Friday, February 10, 2017

Thought Provokers

Who are you and who did you come from?

The amazing Natasha Marin, whose poetry I shared with you recently in the latest 'I Wish I'd Written This', thinks outside the box and seeks to make the traditionally solitary exercise of writing poetry a communal experience.

One way she does this is via a project called Red Lineage, in which the word 'red' signifies blood, and bloodline – our commonality, in fact. In this project we may all assert, in a poem (a short one with a particular, powerful and resonant formula) what we perceive about our own heritage, and those things about it which we regard as important

This is where our thoughts can be provoked today, in exploring what we find and how to say it.

Heck, go and have a look at what Natasha and others have done already! 

First, here is her original poem:

My name is Redbone.
My mother's name is Staunch Red.
My father's name is Red-eye Red.

I come from a people known for flagrance & survival.
Remember me.

It appears at her website here, along with a succinct explanation of the interactive project – and do look, too, at all three of the wonderful videos on the same page, from a Red Lineage workshop. Then please also listen to the audios of that workshop, here, which provide a different experience again. 

I defy you not to want to join in! And you can. Indeed, you are encouraged to do so. In answer to my request to share her project with you, Natasha Marin writes:

'Yes, feel free to teach/share the Red Lineage with anyone you'd like. My only request is that you enter them in the official Red Lineage database (or forward electronic copies to me to enter).'

Isn't she generous? And her request makes sense, in keeping with the community spirit of the project.  To add your own, click this link, then find the drop-down menu at 'Explore' and select +Add Your Lineage. The lines are already there and you just need to fill in the words specific to you.

Because they are short, you may also record your poems in the Comments below, so we United Poets can all read each other's – and please do. (Of course you may post them at your own blogs too, if you wish – with this link to the original project: 

It would be great if you record them at the database yourselves, but if you have trouble doing so, please let me know in your Comment and I'll either do it for you or send them to her. (I already did my own, when I first discovered Red Lineage.)

This writing cannot be done without thinking deeply about our personal heritage – which I found quite a lovely thing to do. For some, perhaps, it may be more confronting than lovely, but I don't doubt it will be worthwhile. Also you can use the exercise to assert a heritage not only of your own truth but also of your own choice.

Incidentally, you don't have to make your own name the way she makes hers (though I did). You may put the 'Red' last, like a surname, for yourself as well as for your parents. 

Theoretically one could write many such poems, since people have more than one defining characteristic. But I gather she wants only one from each person entered into the database, so go deep, please, and get to the essence! When I did that, I surprised myself by what I found and wanted to say. And yet it didn't take long. The deep truths, deeply known, may be well within reach. 

And what do these pictures of roses have to do with it? As some of you know, I post roses daily on facebook, with good wishes for everyone – and people respond with delight, and tell me they look for them each day. From starting as a nice idea, this has become an important commitment and self-expression.

And so, here is my Red Lineage poem:

My name is Redrose.
My mother's name is Soft Red.
My father's name is Lively Red.
I come from a people known for loving words.
Remember me.

(The ambiguity in the second-last line is intentional.)

Checking the link again for this post, I see she has added another space, for 'After I go ...' and we now get a second space to describe the people we come from – so perhaps I'll return and fill that in too. After all, there is nothing to stop anyone from participating more than once.

So, to recap, please share your lineage poem at Natasha's site, and also post it in the comments here (and at your blog too if you wish, with a link back to the site). If you can't do it at the site, tell me and I will.

Material shared in 'Thought Provokers' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors. (The photos used in this post are mine.)


  1. Oh, I love this thought-provoking feature, which may spark some fine poems in response. What a wonderful project this is. People are so Talented! Thanks, Rosemary, and kudos to Natasha.

  2. I look forward to taking part when I can free an hour. In the meantime: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for continuing to inspire us!

  3. Thank you Susan and Sherry for taking the time to read and comment, when I know you have huge things happening in your lives right now. The under-the-dashboard stats tell me many more people have viewed but not commented. I very much appreciate those who do, but numbers have certainly fallen away over recent months – and I wonder why? Is everyone just too busy with the end-of-the-week / weekend upon us? Has the US election left people too gobsmacked to think of much else? Or am I appealing to a niche market, a select few, instead of serving the whole community? Is there something you'd like me to start doing? Is there something you'd like me to stop doing?

  4. This is very interesting Rosemary but I couldn't get to her page as Error / Page Not Found etc. is coming. May be I'm making some mistakes.

    1. Sorry, don't know why you are having that problem. But there was a mistake in my link to the 'I Wish' feature, which I have now corrected. All the links now take me where I mean them to go.

    2. Thanks Rosemary. I just found out +Add Your Lineage and filled up the gaps. Had fun doing that.Thank you.

    3. Thanks again, Sumana. I have now added more detailed instructions in my post. Please will you also share your lineage poem here, as a comment?

  5. I'm. Preparing to travel, so don't have time to sit quietly for introspection. I sense this exercise is very self-revealing. Thank you Rosemary. Will try to get to it during the week.

    1. Thanks, Myrna. I am eager of course (and perhaps impatient) to see what people come up with – but if it is a thing you would like to do, you can always return to it later. The link at the Red Lineage site will stay open indefinitely.

  6. Ah well, I did write a second one, which I also posted to the site – to take in the new section, and to rethink what I said before:

    My name is Witchpoet Red
    My mother’s name is Fearful Red
    My father’s name is Remorseful Red
    I come from a people who are known for adoration of language and delight in Nature.
    After I go, I will leave my words scattered like feathers, which may be found and kept or be reabsorbed back into the earth.
    Remember me.

  7. Sure Rosemary:)

    My name is Redheart Red.
    My mother's name is Wholehearted Red.
    My father's name is Ethereal Red.
    I come from a people who are known for sprightly spirit and

    ooops! I've forgotten the second word and I don't have any copy of it. Before adding anything in the 'After I go section' I pressed the 'Remember Me' button by mistake and all was gone! And I didn't find any way of seeing my own or others' words.

  8. I fell behind again because now that the rain is over I'm riding my bike every day before we have another week of rain storms.

    Lately I've been making an effort to read and comment on everyone's poetry and not getting the return I used to. I feel the lack of comments. (Probably the wrong time to start an image prompt but what the hey.)

    This sounds really cool but I'll have to come back to it I got to this late as it is. I hope everyone feels better.

  9. Hi Rosemary, this was an interesting project. I posted mine at Natasha's site. Thanks for the work and info you included here.

  10. Very interesting concept of the bloodline

    Much love...

  11. Rosemary, this is amazing....and so much more difficult to actually do than I thought it would be at first glance. Will ping back when I post. Thanks for the great prompt :-)

  12. Dear Rosemary
    'The very words 'Thought Provokers' are striking enough..the poetic expressions too are indeed out of the box but poetry is truthful'...and it has the power to change inspiration is to write about myself..My name is star...I was born in people still suppressed murdered father a mother 'pillar of patience..are we really free...? Thank you for sharing this amazing write...

  13. Rosemary---I would like to be able to read other people's Red Lineage poems on Natasha's site and can't seem to find where they are. Do you know??

    1. Apologies, didn't see this earlier. You can listen to them on audio at this link:


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