An Invitation to Participate in Our Second Annual Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium…

I am very pleased to announce that this month, we will be once again producing a special Christmas-themed edition of the Virtual Poetorium which this year we are dubbing our Second Annual Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium. And like last year, we would like to once again open it up for anyone who would to like participate and invite all my fellow bloggers and faithful readers (or just anyone just happening to read this) to be a part of this special yuletide online poetry gathering in print. Unlike a regular edition of the Virtual Poetorium, there will be no featured poet, but instead, we will have two open mics — one regular and another for Christmas and New Year-themed work. Because of this, we are lifting our usual one piece per person limit and requesting that you send us up to three of your own original poems or stories (ones that have a Holiday or Winter theme are preferred though not required) either in a Word document file or pasted in the body of an email along with your name, any opening remarks you care to make, and where your poem has appeared if it was previously published to by Friday, December 24th. Also if you like, you can send us a photo of yourself (extra brownie points rewarded if you are dressed in a festive holiday costume) to be posted above your poems, but that is totally optional.

Our Second Annual Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium will be posted on the Poetorium website (and on this blog as well) on the last Tuesday of this month which will be December 28th, 2021. However, as always, like a normal Poetorium (but in this case even more because you, our dear friends and readers, are the whole show) for it to be successful, we really need folks to participate. So please, please send us your poems and stories!

We also need contributions to the Ho-Ho-etorium Christmas-themed group poem. If you would like to participate, please send us one to eight lines starting with the phrase “This Christmas… “. All contributions (please let us know if you wish to have your name listed as a contributor or if you wish to remain anonymous) will be compiled into the group poem and included in the Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium. Once again, the deadline for submissions is Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24th.

Although we have jettisoned most of the segments associated with the Poetorium, like last year we will once again be including two special ones we created just for the Ho-Ho-etorium. Since some of my favorite memories of actual past holiday poetry gatherings involved food, those exquisite tasty treats which we would all bring in to share with each other (who could forget Anne Marie’s blonde brownies at the Jingle Mingle or my mom’s chocolate chip cookies at the Poet’s Parlor?), we will once again have a Virtual Poet’s Banquet table. Since this is an imaginary poetry reading in the form of a transcript, I think it would be fitting for all of us to contribute some imaginary food for a virtual poet’s potluck. Just mention what delicious imaginary dish you are bringing. It could be something you might have actually brought, or something totally fanciful (like caviar from the flying carp of the planet Neptune). For extra (blonde) brownie points, include a photo of your delicious dish and/or a recipe so everyone can sample it in their own kitchen.

Also what Christmas gathering would be complete without the tradition of gift-giving? I remember us staging Yankee Gift Swaps at the Poet’s Parlor as well as making everyone salt dough Santa ornaments (I was so much more ambitious and energetic back then). So to add the traditional present-giving element to our imaginary holiday gathering, we are utilizing a variation on the old surrealist game Time Travelers’ Potlatch. In case you are not familiar with it (by the way, a potlatch is a gift-giving competition practiced in certain cultures), the game is played by having each person describe the gift that they would present to various historical, mythical, or fictional figures of their choice on the occasion of meeting them. Our variation will be called the Surreal Secret Santa List in which we all list up to six historical, mythical, or fictional figures and the Xmas presents we would give them if we were their surreal Secret Santas. To help inspire you, here is the list I created for last year’s Ho-Ho-etorium:

Paul Szlosek’s Secret Surrealist Santa List

For Alexander Hamilton, a kevlar vest and frockcoat.
For Lois Lane, lead-lined lingerie.
For Sherlock Holmes, an Occam’s safety razor and shaving brush set.
For Danny Pudi, good coffee and warm socks.
For Robert Johnson, a textbook on contract law.
For Mankind, a digital doomsday clock with snooze alarm.

Remember you can choose any historical, mythical, or fictional figure you wish, and the gifts can be as practical or wacky as you want. Of course, you don’t have to submit a list if you don’t want to, but it would be so much fun if everyone did.

If you do have any questions about submitting to the two virtual open mics, the group poem, or anything else about the Virtual Ho-Ho-etorium itself, please leave them in the comments of this post, and I will try to answer them right away.

Thank you so very much for reading! I really appreciate everyone’s continued support of this blog, and hope to hear from you soon with your yuletide contributions!

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