does this poem work as a prose poem? suggestions, welcome

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does this poem work as a prose poem? suggestions, welcome

Post  Pat on Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:31 am

In Praise of Norfork



My mother would call this a footnote town in the big middle of nowhere,

where you might need a tall plan to go to the little grocery or café, where

the oldest state structure stands high on a bluff, overlooking the hearts

of two rivers uniting. Children here play outdoors during the summers and

perhaps take wildlife, rivers, lakes and cottonwoods for granted. Some of

us women still hang wash on a line on Monday mornings just to smell the

shine from cotton sheets at night. One or two of us keep a window cracked,

hoping to hear the first bird in a red suit crack his welcome to the bright sun

that’s set on coming over that one ridge every morning. The men hunt, fish, fly

Old Glory and keep calloused hands; somehow they fare quite well without

a list, knowing they’ll cut hay and help a neighbor whether it rains or not. At

a little church, many of us come together to worship our maker, to greet one

another and fellowship with wiggling and turning talks like the rambling and

double-back country roads that often cross over a bridge of a low-water creek.

And what we did not learn as children with blood kin, we tie-in amid these

kindred spirits for yet another chance. A few may linger to visit or to tell a

grieved one how he will not be forgotten during the busy week. When I hurt

in this tiny town where I am cradled by mountains, I tell it, tell it or bellow

with the cows or howl with coyotes. I do not, do not hug it like a prize. I must

tell you: this is so opposite from my city time— all tidy and severe—like the

paved clean streets where I lived upright in my uptight space, where I deferred

sad, and where I swallowed concrete, then spewed it up later.

Pat

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Prose poems need no margins

Post  tsukany on Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:37 pm

Pat...I broke this at ten syllables a line. I feels pretty long. I am not sure that your title relates to the ending of the poem (where you took me at the end did not make me think of praise of small but the negation of big city). Just another way for you to examine lines and line breaks. I think I count over 300 words. My students write 500-word essays. Smile



In Praise of Norfork

My mother would call this a footnote town
in the big middle of nowhere, where you might
need a tall plan to go to the little
grocery or café, where the oldest state
structure stands high on a bluff, overlook-
ing the hearts of two rivers uniting.

Children here play outdoors during the sum-
mers and perhaps take wildlife, rivers, lakes
and cottonwoods for granted. Some of us
women still hang wash on a line on Mon-
day mornings just to smell the shine from cot-
ton sheets at night. One or two of us keep

a window cracked, hoping to hear the first
bird in a red suit crack his welcome to the
bright sun that’s set on coming over that
one ridge every morning. The men hunt, fish,
fly Old Glory and keep calloused hands; some-
how they fare quite well without a list, know-

ing they’ll cut hay and help a neighbor whe-
ther it rains or not. At a little church, man-
y of us come together to worship
our maker, to greet one another and
fellowship with wiggling and turning talks
like the rambling and double-back country roads

that often cross over a bridge of a
low-water creek. And what we did not learn
as children with blood kin, we tie-in a-
mid these kindred spirits for yet ano-
ther chance. A few may linger to visit
or to tell a grieved one how he will not

be forgotten during the busy week.
When I hurt in this tiny town where I
am cradled by mountains, I tell it, tell
it or bellow with the cows or howl with
coyotes. I do not, do not hug it
like a prize. I must tell you: this is so

opposite from my city time— all ti-
dy and severe—like the paved clean streets where
I lived upright in my uptight space, where
I deferred sad, and where I swallowed con-
crete, then spewed it up later.
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Re: does this poem work as a prose poem? suggestions, welcome

Post  Dennis20 on Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:16 pm

 

Pat,  I'm glad Todd has already written something. I wanted to cut words from the poem not really understanding why.  I think it is as he says, the lines are too long.  It's not the content, it's how you presented it.  It becomes like a book, reading across the page.  We think of poetry as being concise without over using words.  You may not have over used words, but it appears like it.  Sometimes form is as  important as what is said.  If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck... 

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Pat's wandering through backcountry

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:55 pm

Pat, Just the ending of this piece bothered me. Seems like you strayed from the poem at this point and started another one. Otherwise I liked it. You know my tendency to cut woords, squeeze a poem making more room for the reader. Overall it does seem to "read" more than "dance". I'm used to your work dancing and singing. I like Todd's version... more poetic. Dewell (Where's the spellchecque on this machine?)

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okay, I hear you. . . . it doesn't work as a prose poem. . . .

Post  Pat on Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:09 am

and the ending doesn't work either. I need to squeeze the water out of it too. Hmmmm, I was afraid of that. It's an older poem that I want to use, so I have work to do. Thank you. Especially for the energy on counting syllables! Long poem this way!

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Prose Poem

Post  tsukany on Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:28 am

Pat,

I like the idea of prose poems. I like the syllable count because it forces me to look at the lines. I have to pack those ten syllables tightly. Julia Alvarez and others like that ten syllable count since it feels natural to our western ears. See what happens if you clean those lines up one at a time. Then remove the end stops and see if THAT works as a prose poem.

When do you need to submit this as a "finished" product? I'd love to pester through it with you. Smile

Todd
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