Monday, November 12, 2007

Prose versus Poetry

Every so often, at Wild Poetry, we get into discussion about the differences between poetry and prose. Generally, these discussion happen after someone comments that a poem feels 'prose like'. Often, the original poster will argue, as if prose was something less desirable than poetry.

In fact, I have read many fine, powerful prose poems and the format takes nothing away from the piece.

When I read through yesterday's post/poem, I realized that it was prose chopped into poetic type line breaks, but it was not poetry. It has no imagery, no metaphor (other than the sweepstakes conceit) or other comparisons, little use of sound or meter. Hence, not poetry, but prose.

So I reworked it in paragraph form and think it reads better this way.

Lost in the Dead Letter Office

If I knew that you were dead I could let go of the feeling that your letter waits, nestled amongst offers to refinance my mortgage, credit card pre-approvals, and sweepstakes notifications.

You may already have won.

I did win.

I tried to tell you in a phone call that took more than thirty years to dial. The woman on the line wasn't you. I pray you didn't turn into her. Suspicious crone; she would have been my grandmother except she feared more than she could love.

It's not hard to feel sorry for that from three thousand miles away. I doubt she ever told you I called and now, at sixty-three, you could be dead.

I'll never know when to stop checking the mailbox.

--ljcohen, 2007

No comments:

Post a Comment