Writing Exercise – little willies

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.

 In the drinking-well
(Which the plumber built her)
Aunt Eliza fell,
We must buy a filter.
Col D Streamer,
Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes

The original Ruthless Rhymes (Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes or check out the ruthless rhymes web page) were written by Col D Streamer, pen name of Harry Graham. These were published in the early 1900s at a time when dark and sinister humour was prevalent in the pages of published works. Graham is also the name most commonly associated with the poetry phenomena of Little Willies. Little Willies are poems that catalogue the dark catastrophes and grim activities surrounding the eponymous Little Willie.

Little Willie from his mirror
Sucked the mercury all off,
Thinking, in his childish error,
It would cure his whooping-cough.

At the funeral, Willie’s mother
Smartly said to Mrs. Brown,
”T was a chilly day for William
When the mercury went down.”
Samuel Reynolds Hole
A Little Tour in America
Poetry pages soon became replete with Little Willies, produced by a broad variety of authors and written to varying degrees of success. These set a precedent that paved the way for the line drawings and memorable couplets of Edward Gorey with works such as his delightfully deviant Gashlycrumb Tinies.

A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
B is for Basil assaulted by bears…
Edward Gorey
Gashlycrumb Tinies
What does any of this have to do with writing erotica? Well, that’s your exercise for this month. Produce quatrains or couplets that are delightfully deviant. Write something that blunders into rhyme and tells a cold and brutal story in the shortest and most simplistic manner. Dare to be vulgar and write something about little willies.

They climbed the hilltop just to have sex
Did the nursery rhyme Jackie and Jilly
But she pushed him down and made him her ex
Disappointed by his little willy.

I won’t write any more here this month. I’ll simply end by asking you to share your little willies in the comments box below.
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Writing Exercise – the minute poem

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.
 The Minute Poem is a form that follows an 8, 4, 4, 4 syllable count structure. It usually has 3 stanzas that are exactly the same: 8, 4, 4, 4;  8, 4, 4, 4;  8, 4 , 4, 4 syllables.
A traditional Minute Poem has 12 lines in total. It is written in a strict iambic meter. The rhyme scheme is as follows: aabb, ccdd, eeff.
In this traditional example I’ve included both the rhyme scheme (aabb, ccdd, eeff) and the syllable count (8,4,4,4 for each stanza).
You come to me in saucy mood
You’re feeling rude
You want my dick
You want it quick
At first we cuddle, then we kiss
It feels like bliss
Our passions soar
We both want more
It’s all over too fast for you
What can I do?
Speed’s in my plan:
the minute man
Alternatively, there’s also a non-traditional minute poem. This adaptation doesn’t have to rhyme but it should follow the established syllable count.
Our naked bodies give shared warmth
they entertain
arouse, inspire
and so much more
We’ve been together for so long
It feels just like
eternity
but I want more
As long as our shared pleasures please
I’ll always try
to be with you
and give you more
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Writing Exercise – the rhyme royal

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
James I of Scotland

For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.

The rhyme royal (sometimes called the rime royale by those who prefer to spell things incorrectly) is a fairly straightforward poetic form.

It refers to a stanza of seven lines, each line containing ten syllables, and the whole poem following a rhyming pattern of a b a b b c c. The form, according to the Poetry Foundation, was popularized by Geoffrey Chaucer and termed “royal” because his imitator, James I of Scotland, employed this structure in his own verse.

Here’s an example of one I wrote earlier.


We talk about our plans for this evening
Things we’d love to do when at our leisure
I long to give your sexual bells a ring:
Thrill you with a night you’ll always treasure.
In return you give a choice of pleasure
But I care not if you swallow or spit
I’m happy if you put your mouth round it.

Note that there are ten syllables per line. This isn’t iambic pentameter. This is merely ten syllables per line. Writing in iambs might make for something more profound but, as regular readers of these exercises will be aware, I am an exceptionally superficial poet.

One of the many fun things about this form is that the stanzas can be used to form verses in a longer poem. This is the way Chaucer used it in his work and we can see examples of this in Wyatt, Auden and many others.

I pluck your pubes from twixt my teeth and smile
The taste of you still lingers on my lips
Your scent’s a mem’ry that’s made to beguile
I yearn to squirm beneath your fingertips
And play with toys like canes and crops and whips
And savour pleasures borne beyond belief
Then pluck more pubes from in between my teeth
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Writing Exercise – the villanelle

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.
 The villanelle is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines.

This is a complex form – but it’s worth persevering.

The villanelle has been used for such memorable poems as Dylan Thomas’s ‘Do Not Go Gentle into that Goodnight’, Theodore Roethke’s ‘The Waking’ and Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song.’ Writing a villanelle is not easy but, once you’ve accomplished it, you’re in good company.

You may do me, and I will owe you one
Or until then I shall owe one to you
This lovers’ trade is really not a con

I guarantee it will be lots of fun
For me, at least (which might be nothing new)
You may do me, and I will owe you one

We shouldn’t start a sexu’l marathon
I know we’ve both got other things to do
This lovers’ trade is really not a con

But I’d like it if you could get me done
I don’t care if you suck or if we screw
You may do me, and I will owe you one

We’d celebrate with chilled Dom Perignon
I’ve brought a demi and champagne flutes: two
This lovers’ trade is really not a con

To get me off we’ll have to get it on
My need for satisfaction’s overdue
You may do me, and I will owe you one
This lovers’ trade is really not a con

There is a formula:  A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2. Here the letters (a and b) indicate the two rhyme sounds. The use of upper case letters indicates a refrain. And the superscript numerals indicate the different use of refrain one and refrain two.

Would another example help to illustrate the form better?

You ask me if I’d like to be restrained
A1
You think our love could flourish with me bound
b
You claim you want to see me being chained
A2 


This interest in restraint is unexplained
a
And I think our relationship is sound
b
You ask me if I’d like to be restrained
A1


You say I should be physically detained
a
Or tied up like some safe/secured hound
b
You claim you want to see me being chained
A2 


I say, “Perhaps I might like being caned?”
a
Your eagerness does not get off the ground
b
You ask me if I’d like to be restrained
A1


You say my problem is that I’m untrained
a
You bring out rope next time we fool around
b
You claim you want to see me being chained
A2 


We tried it way back once and I complained
a
But with a gag I didn’t make a sound
b
You ask me if I’d like to be restrained
A1
You claim you want to see me being chained
A2 

The villanelle is a lot of fun to work with. It is a complex form but I figure those who’ve been reading these columns over the past year or so will be ready for the adventure of a greater challenge.
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Writing Exercise – Ottava Rima

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.
 We vow tonight will be an early night
We both have work to do tomorrow morn
But now, before I kill the bedroom light
I plead for you to tend to my hard horn.
The mood is set. The time seems very right.
We’re both fired up from watching hardcore porn
I do those things you tell me you adore
And then I stop ‘cos you’ve started to snore.
The Ottava Rima describes eight lines of poetry set out in the form: a b a b a b c c. These eight lines can represent a single poem or a collection of these stanzas can make up a longer work.
Originally, when it was brought to us from the Italian language, the Ottava Rima had 11 syllables per line. Because this form was then appropriated by English speakers in the 16th century, when iambic pentameter was all the rage, those 11 syllables were reduced to ten. In the following you’ll note that I’ve used some lines with ten and some with 11 syllables.
We did it whilst you cooked a sweet ‘n’ sour
We did it on the table in the kitchen
We did it whilst I read King’s The Dark Tower
We did it whilst you sewed and did some stitchin’
We did it in the bathroom in the shower
We did it even though your crotch was itchin’
On that morning we earned a world renown
To kill time whilst our ISP was down
The Ottava Rima is a lot of fun. It’s been used for a variety of disparate purposes including religious verse, comedy, troubadour songs and dramatic narratives. It’s been used by a host of impressive names including Fairfax, Byron and Burgess. As always, the challenge this month is to use this form to present something erotic.
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Writing Exercise – the Quatern

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.
 The quatern is a sixteen line French form composed of four quatrains (four line stanzas).

The quatern has a refrain (a repeated line) that is in a different place in each quatrain. In other words, the first line of stanza one is the second line of stanza two, the third line of stanza three and the fourth line of stanza four. It’s surprising how much this affects the meaning of the words in that refrain.

A quatern should have eight syllables per line. It does not have to be iambic or follow a set rhyme scheme.

I don’t know why you won’t undress
Your clothes are getting in my way
I say this to you night and day
It leaves our love life in a mess

And so I tell my therapist
I don’t know why you won’t undress
It stops me trying to caress
The parts I think you needed kissed

But he tells me to give you time
He says you don’t need my duress
I don’t know why you won’t undress
I worry you’re no longer mine

I hear my therapist confess
He’s seeing you: You’re deemed a slut
He wants some advice from me but
I don’t know why you won’t undress

I have to admit, I love poems that work with refrains. All poems get us thinking about words and the way we use them in different fashions. The use of a refrain, especially with such a didactic placement as the one in the quatrain, makes us think more about our selection of choice phrases.
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Call for Submissions – Coming Together in Verse

One or two helpful authors have pointed out that there was some ambiguity in my previous call for submissions, so I’ve removed the parts that were causing confusion.

I’m asking for your best poems. 


Coming Together: In Verse  will be a collection of erotic poetry and risqué verse edited by Ashley R Lister. Sales proceeds benefit Hope for Paws.
Erica Jong said, “Poetry is what we turn to in the most emotional moments of our lives – when a beloved friend dies, when a baby is born, when we fall in love.” Wallace Stevens said, “A poet looks atthe world the way a man looks at a woman.” Edgar Allan Poe said, “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” Most of us agree, when it comes to expressing passion, there is nothing more effective than poetry.
Whether it’s blank or free verse, or a rigid rhyming metrical form, well-written poetry can touch us in places deeper and more personally than any fiction. There’s nothing sexier than a poem that speaks to us on such an intimate level.
Author, lecturer and occasional performance poet, Ashley R Lister, is looking for your best pieces of original poetry, erotic verse, risqué rhymes, cheeky cinquains or saucy sonnets. The collection will contain a broad range of quality erotic poetry submissions, from the rude, ribald and vulgar through to the suggestive, sensuous and sensitive.
Standard Rules apply: No underage, no non-consensual, no scat, incest, or necrophilia. Any pairings or groupings accepted and encouraged.
Deadline for submissions is October 1, 2015.
Send poems double-spaced, 12 point font (Times New Roman or Georgia) in .doc or .rtf format to me@ashleylister.co.uk, with “ATTN: Coming Together, your pen-name, your story title” in the subject line. British English grammar please. Double quotes around dialogue.
Only submit your final, best version of the poem; do not send multiple versions of the same piece. Up to three poems will be considered from each author. Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable and be clear which one is which), mailing address, and up to 250 word bio. You will be notified as to the status of your poem by no later than November 1, 2015.

This is a charity anthology. Contributors will receive ebook copies of the publication. Additional compensation is likely to come in karma and tax-write offs. Hope for Paws will benefit from all proceeds. Hope for Paws is a non-profit animal rescue organisation. They rescue dogs (and other animals) who are suffering on the streets and in shelters. Their goal is to educate people on the importance of companion animals in our society. Find out more at hopeforpaws.org

Writing Exercise – the tritina

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.
 Whenever I teach poetry, there will often be a student arguing against rhyme or railing against the discipline of meter or battling the regimented notion of syllable counting. My usual response, that the practice of poetry is assisted by working to the structure of established forms, often seems like a poor comeback. Oftentimes, as a compromise, we’ll end up working on the tritina.

The tritina is a ten line form of unrhymed poetry, broken into three tercets (three-lined stanzas) with a final, solitary, line.  The device that makes the tritina remarkable is its use of repeated words, once in each line, in the pattern of A B C, C A B, B C A. The final line of the tritina includes all three of the A B C words.

Kisses, Crops and Canes

For years they met and shared their kisses
Sating a passion for crops
Exploring a passion for canes

They learnt each other’s favourite canes
Then chased each stripe with tender kisses
And chased each kiss with cruel crops

Eventually they outgrew crops
Their need for pain outgrew the canes
But never once did they eschew kisses

Kisses do so much more than crops and canes


You’ll notice here that the ABC words kisses(A)crops(B) and canes(C) are repeated at the end of the lines in the aforementioned pattern: A B C, C A B, B C A. In the final line it doesn’t matter about the order of the three words as long as they’re all there.

Kneel and Worship

When we meet you insist that I should kneel
(before we undress, touch, or kiss) and
you insist that at your feet I worship

It helps that you’re so worthy of worship
and that I need to kneel
at your feet and

remain there paying homage and
promising other forms of worship
that I might still do whilst I kneel

How I love to hear you whisper: “Kneel and worship.”

There is no fixed meter, although the poem appears to work best when each line contains a similar number of syllables. In this one you’ll notice that the ABC words kneel(A)and(B) and worship(C) are repeated (again) in the aforementioned pattern: A B C, C A B, B C A. I’ve managed to get my ABC words as the last three in the final line – although this isn’t a necessity.
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Writing Exercise – the sonnet

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.

I figured it was time to look at the sonnet. However, the sonnet is not a simple warm-up exercise to be tackled before writing a day’s worth of prose. The complexities of the sonnet can steal an hour from the most talented writer, and maybe take a month from the rest of us. I offer this as a project to pick at over the next month, whenever you’re between bursts of inspiration.


The Rules:
All sonnets contain 14 lines. 

There are three main styles of sonnet: Petrachan, Spenserian and Shakespearian. Each one of these forms is made distinctive by its rhyme scheme.

Sonnets are usually written in iambic pentameter (that is, ten syllables made up of five unstressed/stressed pairings).

Because this month celebrates Shakespeare’s birthday, I figured it would be appropriate to consider the Shakespearian form. The Shakesperian sonnet usually follows the rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg.

Sonnet 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
   So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
W. Shakespeare

In the example above we can see the poem divided into the three quatrains (abab cdcd efef) and a final couplet (gg).

We can also see the volta or turn on the ninth line. The volta of the ninth line is a traditional turnaround in opinion from the poet. Note how, in the first eight lines, the persona of this poem has been telling us that the addressee is lovelier than a summer’s day. Summer is crap in comparison to the addressee. In the ninth line the direction changes. Shakespeare moves on to discuss the summer that the addressee will be facing in future years.

The final couplet, usually, brings all this together.

How can we apply this to erotic poetry? Let’s try the following:

Sonnet 18+
Shall I compare thee to a porno star?
Thou art more lovely and more sexy too:
I’ve yearned to have you naked in my car,
And I would really love to service you:

Sometimes you let me glimpse your muffin tops,
Your shorts reveal your sweet and cheeky cheeks,
The view’s enough to make my loins go pop,
And make me long to have more than a peak:

But I know you’re no exhibitionist,
You’d never ever play games of team tag,
Not even if I got you truly pissed,
Because, I know, you’re really not a slag,

So long as I can hope there’s half a chance,
   I’ll dream about what’s there inside your pants.
A Lister
If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

Writing Exercise – the triolet

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html
For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I’m going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.


My fingers slip between your thighs
You part your legs and beg for more
Desire burning in your eyes
My fingers slip between your thighs
And as I listen to your sighs
And feel you dripping from your core
My fingers slip between your thighs
You part your legs and beg for more

The triolet is a one stanza, eight line poem with a distinctive rhyme scheme of ABaAabAB. Usually it’s written in iambic tetrameter (in other words, it typically includes eight syllables per line). Note here that the capital A and B refer to refrains: lines that are repeated later in the poem.

My fingers slip between your thighs
You part your legs and beg for more
Desire burning in your eyes
My fingers slip between your thighs
And as I listen to your sighs
And feel you dripping from your core
My fingers slip between your thighs
You part your legs and beg for more

A
B
a
A
a
b
A
B

In the above example we can see that the refrain lines are:

My fingers slip between your thighs
and
You part your legs and beg for more

That the poem keeps returning to these lines gives them a sense of gravitas and importance. This helps to give the triolet a hypnotic feel that adds to the appeal of this often overlooked form. Note also that the musicality of the form can help writers to include par rhymes, as with the example below:

You kiss the riding crop’s flat tip
And promise not to err again
You licked the leather on the whip
You kiss the riding crop’s flat tip
You swear you didn’t mean to slip
And beg me for your punishment
You kiss the riding crop’s flat tip
And promise not to err again

If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html