Old 06-02-2012, 08:20 AM   #1
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Can you help me here?

Where does prose with line breaks become called prose poetry? I can't see how it can be called poetry at all. Blank verse I get but not just writing something down and putting in line breaks
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:46 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by UnderYourSpell View Post
Where does prose with line breaks become called prose poetry? I can't see how it can be called poetry at all. Blank verse I get but not just writing something down and putting in line breaks
Usually the sustained imagery in a short piece or the use of an extended metaphor determines the value of prose poetry. I think where a lot of writers become confused is that they don't understand the difference in construct between poetry and a story.

A story has a beginning, middle, and end whereas, unless you're talking a ballad or other such "story" poems, poetry explains a centralized theme using techniques such as rhyme, rhythm, formulae, and structure. Prose poetry has blurred the structure aspect of the genre as flash fiction altered the attention span of readers and writers.

What you may be seeing, here in Literotica particularly, are writers posting flash fic to the poetry section because of length constraints etc. I know that the site admins are loathe to post a long poem in the story section so perhaps they are trying to limit the amount of flash fic posting into the poetry indices.

I don't know. Lit admin is like having alien overlords-- They are there, they have the final word, and I really don't understand the way they think (sorry Kitty Mama aka Laurel).
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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I asked because I left a comment on somebodys poem saying prose with line breaks didn't make it a poem and the author came back at me saying didn't I know it was prose poetry. It didn't strike me as poetic at all, it might as well have been a paragraph out of a book for all the poetry I saw in it ....... actually some authors write prose more poetically!
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by UnderYourSpell View Post
Where does prose with line breaks become called prose poetry? I can't see how it can be called poetry at all. Blank verse I get but not just writing something down and putting in line breaks
What most people mean by the term "prose poetry" is a kind of poem that doesn't have line breaks. (Epmd607 would take exception to that, but I think that's a fairly safe statement to make.) It originated as a kind of reaction against certain restrictions in the formal poetic line.

Others (Turco, for one) would claim that almost all free verse is, in fact, not verse at all, but prose.

The phrase "prose with line breaks" is kind of a pejorative shorthand for saying that you don't find a poem poetic--that there is nothing about the work that strikes you the reader as it being a poem. It's kind of an insult, even if not intended as such.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:15 PM   #5
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What most people mean by the term "prose poetry" is a kind of poem that doesn't have line breaks. (Epmd607 would take exception to that, but I think that's a fairly safe statement to make.) It originated as a kind of reaction against certain restrictions in the formal poetic line.

Others (Turco, for one) would claim that almost all free verse is, in fact, not verse at all, but prose.

The phrase "prose with line breaks" is kind of a pejorative shorthand for saying that you don't find a poem poetic--that there is nothing about the work that strikes you the reader as it being a poem. It's kind of an insult, even if not intended as such.
I've been told my stories are "punctuation with filler."
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:51 PM   #6
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What most people mean by the term "prose poetry" is a kind of poem that doesn't have line breaks. (Epmd607 would take exception to that, but I think that's a fairly safe statement to make.) It originated as a kind of reaction against certain restrictions in the formal poetic line.

Others (Turco, for one) would claim that almost all free verse is, in fact, not verse at all, but prose.

The phrase "prose with line breaks" is kind of a pejorative shorthand for saying that you don't find a poem poetic--that there is nothing about the work that strikes you the reader as it being a poem. It's kind of an insult, even if not intended as such.
Then I've just insulted the author because it certainly had no poetic qualities in my eyes ....... it might as well have been a paragraph. I've never seen any of your free verse that wasn't poetic although I couldn't point out why there is a difference apart from the fact that the other one just seemed to 'plod along'

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I've been told my stories are "punctuation with filler."
I've been using Facebook too long I was looking for the 'Like' button! not that I agreed with the statement you understand just that you made me smile
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If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:20 PM   #7
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I've been using Facebook too long I was looking for the 'Like' button! not that I agreed with the statement you understand just that you made me smile
Aww shucks. Now you've got me looking for the Like button.

I don't agree with the statement either, but I'm glad it made you smile.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:38 PM   #8
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Where does prose with line breaks become called prose poetry? I can't see how it can be called poetry at all. Blank verse I get but not just writing something down and putting in line breaks
I get the "prose poetry" charge all the time.

To which I respond, "So, did you like it, or not?"

Poetry as a discipline lost the Battle of what is poetry, a long time ago. Once the definition of a poem became fluid. There is no longer any such thing as "not a poem."

When I was a mechanic, there was a joke among us, which went:

You only need two things to be a mechanic. First you have to want to be a mechanic, second, you have to find somebody to pay you to be a mechanic.

Training, experience, tools, etc are all superfluous. There are lots of mechanics who get by without any of that stuff.

Poets have one less requirement, which is a good thing, or the population of poets would shrink about 99%. Since we can't define a poem or poetry, we certainly can't limit poets.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
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I asked because I left a comment on somebodys poem saying prose with line breaks didn't make it a poem and the author came back at me saying didn't I know it was prose poetry. It didn't strike me as poetic at all, it might as well have been a paragraph out of a book for all the poetry I saw in it ....... actually some authors write prose more poetically!
Sounds like baloney to me. You didn't "get" the poem because you just don't understand what a prose poem is? That sounds like something someone says because they're defensive and not open to your comment. In my opinion the only proper response to feedback on a poem is "thank you," but some folks do get their feathers ruffled. Especially here.

Anyway this is all subjective. When I read Virginia Woolf's Orlando or Shakespeare's The Tempest (for examples), I see poetry more than prose or dialogue. So much of this stuff is in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:46 PM   #10
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I asked because I left a comment on somebodys poem saying prose with line breaks didn't make it a poem and the author came back at me saying didn't I know it was prose poetry. It didn't strike me as poetic at all, it might as well have been a paragraph out of a book for all the poetry I saw in it ....... actually some authors write prose more poetically!
I read the poem you're talking about. I agree with you. I won't call it out since you didn't link the poem.

By definition, prose poetry maybe more story-like; however, the piece must have considerable amount of imagery and emotion than prose. A good use of metaphor is also required. The poem in question had none of the elements prose poetry is supposed to have. It's just a bit of flash fiction with line breaks as you've said.

The 100 word poem thread (or whatever it's named; I can't find the thread) we have is more prose poetry if you'd like good examples
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:31 PM   #11
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First, while I don't think I've read the piece in question, any person who claims that his audience doesn't appreciate his work because they didn't understand what he was doing is insulting both his audience and the work. His audience by assuming we wouldn't "get" what he was doing, his work because he doesn't believe it can stand on its own without defense.

Yes, there are pieces which aren't ready to be out in public, but if a person is going to send a draft out into the internet, he has to be able to trust it to appeal to an audience on its own, without a semi-authorial presence on the front porch, polishing daddy's shot-gun.

Having said that, I find that I'm hesitant to come up with a comprehensive distinction between poetry and prose. Story can be found in both, so that's useless. Length is semi-useless--although generally poetry is shorter. Modern poetry does not have to have rhyme, rhythm (that's more debatable--how about, it doesn't have to have metric feet, but most good poetry has some sort of flow it it), line breaks, funny spacing, punctuation, lack of punctuation, fancy language, capital letters . . . there are no hard and fast rules. No definitions.

We know it when we see it.

However, poetry needs precision and focus. If something is called a poem, (I think) it needs to have words chosen even more carefully than one would do in a flash fiction piece. Every word, phrase, line break, image, should be focused on conveying the message of the poem (whether that message is an idea, thought, or scene).

Novels often have passages that are poetry. Short stories, which have to be more focused than novels, can be even more poetic, but when fiction gets that focused, there is serious danger of overwriting--becoming so intent on getting the language right that the meaning is lost. Poetry is meant to do that--to test the limits of language for a specific purpose.

For me, a prose poem would be poetry written in paragraph form, with no line breaks but having the kind of focus that lures a reader deep into the piece for a specific emotional or sensory reason. And even that is a poor definition.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:12 PM   #12
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For me, a prose poem would be poetry written in paragraph form, with no line breaks but having the kind of focus that lures a reader deep into the piece for a specific emotional or sensory reason. And even that is a poor definition.
Sounds like a pretty good definition to me.
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Old 06-09-2012, 01:40 PM   #13
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:05 AM   #14
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Heightened imagery and emotional effects

Prose poetry is marked by the wit and beauty of the poet's precise observations, which all but conceal the poetic transformations at work just below the surface.

By drawing on the creative ambiguity of language, a poet can say several things on several levels at once. The poet can also unobtrusively demonstrate the particular nature of words and things.

The prose in the poem could have a slightly repetitive theme to it so that an object and a singular trait gather complexity together as they follow a short narrative cycle — a definition-description in metaphor. This will fuse with the poem on the page, where all the elements close on the same dying note.

The existence of line breaks does not preclude prose from being prose poetry. Here's one of my favourite, almost surreal, ones for instance:

The Canoeing - by Russell Edson - 1935

We went upstairs in a canoe. I kept catching my paddle in the banisters.
We met several salmon passing us, flipping step by step; no doubt to find the remembered bedroom. And they were like the slippered feet of someone falling down the stairs, played backward as in a movie.
And then we were passing over the downstairs closet under the stairs, and could feel the weight of dark overcoats and galoshes in a cave of umbrellas and fedoras; water dripping there, deep in the earth, like an endless meditation . . .
. . . Finally the quiet waters of the upstairs hall. We dip our paddles with gentle care not to injure the quiet dark, and seem to glide for days by family bedrooms under a stillness of trees . . .
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:48 PM   #15
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To me, poetry is a form of expression that can't be easily conveyed in prose. Prose poetry tries to convey more information than is necessary for most non-prose poems. Most prose poetry is either prose which doesn't resemble poetry, melodic prose resembling poetry, or poetry with more prosaic elements than poetic elements.

Poetry is known for attempts at expressing the inexpressible using the elegance of our language. Prose poetry is known for telling teeny tiny stories with a fairly clear theme/lesson/message. The good prose poetry that I've read usually comes across as a commercial for a longer work that will never be released.

Poetry tries to symbolize the experience of life, prose tries to describe life experiences.
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:31 PM   #16
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To me, poetry is a form of expression that can't be easily conveyed in prose. Prose poetry tries to convey more information than is necessary for most non-prose poems. Most prose poetry is either prose which doesn't resemble poetry, melodic prose resembling poetry, or poetry with more prosaic elements than poetic elements.

Poetry is known for attempts at expressing the inexpressible using the elegance of our language. Prose poetry is known for telling teeny tiny stories with a fairly clear theme/lesson/message. The good prose poetry that I've read usually comes across as a commercial for a longer work that will never be released.

Poetry tries to symbolize the experience of life, prose tries to describe life experiences.
Here koba, in a nut shell
Now perhaps we can get a table of poetic elements

or we can discuss the difference between verse and poetry,
because i see a lot of teeny tiny versifications...

'Poetry is known for attempts at expressing the inexpressible using the elegance of our language.'
so poetry has failure programmed into it, but with fancy talk ( er, poetic language)
attempts undefined
inexpressible impossible to define
elegance undefined
our language undefined
if you can't define poetry how can you define prose poetry?
what you are saying is akin to "i don't know nothin' 'bout art, but i knows it when i sees it"

Perhaps a short read of Lakoff, about how the brain forms categories
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