Thursday, January 22, 2015

Why I Write Poetry, not Prose: A Guest Post by Laura Foley

Laura Foley is the author of four collections of poetry: Joy Street, The Glass Tree, Mapping the Fourth Dimension, and Syringa.  As if being a poet isn't enough, she's also a volunteer chaplain, yoga teacher, and creative arts facilitator in hospitals, who resides in Vermont with her partner, Clara, and their three dogs.  In connection with yesterday's review of Joy Street, here is an exclusive guest post by Laura Foley, which includes a poem.


Laura's workspace

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.

Little Rooms

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, 
muscovite, feldspar. 
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. 


  1. I wonder if she or Clara painted the painting above her workspace! I too collected stamps and minerals as a kid. Funny, I stopped both collections when I hit high school. I love her short story poems.

  2. Serena, the artwork is Primavera by Barbara Perrine Chu. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I really like this post. It is almost like a little bit of a look into the creative process.

    Little Rooms definitely shines!

  4. I enjoyed this post. Sometimes when I try to assign novels a genre, I'm not quite sure of what to assign. I like that this author, has her own combination of prose and poetry. It keeps things interesting.

  5. This is really nice, different to anything I would normally read. Been years since I read poetry


  6. Hi Suko!
    I like the idea of flash non-fiction and I like the way Little Rooms flows. Great guest post. Joy Street does sound good.

  7. I do understand Laura Foley when she writes "everything I wrote came out in little bursts of images..." "LIttle Rooms" is wonderful. And I agree about stamps--they were such fun to collect (and then to set in their own 'little rooms' in the album). Thanks, Suko, and thank you Laura!

  8. Thanks for featuring Laura for the tour!

  9. Flash non-fiction, I like it. It's amazing to read how creativity can come in so many forms.


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