• Micro Fiction Challenge: Poetaster

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Micro Fiction Challenge     Comments 7 comments

    PoetasterThis month’s Micro Fiction Challenge (“poetaster“) has a great chance of being less scatalogical than last month’s (“break of poop“).

    It also has a great chance of being less eschatalogical — an alarming number of you  had death on the mind, offering grave stories about people and puppies sliding off of ships and into the dark and unforgiving sea. Lots of flotsam in our fiction. Or is it jetsam?

    The Word

    We are all acquainted with at least one inferior poet. That is, we all have our own personal poetaster.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, nobody sends you more of his/her own poetry than your personal poetaster. And nobody handles criticism with less grace than your personal poetaster.

    Poeta (Latin for “poet”) + -aster (English, meaning “inferior”) = poetaster. Inferior poet.


    The Pronunciation

    The third syllable rhymes with the -aster in “disaster”; the word is not pronounced poet-taster. But if, in your story, you want to play around with “poet” and “taste,” go right ahead.

    In other words, don’t worry about pronunciation. These stories are for the page, not the podium.

    And if poe-taster is more your style, and Edgar Allan Poe makes an appearance in your piece, we won’t be disappointed.

    (But if Edgar Allen Poe shows up, you may be disqualified. Depends on our mood.)


    The Rules

    In 25 words or fewer, write a story containing the word “poetaster.” Be funny, be bold. Make us cry, make us cower in fear.

    Type or paste your story into the comments below. Use a pseudonym if you’re shy. Click “Notify” to follow the competition. Multiple entries allowed.


    The Prize

    We’ve got a whole stack o’ books to give away, so the winner gets his/her choice of any two books from the list, which I will pass along.

    I hope that you’re all rocking your 2016 writing resolutions. If you’re not, maybe a little micro fiction is just the thing you need to get going.

    See? It’s fun *and* practical!


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    B. Holloway

    Awaking in the Lethe
    Her orbs misty
    Ra’s chariot draws nigh
    Dawn, forsooth
    She gather’s the night’s bounty
    & brews a pot o’
    Poetaster’s Choice

    Mark Hankins

    He ate some Eliot. “Too difficult.” Some Frost. “Too simple.”
    Then he ate Millay. “Just right,” the poetaster said.

    Anthony M.

    Virginia Eliza Clemm never wrote a verse in her short life, yet whom among us can claim that she was anything but the original poetaster?

    (Hey, you asked for it…)


    “You’re a poetaster,” she said to the poetaster.
    “Thanks!” the poetaster said.
    See, he doesn’t have much of a vocabulary.


    Evenings, she sat in her usual spot and observed the hipster poetasters slurping sugar-ladened walnut lattes and fingering their nipple rings through vintage silk shirts.

    Brenda H.

    Q. What’s the difference between a poetaster and a prosetaster?

    A. A prosetaster doesn’t wear as much “writer garb.” And prosetaster isn’t a word.

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x