Monday, April 26, 2004

Jorge, thanks for the kind words. I've been working in prose quite a bit since last fall.

I'd been wanting to propose a topic to the group to discuss, and I suppose since we've sort of stumbled onto it, the prose-verse question might be a good place to start. I was hoping we could open up a sort of forum on a topic proposed by a blogmember every week or so. What do you all think? Those who would propose a topic could get the ball rolling by posing a few provoking questions related to a general issue related to poetry, and then perhaps offer some initial thoughts on the topic...

I'll give it a try with the long-standing prose-verse issue:

How do you perceive of the verse-prose distinction? Do prose and verse occupy opposite ends of a binary or a dialectic? or at this historical moment are they merely loose and somewhat irrelevant categories of writing which overlap and interact? What makes a prose poem a poem? How is it different from poetic prose? Finally, from the perspective of a poet, what makes you chose to put one poem in prose and another in verse (if you ever do indeed make this choice!)?

Here are some of my uncollected thoughts: I turn to prose because it gives me a freer, less-self conscious space--I'm not as inclined to second guess myself, I'm more willing to "let things flow," or to try to adapt to more natural, "organic" rhythms of speech and language. This is a dangerous freedom, however, as they all tend to be; so in reaction to the increased likelihood of work that's even flatter than the flattest free verse (that plague of MFA programs!), I try to infuse my prose with as much musicality as it will take. When I started a series of prose poems last fall, my initial intent was to do something like Berryman's Dream Songs in prose. A stupid idea, I realize, but nonetheless it helped my keep the language tight and intense. I feel that in prose poems we become more aware of punctuation and its potential rhythmic effects, so I try to experiment with ludicrous amounts of comas and dashes and/or run-ons or fragments, etc. Oddly enough, my prose poems are hardly ever narrative (as one might assume is the tendency in prose). They instead tend to be more lyrical, less grounded, often relatively abstract and/or conceptual.

This doesn't answer any of my questions. I'll try to post on them later. I'd rather let everyone else have a hack at it (especially Chad who, I happen to know, almost never writes in prose--and Chris, (where have you been?) who has recently been experimenting more and more in the bastard genre).


On an unrelated side-note, it looks like a new Cure album is on its way. As usual, I have a reserved feeling of excitement. After all, some dude from Korn is producing it!


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