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One Thing Is Constant: Change

Categories: General, Personal Updates.

Welcome to the new Poetic Asides blog!

While I’d known there was a WritersDigest.com re-design going on this year, I didn’t realize until this week (and even this day) the full extent of the changes it would bring to this blog. If you’re still getting used to it, you’re not alone: I am too.

However, I’m sure that by the middle of August we’ll all be feeling more comfortable with our new home.

We have changed blogging platforms from Dasblog to WordPress, so I’m hopeful that will translate into a better blogging experience for all. One feature I’m excited about is that I’ll finally be able to schedule posts ahead of time, which should help throughout the year, but especially during April and November when we’re writing a poem-a-day.

As many of you noticed, the posts since June 22 have disappeared. I’ve added back in Wednesday’s Poetry Prompt, but I still need to get the others in there. Of course, I’m going on a long overdue vacation starting tonight, so while I’ll try to add the posts in as soon as possible, they might not all make it back in until early August.

Also, I am still hoping to announce the winner of the Poetic Form Challenge either today or tomorrow. So stay tuned for that.

Besides that, let me know what you think about the WritersDigest.com redesign and this blog down below. I’m as new to it as you are, so don’t feel any need to pull punches on my account.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer, or connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Be sure to follow my other blog, My Name Is Not Bob, and subscribe to this blog (if you don’t already).


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

104 Responses to One Thing Is Constant: Change

  1. DrPKP says:

    Have I truly stepped through the looking glass into ” Wonderland” or more likely BizzaroWorld,,,,,, I do not believe anyone making things ” harder for Robert” …. Robert was himself, surprised by these changes and requested “pull no punches” comments. Perhaps we are buoying a case for him….

  2. laurie kolp says:

    Change can be good if we look at it that way… with the goal of POETRY in mind. Why make things more stressful for Robert? I say thumbs up, let’s give it a whirl!

    • DrPKP says:

      Robert asked for “pull no punches comments” and made it clear he was as surprised as we. I get sense people here are being protective of Robert…hoping to support him and the blog he so successfully created, not make things “more stressful” for him, but rather let him know we are followers of ROBERT LEE BREWER’S Poetic Asides….and that he and the warm intimacy he fostered are no so easily replaceable. :)

  3. Marie Elena says:

    I think I’m actually going to like this format better, once the kinks are worked out, and we get more used to it. I really like being able to reply to individual people within their own little thread. =)

  4. Am I back to being Connie Peters?

  5. cara.holman says:

    Any change is unsettling, so I will reserve judgment until I have given the new blog a try. However, I must say off the bat that I am delighted that WD has switched to a WordPress platform. As someone who has had a WordPress blog for 2-1/2 years now, I have nothing but good to say about them– many wonderful features, and very easy to use!

    The only difficulty I’ve had so far with this new site was that after I registered, I get error message 403: “Forbidden. You don’t have permission to access /login on this server” when I try to update my profile. Is this a known problem, or is there somebody I need to contact about it?

  6. De Jackson says:

    Yay! My name’s back! Anybody know how to do a photo? For the record, I AM on a WordPress account…and no photo…

  7. Walt Wojtanik says:

    Part of the reason I quit posting to Poetic Asides is we stopped being poets and started becoming social engineers. Cut the crap and the long winded diatribes. This is the hand we’re dealt. What are we going to do,
    take Writer’s Digest’s poetry blog and beat them into submission. Get used to it and DEAL WITH IT! And this coming from a guy that had written close to 5000 poem DAILY here at POETIC ASIDES for the past three years and you don’t hear me whining like a paranoid little girl. If I choose to resume and continue posting here, I will figure out a way to make it work. I suggest you poets do the same.

    • DrPKP says:

      LOL Walt…. There are certain things in life, one must just ” deal with” ….cancer for a stark example, other far less weighty and annoying things that are subject to discussion and change….it is knowing ( to paraphrase the serenity prayer) when to “deal” and when to try to effect change that is important. Peace, love, simple pleasures and always poetry…..

      • Walt Wojtanik says:

        …and I deal with that stark reality even day of my damn life. So apparently there won’t be “always poetry”. You want to effect change, find a cure for this fucking destructive disease that I “must deal with”. So your ridiculous little fairy tale street has become a dead-end road. SO WHAT! So, make it a poetry blog again, as it was originally intended and write the poetry. That’s where your brilliance shines, not in your heavy-handed rants. Go ahead and laugh out loud Pearl, but I don’t see where it got so flippin’ funny. I guess I made a mistake getting curious about the new design. I should have stayed away. Now, I will. Lol Pearl!

        • DrPKP says:

          My mother is a breast cancer survivor …I sat with my father for 13 days as he died of pancreatic cancer at age 60.., diagnosed in April felt his last heart-beat in August. Nothing too funny there…take comfort in simple pleasures. Peace and love and yes even in the face of this monstrously indifferent disease….poetry.

          ( I just looked back…could t figure out why you thought I found your comment “funny” and then noticed the unintentionally provocative “lol”.,, Apologies, it was used inappropriately as an unconscious attempt to
          soothe…. ) I well, know sometimes there is no ” soothing posdible”

    • Sharp Little Pencil says:

      A paranoid little girl? I thought you said this was a poetic site. That’s uncalled for, Walt. We all know you write more poems than anyone else, and you have picked up your toys and run home “whining” exactly like the little girl you cite. Get over yourself, man, and act like the poet you claim you are.

  8. MiskMask says:

    Still awaiting moderation, so none of my posts are showing. I’ve logged in and logged out, and re-logged in, and nothing helps.

  9. MiskMask says:

    Why are my 2 posts showing as awaiting moderation. That’s over 24-hours before something that I post shows up?

  10. Whimsygizmo says:

    PS: For the record, I’m still searching for the “Vehemently Dislike” button.

  11. Whimsygizmo says:

    Wow. Just got back from three glorious weeks’ vacation to find ALL of my poetic cheese has been moved. Yikes.

  12. CoFun77 says:

    Since we’re a members only forum now, that means editors won’t consider this work published. Am I correct?

  13. Dyson McIllwain says:

    ‘Tis a rambunctious site to say the least. Many difficulties remain. Four name changes and password editings have me on for the moment. I’ll get to moderation and never see the light of day again.If so, it has been nice.

  14. Is awaiting moderation going to hurt come April or November? For posted time issues, I mean.

  15. Jac says:

    I like the HTHML bit of it, but the site doesn’t feel homey anymore. Probably ’cause it’s new, like moving to a new home. It’ll take some getting used to, I guess. I like the individual reply tool though. For a posted piece, that is awesome. No need to scroll down to see if anyone liked your piece or not. You just go to your post and your answer is right there (or not). :)

  16. Marie Elena says:

    Now that I’m looking around a bit in here, I think it’s going to be hard to find new comments. :(

  17. Marie Elena says:

    *Deep breath* Thinking positively, like any other change, we will get used to it. Thinking MORE positively, being able to comment on individual’s posts, and being able to post a profile picture will make this actually MORE personal than the old style. I think. Positively. ;)

  18. MiskMask says:

    What? No way! Does every comment require moderation and approval? That’s what mine is showing right now.

  19. MiskMask says:

    It sure loads a lot faster. I’m glad to see that.

  20. Colette D says:

    Where did all the comments go?
    Sorry for asking.
    When will I ever learn?
    When will I ever learn?

  21. RJ Clarken says:

    I’m glad to see some talented, familiar and friendly faces here, but I have to say, I don’t have much love for this new set-up. Hopefully Robert’s prompts will spur the creative juices, because the page itself sure doesn’t do much, at least for me.

    However, I will try to keep an open mind…

  22. Not wild about the new look, either. I agree with so much of what has been said above. And especially with Pearl’s point about the way the old format forced one to scroll through everyone’s offerings instead of just responding directly to one post – so often I have received a great gift from someone else’s writing as I strolled to the end of the street.

  23. Juanita Lewison-Snyder says:

    hmmmmmm…..>;^\…..jury’s still out on this one…..time will tell……

  24. Well, at least I found you again. I’m not real quick with computers/internet, so I muddled around most of the afternoon thinking Poetic Asides had vaporized. But I finally got here, and we’ll see how it goes. Thanks, Robert, for doing whatever you have to do to keep this wonderful thing going.

  25. DrPKP says:

    Well, after being deplaned three times due to an electrical problem which cut AC and prevented plane from starting…. After enjoying the extra time in the cool new Jet Blue terminal in JFK and attempting more than half dozen times to comment….I surrendered with the sense that both the plane and commenting situation were happening for a ” reason”. In the case of the plane delay, there was a reason, as it turned out, if plane had left as scheduled would have run into a band of major thunder storms, with rain lightning and winds up to 60 mph, necessitating flights to be diverted. Leaving several hours later, after plane was refitted with a new part, was not only delightfully cool, but completely avoided the storm and made for a pleasant experience. Now…going through the full body scanner AND. being ahem “frisked” was odd, as was the disappearance of my sunglasses from the bin…. Well, one major experience with some possible positive Universal intervention, a couple of odd experiences AND THEN ROBERT’S POETIC ASIDE site…
    Other than complete commercial exploitation and the destruction of a shady comfortable, safe, personable place in which to write and stroll, now as others have gotten to say before I, a cold, commercial, site scrupulously cleansed of all traces of Robert, making him and effectively destroying the soul of a site that had, because of its uniqueness encouraged many writers to begin or continue to poem. The one ” positive” that of being able to directly comment….is at first blush an advantage, until, of course one realizes this is NOT asocial networking site, but a poetry site, perhaps this escaped attention but needing to scroll through, although perhaps “annoying” had a reader, even one scanning, read through the works of ALL and solidified or perhaps even created this familial sense. I could go on…. in summary,,,,,,

    This new “look” and WD obvious heavy-handed approach toward the promotion of WD demeans Robert Brewer, a first place blog award winner…. Moreover it seems to indicate a callous and decidedly anti-creative mind-set….serving to move Poetic Asides from an “aside” to an “irrelevancy”. The notion that the editors of the blogs were not part of the decision making process is corporate contagion at its very worst. Lastly, WD has made a grave ” bottom line” mistake ….in erasing the uniqueness if the site, perhaps due to a fear of Robert’s success, I strongly believe they will suffer in losing the very poets who have been contributing ( and exposed to advertisements in a professional manner fir workshop, books, etc. etc. I believe WD underestimated their estimable cache and the intelligence and desire of their audience. I have been a DAILY multiple contributor for three years…. My “street” on which I strolled, write, read, commented and received comments under the gentle, wise eye of an editor, so committed that he continued with the site shortly after falling to the floor with a life threatening condition,….this street and the personality of its ” fearless leader” has ripped up the trees and erected a concrete parking lot. I will visit to mourn.

    • lionmother says:

      Eloquently put, Pearl! I feel like I walked into a neighborhood where there had once been several cool independent stores and lots of people on the sidewalk talking and interacting in many ways and now it was totally gentrified with big name stores and a giant mall. You could still shop, but the experience is not the same.

      Shame on WD for taking away the unique coziness of Poetic Asides and replacing it with a hard commercial shell. It was hard to even find you, but I used my head and looked under editors. The google link doesn’t work anymore for the old site and your photo is nowhere on the front page. I am very disappointed in WD in general. I don’t feel creative looking at these fonts either.:) Other than that, the posting is easier and more conducive to writing. Can you tell I don’t like it?

      I was coming back after many months of pursuing my prose career and I am in the middle of getting ready to publish my book, but PA Friends lured me back and I came over to see the new site. I will still try to do some of the prompts when I can, but this sort of dries up my creative juices.:)

      • DrPKP says:

        I feel most badly for our “fearless leader” Robert Lee Brewer… who has put heart and soul and enormously hard work into creating and maintaining a community of poets. He was rewarded by the outside community as “blogger of the year” but WD? Agree with you, Barbara. Shame on you WD. Obviously, this is not the end of the world, but why the need to change something without the editor’s collaboration?

  26. Michelle: you can use HTML in comments now, so you can either enclose a concrete poem with the “pre” tag (it will put your poem in Courier New font, is the downside) or use an ampersand followed by “nbsp;” to create a non-breaking space. (Insert a whole bunch of them to align text where you need it to be.)

  27. How do you replace the generic silhouette with a photo?

  28. The reply feature is fantastic!

    I think the page needs more color, but I am sure I will get used to it.

  29. Michelle Hed says:

    Nope, concrete poetry still doesn’t work. bummer.

  30. Michelle Hed says:

    Oh, don’t hit the ‘tab’ button it will post your comment for you… oops! And that should be “wasn’t” booted off!


    Okay – just wanted to see if concrete poetry would work!

    How do you bold and italics words?

  31. Michelle Hed says:

    All right! I update my profile and I was booted off! And now it has my name and the link to my blog!! Happy! :)

  32. Linda.H says:

    I am glad it makes posting easier for you, Robert–especially in April and November. And I don’t mind logging in to comment, Does that mean this is now considered a closed (members only) site and our work will not be considered “published”? That would be a plus for many people. And having a profile is also nice. As Joseph Harker pointed out, being able to use boldface, italic, etc. is also a nice feature.

    One thing I don’t like is the look. I find it boring and lacking in “personality”. By that I meant that your blog and Chuck’s blog and the other blogs are all the same except for the banner at the top. I sort of liked how each of the blogs previously had a personal feel to them. That was very inviting, As Iain Kemp stated, the look of the blog as it appears now is a bit cold. I think the old one said “Robert” and this one just says “this blog belongs to WD”.

    But, I guess we’ll all get used to it with time.

    Oh, and I just asking a group of other PA post-ers if I had somehow missed the announce of the poetic forms challenge. I can’t wait to see what that new form might be and who created it. It will also be interesting to know who many different forms were sent to you and if anyone submitted the same form as another.

    Enjoy your vacation.

  33. At least we can use italics and boldface now. (If that shows up correctly, that is.)

    I admit, I’m not thrilled with the new site, and particularly not with the clause about “agreeing to receive email newsletters, offers, etc.” in my inbox as a requirement for the right to comment on here. The advantage to WordPress that I hope is utilized is the ability to customize the look of the site much more, and maybe this clinical/commercial layout won’t be forever. I don’t think I could get used to this design, but I’ll suck it up for the purpose of continuing to engage with the community, which should trump any negative reaction to the appearance of the place.

    Not thrilled. Will put up with. :\

  34. Preview would have been nice. But great that smilies work and I’m happy to see my happy summery avatar turn up. :)

  35. So far I’m liking it. I found the previous incarnation clunky and I see we can use html here so titles will show up properly and emphasis will be easier.

    Do smilies work here? :)

    The only thing I’m missing is an option to preview post – maybe it will come up when I press POST COMMENT.

  36. I also wonder if this will work more easily for some of our “concrete” poems….

  37. While I like the overall look and layout of the new WD site… it doesn’t feel like the same old PA street. Seems to commercialized from what we’re all used to.

    On the other hand, as Barbara mentioned, now we can finally reply to each other’s comments, which is something a lot of us have been wishing for. Also, I know it can be annoying to have to log in if you’re not using your own personal computer, but it should help cut down on some of those spam posts, right?

    I’m sure we’ll get used to this new look & feel, just like we get used to everything else as it updates and evolves (facebook, email accounts, etc).

  38. Michelle, I had that problem as well. In your settings it should give you the option to “Display Name As”. Enter your Michelle Hed and you should still be recognized. However, your user name will still be MIK. Unfortunate that you can not change the user name.

  39. barbara_y says:

    Hey, we can reply to one another directly, instead of at the end of a long string of comments. Love that!!!!!!!!!
    Well, since I didn’t love the look of the site before, I can’t say this is worse. It’s a bit cluttered and commercial-laden. But, hey, WD is in the business of selling things, and we are just an aside.

  40. Robert Lee Brewer says:

    Yeah, I hear you, Michelle and Iain. You can’t even tell that this is the Poetic Asides blog on this post.

  41. RobHalpin says:

    I like the new look. Have a great vacation!

  42. Mik says:

    Just checked and things transferred correctly, so the old prompts say “Michelle Hed” says…. Is the only way to change the username to set up a new account? I would prefer to use the same email but the system won’t let me. Let me know my options when you get back from vacation. I’m in no rush.

    Michelle Hed

  43. Oh my!!! What a shock!!! Ugly cold, not user friendly, had to down grade the security on my lappy, create an account, confirm, reload the page 5 times get grumpy go for a smoke curse at technology buy a typewriter to feel nostalgic send a snail mail letter to all my family and friends just to touch base with my soulñs and then – re-load the page again…. otherwise its fine, oh just one thing! Where is the dislike button?

  44. Mik says:

    Ah, I don’t like the fact I couldn’t change my username “Mik”, which I must have used for some odd reason over at the forums. I would prefer it to be my name “Michelle Hed” which is how everyone knows me here. I guess the only option would be to start fresh with a new account? Which would mean using a new email address?

    Going back to see how things transferred over in the old prompts…

    Michelle Hed

  45. Mik says:

    Hi Robert,

    Interesting new website. First glance, it doesn’t seem as friendly – hopefully it will grow on me. I don’t remember ever having to ‘log in’ to leave a comment before. Apparently I had an account (probably for the forums and not PAD) so I gave it a new password. The site then offered to update my profile, so I played along but when I submitted the information I was told that this was forbidden and yeah it didn’t go anywhere. I’m guessing it is a glitch with the new site but nice idea to add a profile.

    I’m always game to try new things, so I’m hoping you are right and all the kinks are ironed out over the next few months. Have a great vacation! :)

    Michelle Hed

  46. viv says:

    SPAM filter needed here!

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