Wednesday, September 02, 2020

verse and the prose poet: a love affair

I was doing some edits on the tabloid poems, the second of a couple series started once I could actually write during quarantne, and realized it's one of three different recent projects where I ecshewed prose form, which has been my go-to for years, for actual lined verse. I'm not sure if this was a conscious decision until I was already in the thick of it--that first batch of poems, overlook, breaking that pattern.  And I am no line purist, by any stretch, scanning meter and rhyme being mostly an intuitive thing and not at all as mathematical as my lit training would have me be.  But there is a different feel, and perhaps that was what drove me to prose. 

Prose pieces always feel more casual in their construction.  The same elements are there, image and sound, but there is more of a rushing feeling to them, and less stillness.  I think the longer your lines and the more white space on your page, the more you allow for a certain kind of stillness you can't get otherwise. You are moving less, so the framework becomes more apparent if that makes sense.  Maybe the difference between a wall and a fence. Or the ocean and a coral reef. The holes, the line breaks and space around the text, telling you more where to pause, where to take a breath.  And also, making you see more of the poem somehow, even though it's the same words. 

My lineated poetry also tends to be more free verse with a certain amount of interior-line rhymes and slant rhymes.  The same sort of things I do in prose, but it stands out more in lined work.  While I used to appreciate the prose form for that rush that a string of text without breaks gives, there is also a certain speed I am trying to master in the lined work, even with all those silences. One of my goals for the year (I'm pretty sure I started 2020 with goals, but who knows?) is to embrace white space a little more regularly and to experiment with the lengths of lines and their different effects.   After a couple lined projects, currently I am back to prose (it's an epistolary series, so this seems to make the most sense.) But I am hoping to play with lines on the next thing I move to. 

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