Wednesday, April 28, 2004

hope no-one's already made this point, but the thing that i like about the prose poem (sort of moving outside of the discussion of meter and line break v. lack thereof) is the sense of compression. the visual density combined with the narrative density result in a sense of the world as modular but very much full of dimension and depth. it's as if, in a prose poem, a world is suddenly smacked into being and just as quickly smacked shut—like an eye blinking. that may be said of lyrical poetry also, but i mean it more in the sense that when we open our eyes, there's a certain completeness to what we see that we can process immediately after we close our them up again. when i read tate's prose poetry, it's the experience of complete superficial understanding of narrative and character and setting that gets followed up by a mulling over of theme and meaning. i suppose the sort of conceptual distinction i'm making is between the gaze and the glance, the prose poem being the latter. the glance makes certain sense of the world in its immediacy whereas the gaze is necessary for what's a little less clear. i reserve my prose poems (perhaps too obviously) for the poems that have the clearest narrative arch. line-broken poems are used for the more abstracted, "i'm still trying to figure this out" stuff.

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