianca SpriggsBianca Spriggs is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow. Aside from Accents, her work has been published in Union Station Magazine, Tidal Basin Review, Muzzle, and Appalachian Heritage Magazineamong others. According to her blog, Bianca is an author, artist, and activist.

Writing Challenge: “Draw Your Way into a Poem” by Leatha Kendrick

Leatha Kendrick has been a fixture of Lexington’s poetry scene for decades. She currently teaches workshops in poetry and life writing at the Carnegie Center. When I asked if she wanted to offer a writing prompt for the Accents Blog, I did not not anticipate such an intriguing response:

My favorite prompt (and one all my students know by now) is to draw your way into a poem. I particularly like to spend some time drawing a map of a place that’s important to me—even if I don’t think I remember the place very well. The point is not to create a great drawing but to reconnect with details that come to you as you try to draw the place.

 

I love those maps like the ones in Winnie the Pooh, where it’s an overhead shot of the place with the parts labeled (where Roo lives, scary hole, etc.).  It’s important to spend some time actually drawing before you write—even if the drawing is a scribbled thing—and also to move straight from drawing to writing. I am nearly always surprised at what emerges.

Because of the uniqueness of this prompt, I can’t wait to see your creative responses. And since the prompt requires some drawing, I expect crazy pictures thrown into Instagram or Twitter. Go ahead and upload them to your favorite image hosting site, or even post it to the Accents Facebook page, and post a link in the comments. Or, if you’d rather not show your drawing, go ahead and post your poem!

Leatha Kendrick leads workshops in poetry and life writing at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, KY. Her fiction, poetry and essays appear widely in journals and anthologies – the result of years of toil and many more rejections than acceptances. Her latest volume of poetry, Second Opinion, is available from David Robert Books. She can also be found in Accents Publishing’s Bigger Than They Appear. (some text from Leatha’s LPM page)