The Aubade is an old poetic form dating back to as early as the 12th century.  According to Edward Hirsch, an aubade is “A dawn song expressing the regret of parting lovers at daybreak…It remembers the ecstasy of union.  But it also describes a parting at dawn.”


by J. P. Dancing Bear

A parting at dawn

I awake unwilling to admit the time
or distance myself from your warmth.
The room is nothing more than the rise
and fall of your breathing.  I slip out
of sheets into a cold hour, ready
Myself to the traffic of my commute.
For long moments, I watch and am lost,
as if I had never before seen  you
sleeping, dreaming.


An excerpt from an interview by Kathryn Wagner with poet, J. P. Dancing Bear

“When you write poetry is there any one so-called technique that works for you?
I get a line or two that comes to me. Sometimes I know what the content of the poem will be — other times, I just have words burning in me, seeking a release. In either case, I hold them in my head for as long as I can.  I let them pool and become somewhat of a chant or a rhythm — something I can build from. Finally the dam breaks, they are ready to be written down, the other lines flow out. Then I do the business of cleaning up after the flood.
How has your writing evolved as you’ve grown as a poet?
I think the most significant thing for me is that I’ve slowed down. I take my time and therefore I don’t dash out five poems on the same subject, but one poem that stews on it.  I also think that I spend more time with the images and the metaphors — I explore them.”
 Poet and author, J.P. DANCING BEAR is the author of various chapbooks, including What Language, which won the 2002 Slipstream Poetry prize, and Blue Hand. He is the Editor-in-Chief of DMQ Review and the owner of Dream Horse Press, a publishing company.
Writing Prompt:
One thing about poetic forms is that you can usually find one to hold almost any feeling.  Write your own aubade.  Make it personal to you.


Listing Your Endless Curiosities & Writing Historical Fiction

Isn’t that one huge key to being a writer?  That curiosity which leads you down a lane to explore and discover what’s around the next turn and the next one and the next…

Returning from visiting my family in San Francisco recently, I listened with rapt attention to an interview with Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach and several other award-winning novels (The Goon Squad, The KeepLook at Me to name a few).  Two things that were notable to me were 1) she doesn’t have a pre-planned idea of the direction that her book is going to go and 2) she follows her own curiosities in developing the story.  Egan enjoys being surprised as the story develops.  Her desire to find out what happens next helps her to maintain her interest in what she is writing.

Manhattan Beach is considered historical fiction.  Although the characters are contrived, the references to place and time–the setting are based in fact.  Along her writing way, these were some of the things that Egan grew curious about, explored and incorporated into her novel:  New York City in the 40’s during World War II–specifically the Brooklyn shipping docks, diving, organized crime during the prohibition era,  caring for a disabled child.  These well-researched curiosities lent her book the substance and the respect that it has achieved.

“In historical fiction, setting is the most important literary element. Because the author is writing about a particular time in history, the information about the time period must be accurate, authentic…” from Wikipedia

In writing historical fiction, the development of your characters and the unfolding story are superimposed on a ready-made scape of time and place where and when real life events occurred.  In a sense, as the writer, you have part of the story mapped out for you.  Weaving the historical with the imagined characters, their particular circumstances and where the story goes can be an interesting adventure for the writer and later on, for their audience.

Consider your own curiosities over the course of your life.  Write them down.  As others occur to you, add them to your list.  Do you have a favorite historical time period? More than one.  List those also.  Have you researched this historical period(s)? Consider how your curiosities can provide you with inspiration and entries into what to write about.

“My esthetic or my method is basically guided by
curiosity and desire…”
Jennifer Egan


She is curious about her universe.