prose poetry II

I said yesterday that I might post something I’d written at the American Poetry workshops in Nottingham, and then it seemed presumptuous to include what is no more than an initial workshop draft in a post where I mention so many recognised and respected poets, so I didn’t.

Here, though, is a piece from the prose poetry workshop that I may come back to and try and see where it leads. The words in italics are from a piece by Charles Simic.

It’s snowing, says someone who has peeked into the dark night, and I wonder if the night is less dark because of the snow and if snow on a moonlit night tastes different from snow on a dark night or snow in sunshine; I wonder whether the sun adds flavour to the snow flakes and if each flake has its own six-edged flavour and how a raindrop feels when it is caught outside on a dark night and how it feels when it feels itself solidifying into white crystals like feathers and whether each feather sings a separate note and whether the snow drift at dawn will sing like a flock of birds awakening, and whether I will hear it.

I’ve hardly made any changes since I wrote it on Sunday afternoon, although I did add the last six words. I suspect that if I do come back and revise it, I might add lineation and create a far more traditional poem format, as, reading it, I want to be able to guide the reading with pauses and emphases, which is what I think linebreaks allow me to do. Perhaps this is why I shy away from prose poetry.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

2 thoughts on “prose poetry II”

  1. The shortage of punctuation makes it a challenge to read your \(poem\|prose\) aloud, but it’s still more prose than poetry, I think. But the big, objective contrast isn’t between prose and poetry but between prose and verse. It’s so big and so objective that it doesn’t really matter. But it’s still a big, objective (and to some people, important) fact that some compositions have line breaks (verse) and some (prose) don’t.


    1. I am sure that if I added the breaks I feel it needs, it would be a lot easier to read, but I feel that adding more punctuation would be intrusive.
      I am still thinking about this whole subject, particularly as the three pieces I have from the conference that might count as prose poems all rely heavily on repetition and ‘incantation’ type phrasing.
      Surely the point is that we can all see the difference on the page between verse and prose, and if we heard certain texts we would know if they needed line breaks and, if so, where those breaks should go; and yet there seems to be an in-between area where the writer chooses, slightly arbitrarily, to put the text in one or other camp. If we heard such a tex,t we wouldn’t be sure which camp it belonged in, nor where the breaks should go if there were to be breaks.
      Hmm… I’ll think further and then maybe respond to your “discuss” in the other comment.


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