The Most Effective Writing Prompt

PokeEarlier today a friend, and fellow poet, Thom Ingram posted a tweet on Twitter that said:

“You Can” for @WillBrown at

Rightfully intrigued, I followed the link and found a poem entitled “You Can” for Will Brown.

It was a short poem that I interpret to mean that you should always be ready to receive inspiration. Not only that, but to somehow capture the thought, the seed, and save it for later. For a time when you can be alone and plant that thought again in your mind.

But that was not the important part.

The greater realization came from the fact that Thom reached out to inspire a fellow poet.

As poets, in order to be effectively inspired, we must link arms with other poets. Friends that, whenever you have any contact with them, ask you if you are writing. Gordon Buss asked me this very question a couple of days ago in an email. I was inspired then as well.

But inspiration can only go so far. As Thom says in the last lines of the poem: “Your pen before ink runs dry. Sins to just think.”

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Despite Death Threats, Poet Hissa Hilal Speaks for the Silent

Saudi Arabian poet Hissa Hilal recently took part in a poetry competition for an Abu Dhabi TV show called “Million’s Poet“. The name comes from the fact that the top poet receives a one million dollar prize. I could go into a five paragraph post on that alone, and perhaps I will eventually, but the most remarkable part of this story is that she performed at all.

Hissa received death threats as the result of her appearances on the show and for the words she spoke. She didn’t just speak poems of love and nature, but she chose the opportunity to speak about issues of women’s equality in a region where the phrase is scoffed at and demeaned. Her courage in this competition earned her and the women of the region more than that one million dollars could have ever purchased.

Every time we speak out what we as poets believe, we speak for those who have the same thoughts and words, but don’t have the means to share them. We have our open mics, blogs, podcasts, books, and magazines to speak truth as we know it. We have the opportunity to reach more people than some will ever reach in their entire lives.

Embrace that, poet.

Here’s a video from ABC Nightly News where Hissa Hilal is featured as the Person of the Week. I hope it inspires you.

Here’s an article from ABC as well, in case the video is regionalized by ABC: Person of the Week: Poet Hissa Hilal

The Slam Idol Podcast Celebrates 5 Years of Poetry!

Slam Idol PodcastCongratulations to Simon from Slam Idol! Yesterday, April 1st, he celebrated 5 years of producing The Slam Idol Podcast. The longest running and most consistent poetry podcast ever.

As you can tell by searching this site, I’ve been a big fan all this time.

Many poetry related podcasts came on the scene after his 2005 debut with big dreams and aspirations–I was one of them. I have seen many come and go. Some of them I missed.

So, what was the secret in the success of Slam Idol? Simplicity. A simple concept. A great idea that rose above the technology. Too many of us poetry podcasters were more focused on the tools rather than the art we were supposed to be representing.

The main focus of those of us with this gift, this ability to take a poem that very few have ever heard and share it with hundreds of people from around the world, should be remembered in its simplest form.


Don’t worry about getting the best microphone. Don’t worry about having the nicest looking blog. Don’t worry about monetizing the art.

Just share.

That’s what Simon did so well. He consistently put the poet before the technology. He then followed that with the slow tweaking of the medium.

Before he purchased his own hosting he was at (free). Then he bought his own domain name,, which he hosted at GoDaddy for free as well I believe. Eventually he moved over to Podshow, now Mevio, and now is hosting his site on a full domain. All over the course of five years.

All this while, rather than constantly playing with the tech, he shared. Poets from around the world received listens and votes from poetry lovers from around the world.

Well done, Simon!

Simon is taking a bold step and totally revamping what Slam Idol is be begetting the Slam Stream. If you haven’t followed his discussion listen to Slam Idol #297 and my interview with him to hear where he’s going.

It has that same feel of the early Slam Idol experience for me. A new experience in waters where few have tread before.

I’m going for a swim. How about you?