Hi everyone! We have a guest host for tonight – Christopher Reilley.
Happy Tuesday my fellow word wrestlers, I’m your host for this evening’s festivities, Christopher Reilley, and I’m here today to overwhelm you all with choices.
When I was asked to host DVersePoets for the very first time I thought long and hard about what topic I would spin for you all, in order to provide a wealth of poetic options for your creative efforts. I had so many choices – each one better than the last – that I found myself in the middle of a paradox of choice.
“Autonomy and freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically”. – American psychologist Barry Schwartz
Anyone who has ever sat down to a menu from the Cheesecake Factory, with over 250 items, knows all about the paradox of choice, sometimes referred to as ‘the paralysis of analysis.’ Too many options can make it more difficult to choose instead of less. The pressure to make an immediate choice can be overpowering, and often leads to bad choices.
‘Simplify’ is always good advice, so stepping back, I started to look more closely at the topic of choice itself.
To start with, the word choice is either used as a noun to describe an option, and/or the selection of said option; or it is also used as an adjective to denote something highly sought-after, like a choice cut of beef. So you have your choice of definitions there.
Making choices, and the consequences of those choices, is a big part of game theory. Developers work hard to give your choices meaning in the game. Open a door or not, maybe it’s a maiden, maybe it’s a dragon.
Then there is Hobson’s Choice, which is an idiomatic expression for no choice at all. It is the illusion of choice. Anyone with children will recognize this parenting tactic. “Would you prefer to have your bath before dinner or afterwards?” I often told my kids that there were two options for dinner tonight – take it, or leave it.
Hobson’s Choice as a phrase appears in Thomas Ward‘s 1688 poem “England’s Reformation”, not published until after Ward’s death. Ward wrote:
Where to elect there is but one,
‘Tis Hobson’s choice—take that, or none.
There is also the social choice phenomenon, which social scientists use to predict collective choices. It’s pretty complex, but fascinating how individual choice is often quite different from collective choice.
This is best expressed, perhaps, in political choices, and the system in place to make them. The theory of Rational Choice was supposed to be the prevailing methodology to determine or predict political choices, but much has changed in America recently. Regrettably, politics is also a means by which some are limiting or removing the choices once available to us all.
There are many “executive decision-maker” products available, such as the decision wheels and the Magic 8-Ball, which randomly produce yes/no or other “decisions” for someone who cannot make up their mind or who just wants to delegate.
Choice is a favored theme among poets.
There are poems about making difficult choices:
My Treasure by Arthur Weir
The Road not Taken by Robert Frost
Keep A-Pluggin’ Away by Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Poems about making the wrong choices:
How Did You Die by Edmund Vance Cook
The Two Kinds of People by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Your Mission by Ellen H. Gates
And poems about choices and consequences:
Perseverance by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Who Killed the Plan? by Amos Russel Wells
And so fellow word wrestlers, you have the choice to craft a poem in any style, form, meter, syntax, rhyme scheme, line length, or formatting – having to do with the concept of choice.
Of course, there are a wealth of choices at the bar tonight. Along with the usual favorites, we are featuring the Poet’s Punch (dark rum and ginger beer over ice topped with a splash of elderflower liqueur) The Banker’s Choice cocktail, the Regal Choice, the Ladies Choice cocktail, and even a non-alcoholic cocktail called Hobson’s Choice.
To snack on, we offer Sweet Potato Crostini with Prosciutto Honey Roasted Figs, Jalapeno Popper Cheese Balls with Bacon & Chives, Crispy Baked Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings, and Crispy Baked Zucchini Chips.
Here’s how to join in:
- Write your poem, your choice of style, on the topic of choice and post it to your blog.
- Click on Mr. Linky. Copy and paste the direct link to your poem and add your name.
- Follow the links to other poets. Read and comment on other poems. That’s how we get to know each other better.
- Link back to dVerse so others can find us too.
- Make the choice to say hello in the comments below.
I’m looking forward to reading your choices, and how you feel about them!
About our guest host: Christopher Reilley is the former poet laureate of Dedham, MA, author of the chapbook “Grief Tattoos” and the full length collections “Breathing for Clouds” and “One Night Stanzas.” He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, founded the Dedham Poet Society, and sits on the board of both the Newton Writing & Publishing Center and the Worcester County Poets Association. He lives in Cherry Valley, MA with his wife and two adult kids, working on his second novel.
Hi everyone! I hope you enjoy this prompt by our guest host. Thanks Chris for hosting and providing an interesting prompt.
I am going to try for the Poet’s Punch, with chicken wings and zuchinni chips. I look forward to reading your poems.
Thank you so much, Grace, I truly appreciate the poetic folks here, and the opportunity to provide a prompt was a blast!
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
I cannot choose anything from the menu… can you please give me my usual beer?
That is the irony isn’t it. Like there a million channels or a million flavors of ice-cream, but we tend to fall back on the familiar and the comfortable. I admire people who are adventurous in their life’s choices.
Here’s your beer Bjorn… cheers!
Good evening dVerse poets one and all. Thank you, Grace, for opening the pub, and Christopher for devising a choice prompt. I’m OK for a drink at the moment – I have a fizzy water with a dash of lime sitting beside me on my desk.
Hi Kim. This prompt is loaded with choices. Cheers to your water with a dash of lime!
LOL, I’m a huge fan of seltzer and lime, I likewise have one right beside me. 🙂
Hi Grace, Thanks Chris … I am going to try a Poet’s Punch today!!
They are delicious, complex, and pack a punch, lol.
Hi Christopher and Grace. I would love the Poet’Punch as I ponder on my choices.
Happy to oblige. I enjoy them immensely, I hope you will too.
Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing said:
Thanks for hosting tonight! Hmmm, my choice of drink … I would love a Cosmo please ☺️ 🍸
My wife loves Cosmos. We use Cointreau, instead of triple sec, if that’s all right. 😉
hi Christopher and grace,
decaf tea and biscuits for me this evening.
I have chosen to go for a tricky subject matter this time.
will come back to read when I can
Excellent choice sir! I concur. 🙂
Hello Christopher and All. Sorry so late to the party, was at my dream group then had to run an errand afterwards. Excellent post and info about choice. Will be linking up later. Could I please have one tall Poets Punch, sounds very tasty!
A dream group sounds like an awesome reason to be a little tardy, no worries! Thank for choosing to attend. Enjoy the Poet’s Punch!
Thanks for the tardiness pass, Chris (hoping it is ok to call you Chris but please let me know if it isn’t ok?) Yummy Drink. Cheers!
It’s totally cool. I only insist on Christopher if there is a check involved. 🙂
Rob Kistner said:
Thank you Grace and Christopher, excellent prompt. This piece I wrote honors my beautiful daughter, whose kind heart and fathomless hope, kept her from making a difficult choice, for too many years — until finally… she did! I love you my brave girl… ✌🏼❤️😘
It was a lovely piece Rob. Those who find this page months from now should go read it. 🙂
Leyde Ryan said:
This is a Fabulous post! Finally I know the meaning of Hobson’s Choice. See y’all later.
Yeah, I don’t know who poor Hobson was, or what his illusory choice was, but I’ll bet it was unpleasant if it made his name immortal, lol.
Leyde Ryan said:
PS: I’m so hungry I could reach through the screen and just eat your menu’s words!!
Welcome to the pub. Thanks for hosting. This is an interesting choice for a prompt! So many ways to go with it.
Well, thanks so much for choosing to take a swing at it! 🙂
You are very welcome! I enjoyed the challenge!
Hello, Christopher Reilley. Nice to make your acquaintance. Lovely prompt, sir. And thanks for presenting us with so many choices: in the poem examples and at the bar. Wow! Delighted every which way. But I’ll pass on the bar goodies. Have had a full day and heading to bed as soon as I put mine through Mr. Linky. Have read some, will read more tomorrow. Thanks so much. Have a fantabulous day. xoxo
And hello to all participants of this super lovely website. Salutations to all. I wish you miracles.
Thank you for choosing to swinging by Selma. Thank also for your excellent contribution!
So much choice, a joyous occasion, Thank you Christopher for choice, for choosing us. I’ll have a double your finest single malt whiskey please. I’ll start with the crostini.
Always a pleasure and delight to meet another poet, even digitally. Pull up a chair, let me get that for you, tell us a story, willya?
Indeed and thank you 🙂
Ali Grimshaw said:
What a wonderful prompt. Just seeing it now and will ponder the choices.
You’ve got until 12:59 EST today to post to Mr. Linky!
Ali Grimshaw said:
I just shared. Thanks for the message and the encouragement.
Thanks for pitching in. Go read the others, they are amazing!
Ali Grimshaw said:
Great prompt, Christopher.
Mine is at: https://purplepeninportland.com/2022/09/03/a-bitter-choice/
Thank you for this wonderful prompt. I wish there wasn’t an ocean between me and your pub nights. I was inspired by the prompt Choice and wrote a poem! However, I think I missed the deadline for entries? I’m a nube as you may gather. Anyway, I enjoyed joining in, even though I chose the wrong time to enter.
My Dverse poem is now on my blog at: http://lesleyscoble.com/2022/09/05/choice/
If you choose to read it, it will make me very happy 😊 It’s your choice, of course.
All my best wishes,