How I Find Poetry Topics

How I Find Topics

  • I like odd facts.
  • I go to a bookstore.
  • I go to the magazine section.
  • I look for science magazines.
  • I scan the covers and look for single sentence teasers—something that makes me curious.
  • I will quote the sentence on the first line and give credit to the magazine.
  • I’m off and running with a new poem.

Here’s a poem from my collection that used that technique for a new topic. Surprising facts leads to curious connections. I never know where I will end up.

Tuning Manual


“Most toilets flush in the key of E flat.”

                —BBC Knowledge Magazine

                                           June, 2010


There is such harmony

in the world and now

we have the final word.


Jimi Hendrix tuned

his guitar in E flat


and now we learn he

could have sung to

a flushing toilet.


I feel better now,

knowing I’m in good

historical company


as I sing in the shower

in a comfortable key.

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