Thoughts on Prose Poems

Two years ago, I took a creative writing workshop that covered poetry. We also discussed and wrote CNF, as well as fiction pieces, but we began the semester writing poetry. The professor’s explanation for beginning with poetry was (and I’m paraphrasing here) that writing poetry is great practice for writing decent prose. I was reminded of this when reading the chapter on prose poems for this week’s readings. I’ve mostly written CNF, but I love language and playing with it. Poetry often seems like it offers the most diversity when it comes to playing with language, but the possibility of combining prose and poetry excites me.

Hass writes “[p]rose using all the techniques of poetry except meter, lineation, and rhyme? But there are no techniques special to poetry except meter, lineation, and rhyme” (386). There seems to be a sense of irony, then, in writing a prose poem. It’s almost contradictory, or paradoxical. That seems like a lot of fun to me, though. Living in that halfway space between two forms seems a little bit rebellious.

I’ve never really written a prose poem before, but I’ve enjoyed the few I’ve read. They sort of remind me of Shakespeare, in the way that his plays were often written in verse. The words sound like natural dialogue (for the time period, I suppose), but it’s still poetry. For someone who hasn’t really written any poetry in the past year or so, a prose poem sounds like a good way to transition back into writing poetry.