I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2014 – The Lowdown

March is finally upon us. This means a few things: Spring is coming (for the northern hemisphere if this polar vortex ever releases us from its vice), a new slew of deadlines will blow right by (have you seen how many journals have deadlines for March 15th?), and my blog is about to explode with doodles and poetry.

For my doodleku veterans, I know this is old hat, but it never hurts to have a little review.

Doodleku? Whazzat?

In short: The combination of a doodle and a short poem.

In length: Some may consider it a sub-genre of haiga; however, there’s a tad more wiggle room for overlap in image and poem content than traditionally acceptable in haiga. The form is meant to be exceptionally playful, and may include haiku, tanka, senryu, kyoka, gogyoka, small stones, or really any short poem (10 lines or less). I’ll even open it up for some short poetic prose (say, 50 words or less).

Examples of doodleku can be found by clicking the tag “doodleku,” or browsing I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2012, I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2013, and the e-collection Things with Wings.

Okay, that’s cool. So what’s so special about March for doodleku?

It sort of fell into place due to the surrounding months: January for a couple hundred folks is the Mindful Writing Challenge, February is National Haiku Writing Month, and April is National Poetry Writing Month. March was just kind of sitting there; it looked like it needed some love. It was also worked well for me at the time.

When, in 2012, I had asked my followers if they would be interested in a month where I posted doodles and they wrote poems. Everyone more or less shouted, “Yes!” Stuff happened in March, which I called “I Doodle, You ‘Ku,” and now it’s back for its third year by popular demand.

Nifty! I’m game; what do I do now?

Just show up! I’ll post a doodle every day on the blog, and everyone is invited to write a poem in the comments to accompany it. Post as many poems as you like. As a note, it really helps if you set the comments so that there’s an email address or blog that I can find later if I need to contact you (see below).

Don’t worry about being “right” or “wrong.” Just jump in. Write what comes to mind. I like to think we’re a pretty friendly lot.

As a side note, you’ll be able to find all the days linked here. So if you miss a day, or want to go back and write more/edit, or read what others wrote, you can get to a specific day quickly.

What about when March is done? Is that it?

Not quite. At some point in the future, I’ll select my favorite poems from each day and put them together (with the doodles) in a free PDF collection. Since life has happened, I haven’t finished my projects from last year, so something for this year is probably a ways down the road. Nevertheless the idea is that at some point, you may get an email from me asking permission to use your poems (which is why it’s really important I have some way of contacting you).

The first year’s collection was Things with Wings (linked above). Other collaborative PDF collections can also be found under “Projects.”

A few final things to consider:

• Some journals may consider the works posted in comments as “published.”

• You, as the author, retain the rights to your work before and after it appears on my blog/in the eventual collection.

• I know many participants like to post the poems they write daily on their own blogs, but please do not post the doodles on your own site. That being said, feel free to link back to each daily prompt.

• Doodleku on!

I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2014 – The Lowdown

Mindful Writing 2014 – 18

I lean back, topless, over the edge of the tub with a dry wash cloth over my face. My mother tells me it’s coming, and I kindly ask her not to waterboard me with the white vinegar.

The chill slips over my scalp and splatters into the tub. My nose burns and I crave chips. The iciness comes after.

“I guess I should have heated it up first,” my mother comments.

It takes several pours before my hyper copper hair begins to absorb the vinegar. I shiver to the brink of feeling my teeth chatter, but she assures me the color is coming out.

first to drive
in the fresh snow
I round the corner
too fast—all the possibilities
before the car stops

Mindful Writing 2014 – 18

Do you need a doodle fix?

If it’s not obvious by now, I’m kind of into collaboration; I can’t get enough of it. Not convinced? Allow me to I draw your attention to March Mad Verse for a moment. Or maybe I Doodle, You ‘Ku and open email. Are we good to go? Great, let’s move on.

My friend HM Yuan and I have been saying for more than a while now that we should do something together. He’s an artist and graphic designer; I’m a writer (who pretends she’s an artist); he loves designing books; I love editing books; he loves the integration of text and image; I love the integration of text and image. He has an affinity for high-quality print, but has an interest in the potential of digital publications; so do I. We’re also both INTJs who can’t get enough of the color blue and Nickelback. The point is, it sounds like a really smart match for creating things, and we kind of need to do something about it.

We’ve tossed about several ideas over the last couple months, but everything fell flat (artist’s block, writer’s block, obligations at work, homework, more excuses, etc). As I stated, the March event will go on as planned, but I didn’t think you’d object to more doodleku (don’t think I didn’t hear you, Melissa Allen, being so demanding). One afternoon, the solution occurred to me: HM could doodle, you all could write, and then he and I could edit and come up with some spiffy collection.

How This Shindig Works:

The concept is essentially the same as I Doodle, You ‘Ku, which led to Things with Wings: During the month of January, I’ll post one of HM’s doodles every day. In response, everyone is invited to write and post in the comments a haiku, tanka, gogyoka, small stone, or any short poem (10 lines or less) to accompany the doodle. Write and post as many as you like; have fun with it. Doodleku are meant to be playful.

If you’re not familiar with doodleku, it is closely related to haiga (some call it a subgenre); however, sometimes there’s a little more overlap in image and poem content than may be traditionally acceptable in haiga. It’s meant to be exceptionally playful. Feel free to browse through the “doodleku” post tag or read Things with Wings. Or just jump in and write; we don’t bite.

Afterward, HM and I will go through and select our favorite poems written for each doodle and put them into a collection with the doodles. But don’t let this distract you—just have fun!

The first doodle will go up after I’ve had a bit of sleep.

A Few Things to Consider:

• Some journals may consider the works posted in comments as “published.”

• You, as the author, retain the rights to your work before and after it appears on my blog/in the final collection.

• I know many participants like to post the poems they write daily on their own blogs, but please do not post the doodles on your own site.

• Doodleku on!

Do you need a doodle fix?

Found in Song

I desperately wanted to do another Halloween theme here on Yay Words!, especially since the ball really got rolling with Tea with Trolls last year; however, it just wasn’t in the cards. (That being said, please think bout sending Margaret Dornaus poems for Día de los Muertos on her blog by October 26th!) As we round out 2012 and I try to think of something appropriate for New Years, I’ll have to shoot for Christmas instead.

About a month or so ago, while exchanging emails with a few other poets (namely Lucas Stensland), we started a series of exchanges of found poems using song titles. Within several rounds, I became undoubtedly addicted and entertained by the way these poems have been turning out (especially in the light of the dry spell with my own words as of late). So after kicking around possibilities and guidelines, I’d like to extend this challenge out to the rest of you.


1. You may only use song titles and/or band/artist names.

2. You may not add/subtract words, but you may add/subtract punctuation.

3. You may break a title up into several lines, but you may not merge two titles/names into one line. Unless it’s a one-liner. For example, this is acceptable:

summer fades . . .
before the light
takes us

(“Summer Fades” by Smoke Fairies; “Before the Light Takes Us” by Darkness Falls)

This is not:

[line 1]
I will wait 30 seconds
to Mars

(“I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons; 30 Seconds to Mars [band])

4. You must list all your sources, preferably in the order that they appear. For example:

dante’s prayer
lost in the echo
wild mountain thyme

“Dante’s Prayer” – Loreena McKennitt
“Lost in the Echo” – Linkin Park
“Wild Mountain Thyme” by Sarah Calderwood

I will take small, song-found poems until Thursday, December 20th. For this particular project, I will take up to 10, and ninety-nine percent of the time I’ll take at least one. I reserve the right to ask you to try again if nothing really catches my eye, but don’t take it as a brushoff; that really does mean try again!

Theme/What to write about: Found poems using song titles and/or band/artist names.

What form: Haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, gogyōka, renku, haibun, haiga (doodles most welcome!), small stones, short poems (up to 10 lines), prose poems (300 words or less), etc. Art is also encouaged!

How many: As many as you want! I will take as many as 10 and no less than 1.

When: Send them in by Thursday, December 20th (I will wait until the whole world has reached the 20th); I will post a PDF on this blog as close to Christmas as I can manage. With any luck, on Christmas day!

Where to send: Either leave a comment to this post or send an email to aubriecox [at] gmail [dot] com. If you email, put “SING” in the subject line, if you please. If you leave a comment, please know that it may take me longer to get back to you, because I’ll sometimes wait until around the deadline to address comment submissions.

Other important stuff:

Things you should keep in mind/include (the usual, but some more relevant than others for this particular challenge):

• Most journals will consider these works published

• If your work is already published, include the publishing credits (it’s kind of important and a nice thing to do)

• You, as the writer/artist/poet/etc, retain the rights to you work before and after it appears on my blog/in the PDF.

• If you want me to link back, please send along the name and link of your blog/Twitter account/website/etc! Also, make sure your have your name listed as you would like for it to appear.

Found in Song