The capital of the Netherlands, according to Whale Child. I wish I could get into his head and see how he imagines it. Like something out of Richard Scarry, with hordes of hamsters driving the trams and skating on the canals and eating poffertjes?

Unrelated Whale Childism: Mom, if you fell off a cliff I would be sad as big as a dinosaur. No, as big as God.

Where did this come from?

Do I look like I’m about to fall off a cliff?

workshopping blank verse

Ahem. I’ll have a round of applause, please. For what? For workshopping a metrical piece! Who would ever – ever – have thought that I would ever post anything in Metrical? 

Well, I have. I workshopped lines 175-190 (This House) from my blank verse challenge – at the Gazebo here, and at PFFA here.

Both sites have separate areas for metrical poetry which, I am ashamed to admit, I have not hitherto frequented much at all. Neither do too many other people, it seems. There is somewhat more traffic in the Gazebo’s metrical forum, but both are pretty low-traffic areas.

Shame, eh? Go post some metrical poetry, people!


Sometimes when you’re having a back and forth with someone and they begin (hulLO) to lean towards your point of view, this disgruntles them, so, even as they become prepared to accept and to indicate that they accept the way you see things, they snipe. They say things that are snipey. And you see that the snipey things they say mean that they are coming round to your point of view. And you see that what you have to do is not to respond to the snipey with snipey, even though you really want to, because if you do they may very well and probably will dig their heels in and go back to their old unenlightened position and actually think they are justified in doing so because you turned snipey on them.


Not responding to snipey is so HARD.

Question for magazine editors

January’s asking the question.

If you’re a magazine editor, do you accept poems that have been posted on personal blogs? Let us know — edit your submissions guidelines!

If you’re a poet who worries that posting poems to your blog might jeopardize future publication opportunities – post the question too. Let’s reach all the magazine editors out there.

Hey, magazine editors!

Please edit your submission guidelines! Let us know: Are blog-posted poems no-go areas for you, or not?

If everyone who reads this posts a similar query on their blog, I bet we could reach every poetry magazine editor out there, and then…..! We would have to think up some other perenially nagging-at-the-back-of-our-minds-question.

Post the question. Let’s get this sorted.

query to poetry magazine editor

Email query dated May 11, 2007: 

Dear Editor of Magazine X: I would like to submit some work to “Magazine X”, but am not sure, when you say you do not accept “work previously published on the web”, whether you include in that definition work that has been posted on one’s personal blog. I usually post much of my own work in this fashion (although I do delete it once it has been accepted for publication). Thanks, Nic

Nic Sebastian
Very Like A Whale

Response dated May 13, 2007:


Not a problem with it previously appearing on your personal site. We’re just not interested in work that’s already appeared in another online journal — it has a way of becoming incestuous.

Looking forward to reading your work.

Editor, Magazine X

BV 1000 today

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

252 / 1,000

l. 231-244 – July in Kansas
l. 245-252 – Appalachian Bailiff

More reworked old material. Lots of anapests today. Some trochees. A headless iamb (I think). Two hypermetricals: l.239 and l.244.

“Expect to use one hypersyllabic foot in ten years, perhaps.”

Mary Oliver, Rules for the Dance, p. 92.

(Hypermetrical and hypersyllabic are the same thing, right?) 

I kind of like all those anapests in the first four lines, all the movement tied to setting the stage, but I definitely didn’t plan it that way.

I guess at some point I need to start thinking about how to use variations on purpose in specific places to create specific effects.


One quarter of the way there!


My Standing Page
Julie’s BV 1000
Scavella’s BV 1000


Well, I recorded the passage from An Essay on Criticism, the bit that begins: Expression is the dress of thought. (Full text here.) Not easy to read and I had to do it about five hundred and seventy-five times and still flubbed the last part, sorry. At that point, after so many tries, I just couldn’t face going all the way back. Best line is the wounded snake line in heptameter.

Bonus item: A great bit from Pope’s Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot:

Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigu’d, I said,
Tie up the knocker, say I’m sick, I’m dead.
The dog-star rages! nay ’tis past a doubt,
All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out:
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
They rave, recite, and madden round the land

Who knew they had NaPo back then?!


Trying out metrical reading on A Sound Blog. The stuff I find I really want to read is not BV at all (yay for anapests and Annabel Lee and The Destruction of Sennacherib!) so here’s a compromise – Marvell (in IT, thanks, Harry), because Marvell is mostly fun (he’s the one with the lady raving over entrails in a cave. With horrid care, no less.)

I’m mulling over a passage in heroic couplets (thanks, Harry) – from Pope’s Essay on Criticism – that I may record and put up later. Or not.  

I have to say that some of that old BV stuff (Milton, Keats, Shelley, anyone?) is seriously unenthralling. At the moment.