Prose and Cons

At some point I’m going to have to accept that prose comes much more naturally to me than poetry.

I think it’s just the way my brain works. Give me some elements (a character, a setting, even an image), ask me for a narrative that makes logical or emotional sense, and I’m off to the races. Sometimes I can even pull together two seemingly different nouns with a slippery lasso of words to make that most unpredictable of literary beasts, a metaphor. As in, a decent metaphor. But leaps and twists and unexpected pairings don’t come easily to me. So of course I envy everyone to whom they do.

It’s okay, it’s not like I can’t write songs or struggle with silly poetry or work on getting better at poetry or (gasp) attempt the prose poem. Actually, when I think about it, it’s not even “poetry” that’s the problem. It’s free verse. I can squeeze syllables into sonnets and sestinas surprisingly soundly. But free verse is just so…free.

 

If I put lots of words in one line I feel like I’m not artistic enough and

I overuse enjambment because I

understand how it works but

then I go too far and put just one

word

per

line

and I have to wonder; am I getting anywhere?

Or am I just another in a long line of bad, dull, saccharine poetry writers like the ones who sat at the corner round tables in high school and carved random words into the table with their forbidden penknives?

Help me out, guys. Suggest some good modern poets who work in a free style for me to read. Maybe I’ll figure something out for once, and I won’t feel like I need to burn my journal from embarrassment. It’s a goal. Because let’s face it: I can’t stand not to be good at something that falls so squarely into my self-assigned skill set.

Or else I’ll just keep parodying William Carlos Williams. And there are only so many “this is just to says” that a girl can write.

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