Wednesday, April 28, 2004

You're right Nate: stress/meter exists in prose and poetry alike, but I guess I was taking for granted that I was just referring to lineated poetry. When I think about it, I rely on the many different effects that the line break can produce, and I probably rely on them too much. Chad illustrated the semantic weight of line breaks very well. I must admit, though, that sometimes I wonder how much line break effects work with non-poet readers. Consider the opening lines of Matthea Harvey's "Bird Transfer"

Unfasten the crows & the clouds
come crashing down.

Does that line break really surprise people? Assuming people initially think, "Oh, 'unfasten' is an imperative," do they then really say "Uh-oh, it's not." Okay, so this might be a bad example. I'm thinking of the subtler effects of the line break, the one's that don't shift meaning or sense, and instead that cause short-circuits or oil slicks that the reader may not, necessarily, be able to make sense of. Hmm. . . . I need to find a good example of what I mean.

The ambush of the prose poem I think is a real phenomenon, even among people aware of the trickiness or unpredictability of an encounter with a prose poem.

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Okay, so this one final time I'm going to advertise the benefit I'm helping with tonight:

April Fools for Love
the annual Reverie Theatre Benefit
Izzo/Jones Art Gallery
1806 West Cuyler
(one block north of Irving Park Road, one west of Ravenswood)

Time: 7pm

Tickets: $20 (includes a free drink and all the food you can eat).

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