Monday, April 30, 2007

With Pen, Write Ten

Ten Things for the Poets

Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

1. The Bonsai Story Generator, one of my favorite online tools to twist prose into (something like) verse, has moved; here's the new link. Also good for generating phrases out of your prose that you can use as titles.

2. The University of Toronto has an excellent online Glossary of Poetic Terms.

3. Forget the blank verse and try Bryan H. McGill's McGill English Dictionary of Rhyme freeware.

4. Inspiration from a master: Poet Pablo Neruda's brilliant and beautiful 1971 Nobel Lecture, Towards the Splendid City (also available in audio and in Spanish text.)

5. has an online rhyming dictionary and thesaurus you can use to find rhymes, synonyms, homophones, similar sounding words and more. Sadly, they still have not come up with an online "how to keep your villanelle from sucking" option, but I live in hope.

6. Looking to sell some poetry? Try perusing the paying listings over at's Poetry Market Page. Income-seekers, also see #7.

7. One very valuable online resource for poets is Poets & Writers Magazine's Grants & Awards deadline page. The mag keeps a running listing of the competitions for grants and contest awards whose deadlines are ending soon. They also only list competitions that will benefit a writer's career and only those (with a few exceptions for prizes of stature) that offer $1,000 or more, so no scams or pay-for antho publishers make it onto here.

8. Writing poetry helps improve your prose -- Lisa Janice Cohen will tell you how in her article, Punch Up Your Prose with Poetry (LJ, your article was the first thing that came up when I did a search on this topic; very cool to see you there.)

9.'s rhyming poem generator produces some very (cough) literary-sounding verse. Stuff like "moaning structure insistently defecates" and "wailing mystic lethargically cannibalises aggregate" -- plus it all rhymes. Amaze your mom and impress your friends! (I got dibs on that moaning structure line, though.)

10. If your muse needs a kick in the pants, the Poetry Resource page has a nice collection of poetry writing exercises here.

Finally, one for the e-book readers out there -- while putting together this list, I came across a freeware designed to catalog e-book collections -- My EBook Library (for Windows XP.) I'll try this one myself when I get caught up and see if it can do something with my rather messy e-library.


  1. 9 explains many of the poems I see in slush. Also word verifications.

  2. # 9 must be where some of my spammers get their opening lines.

  3. Lynn--thank you for the nod! Just trying to spread the gospel of poetry. LOL.

    Thanks for the list of resources too.


  4. Anonymous12:30 PM

    PLEASE let us know how My EBook Library software works out. Major PIA, not worth the trouble, or gift from the geek gods?

  5. Amusingly diverse list; Take #4 and #9; I'm a great fan of Neruda's work (check out for a great Neruda project) but the poetry generator is goofy good fun too...hmmm.

  6. Anonymous8:18 AM

    I love Neruda myself! Thanks for the great list....didn't know poets used computers to help them rhyme. But why not?

    BlueRectangle Books

  7. Late to the party, but I thought I'd share an ideal book title, generated by the Bonsai link from a blog entry of mine:

    "The Self-Sustaining Power of Ineptitude"

  8. I love Neruda myself! Thanks for the great list....


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