A WRITING BLOG About Playing Around with a Story Line in Different Literary Genres and Different Literary Categories
Writing Leap #27
The Prose Poem
It’s written as prose but reads like poetry.
You can sit down and dismiss traditional poetry rules. Like metered rhyme and specific groupings of words.
There’s an emphasis on the narrative but the prose poem helps itself to the techniques of poetry like vivid images, heightened emotions and fragments. I often find writing in fragments frees up my writing. In the editing process I may change them to sentences or not.
I remember grade school when we were not allowed to use sentence fragments in prose. We ignore that teacher.
What’s the difference between prose poems and free verse, I wondered? Typography it seems. Free verse tends to look more like a poem on the page with shorter lines. Prose poems often, not always, go from one side of the page to another—like prose!
So Writers. Have fun with fragments and write a prose poem.
You can try this story line
The Twelfth of August Every Year
Happy Birthday my beloved Auntie
Up there in Heaven for a long time. One hundred plus plus plus years old.
In the way of angels are you aware how your ever-flowing love was the sunshine to my blossoming? Still is.
When I’ve floundered about who I am
I remember and feel your loving hand holding my child’s hand
Giving me grown-up manicures. Talking to me with tenderness about my Cynthia-ness.
I become happy with myself.
There were a never-ending collection of little moments, some faded in detail
That became huge with the love that created them.
You found me beautiful early editions of War and Peace.
All leathery, book-musty and tissue-papery. We both loved books.
You knew my passion for this Russian story.
How excited you were to find the grown-up me the entire collection of My Book House. Fairy Tales you had read to me over and over long ago.
I was Dolly in the Grass or Snow White.
My adored Auntie Ceil.
I feel who I am, Auntie, because you felt who I was.
And most of all, you told me.
Happy Writing Everyone,
LINKING THE ARTS
A Prose Poem by Walt Whitman (first two stanzas)
From A Family of Poems, compiled by Caroline Kennedy, 2005
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content, I travel the open road.
Many of us might say the best word in the dictionary is LOVE, here thought of as ever flowing generosity of spirit.
Perhaps all paintings can be considered prose poems. Vivid imagery, carefully chosen details, flexible techniques.
Here’s a watercolor my Auntie Ceil brought me back from Paris when I was sixteen. She had asked the artist to paint in a young girl—me.
wonderful! Thank you…
Thank you for that Claire! Coming from an artist like you that means a lot. Cynthia
I enjoyed that very much. your prose and devotion to your aunt is really marvelous. I liked walt whitman’s too! Healthy and free. wow.
great painting too.
I have promised to write an article for the Friends of Trailside Nature Museum newsletter. So to get started I used your prose technique. It helped me get going:
Writing the Book
A gift of love
Godspeed Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
I wrote a book for you
The story rich with sepia photos, muslin signs, stone tools
Documenting people of the ages
They lived or worked, studied or loved the land
Kitchawank natives, gentlemen and tenant farmer families
Garden club ladies, Civilian Conservation Corps boys
Set upon the page
A treasure box
A sweet good bye to a beloved place
Which will be there for all the people for ages to come.
Such a beautiful and heartfelt poem, Beth. I’m so honored to have provided the first little push.