Why I Write Poetry, not Prose: A Guest Post by Laura Foley
For this blog post, I am asking the question why I write poetry, not prose. Many of the poems in my new chapbook, Joy Street, originated in a writing group for prose writers. I was the only poet, and I wanted to see what it would be like to try prose. As it turned out, everything I wrote came out in little bursts of images, emotional explosions. Some people call them prose poems, some people call them poems, some say it’s flash non-fiction. Whatever the name, writing these small stories is what I most enjoy doing, and feels genuine to my experience. I love the process of working an image into a shape, to chip at a block of remembered experience until it shines with it’s own essence. When I was a kid, I liked to collect postage stamps, exotic animals from Africa, a queen from Spain, an Indonesian palm leaf: lovely little worlds. Also as a child, I had a mineral collection, each one in its own little box. I’ve written a poem about this which I’ll include here. Maybe it explains a little about why I write poems? In any case, whatever I write, I hope it shines.
In fourth grade I made a box
for stones, twenty little rooms,
each gem tidy
on its cotton-puff bed:
limonite, quartz, azurite;
each name printed neatly on paper labels
in royal blue: garnet,
Twenty little rooms
equal in comfort,
labeled with certainty:
pyrite, gypsum, magnetite;
each owning definite properties:
could scratch lines on another, or not,
shine like gold, streak like chalk,
or break glass-like
into fragile prismatic shards.
Thank you very much for your guest post and poem, Laura! I enjoyed reading this "small story", as well as the ones in Joy Street. Your poems truly are "like crystal: delicate, sharp, clear, full of light", as poet Patricia Fargnoli says, and they emanate joy.
Special thanks to Serena from Savvy Verse and Wit and to Lisa from TLC for the opportunity to present this guest post. Please visit the other stops on TLC's book blog tour for Joy Street.
Your comments are appreciated. If you'd like an additional entry in my giveaway for Joy Street, please indicate that in your comment here.