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Stew21
08-04-2015, 06:11 PM
I've seen 2 threads recently regarding "Prose Poetry" and it has certainly come up before, but I have to say that I honestly don't see the difference between what people call prose poetry and what others call flash fiction.

Can someone enlighten me?

Lillith1991
08-04-2015, 06:35 PM
Prose Poetry, to my understanding is poetry that is written as prose instead of verse. Normally it is arranged into paragraphs. It is different from flash in the language that is used is both as sparse and lush as normal poetry.

Flash on the other hand is written in the same type of language you find in a normal short or novel. Only much more ecconomic in use of details and descritptive language.

Kylabelle
08-04-2015, 06:44 PM
In one of our long discussion threads not very long ago, Steppe posted a quote and reference to an article (?) that argues there is no such thing as prose poetry. I've been meaning to ask him to repeat that reference as I also am curious about this.

I have a book of short pieces by *have to fetch the name in a moment* Gary Young called Braver Deeds, which is classed as poetry -- but even though they are quite potent and use language with great edges, they could equally be called flash, for all of me.

*goes to fetch that name*

Full title is Braver Deeds, Poems by Gary Young. It is the winner of the Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize, it also says on the cover, or perhaps he is.

Xelebes
08-04-2015, 06:47 PM
Flash fiction is narrative focused. My flash fiction does not try to be poetic and there are time limits. My prose poetry has all the rhythmic flourishes and takes time to write.

Kylabelle
08-04-2015, 06:55 PM
More from Gary Young, regarding prose poetry: (https://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/awards/frost_and_shelley/shelley_winners/2009a/)


In one of his many published essays speaking to his choice of the prose poem and his process, Young writes:

I have found it more difficult to lie in prose, either through omission or amplification. Poems written in prose encourage—at least in me—a stricter honesty, and as a result the mysteries revealed—at least for now—seem more genuine and profound. I want to write with as much clarity as I can about those moments that define our lives . . . But each instant understood thoroughly—understood as God might understand it—is of a caliber with any other, not because it has been demoted to some lowest common denominator, but because each is a kernel and a mirror of eternity.



Also at that link, at the top, is one of Young's pieces.

Whether or not we agree with his reasoning, his writing is quite stunning to experience, and worth a visit at least.

Lillith1991
08-04-2015, 07:06 PM
Flash fiction is narrative focused. My flash fiction does not try to be poetic and there are time limits. My prose poetry has all the rhythmic flourishes and takes time to write.

Id like to note, there's no actual timelimit on flash. What there is, is the a limited number of words avalaible to someone writing flash. When you only have 1000 words to write something in, you cut to the heart of the matter and write in the both most descriptive and ecconomic way possible.

Prose poetry doesn't have that quality. Theres a difference in the way that the economy and description is used. And like poems, is more about painting a picture even when narative than outright description of something.

Xelebes
08-04-2015, 07:53 PM
Id like to note, there's no actual timelimit on flash. What there is, is the a limited number of words avalaible to someone writing flash. When you only have 1000 words to write something in, you cut to the heart of the matter and write in the both most descriptive and ecconomic way possible.

Prose poetry doesn't have that quality. Theres a difference in the way that the economy and description is used. And like poems, is more about painting a picture even when narative than outright description of something.

I am corrected. Poetry prose can also be written in short story or novel length. Many of the high end literary novels are more poetry prose than straight up narrative.

Stew21
08-06-2015, 05:08 PM
I appreciate the insight.

I don't know that I would say literary fiction is actually prose poetry though.

TexasPoet mentioned in another thread that prose poetry differs from flash fiction in character arc too.

Let me find his quote. I don't want to misrepresent what he said.

Stew21
08-06-2015, 05:13 PM
Stew, as it was explained to me, flash fiction shows a change in the protagonist....prose poetry doesn't.


This is Texas Poet's quote.

Lillith1991
08-06-2015, 05:18 PM
I appreciate the insight.

I don't know that I would say literary fiction is actually prose poetry though.

TexasPoet mentioned in another thread that prose poetry differs from flash fiction in character arc too.

Let me find his quote. I don't want to misrepresent what he said.

Sounds about right to me.

Xelebes
08-06-2015, 06:09 PM
I appreciate the insight.

I don't know that I would say literary fiction is actually prose poetry though.

It's what I call bleeding the line.

kennyc
08-14-2015, 07:28 PM
This is Texas Poet's quote.

Well yes and no, because certainly narrative poetry can have/show a change in the protagonist and very often does.

Here's what I say in the introduction to my most recent collection:

"Call them prose poems, flash fiction, nano fiction, poetic prose, short-shorts, one-page fictions, creative nonfiction, drabbles (100 words exactly), or call them Carl if it suits you. To me they all mix and meld, intersect, overlap and combine into something I like to think of as Prosthetic Amalgams.
Kenny A. Chaffin – February 2015"

I think truly it is somewhat dependent on what the author says. In reading 'Great American Prose Poems' edited by David Lehman he discusses this a bit in the introduction but also includes selections that truly could be either one.

To me Prose Poetry tends to be a bit more explicitly poetic in word choice and in phrasing as well as using poetic techniques alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme and etc. but not always.

I began studying flash non-fiction a couple of years back which led me (back...I'd actually written some flash decades ago) to flash fiction and prose poetry and in that process I kept running across pieces (such as The Deck (http://www.ibiblio.org/ipa/poems/komunyakaa/deck.php)by Yusef Komunyakaa, Leap (http://findingadam.blogspot.com/2011/10/leap-by-brian-doyle.html) by Brian Doyle) which were published in different places/collections as flash or poetry. Also works by Sherri Flick, Lydia Davis, Stuart Dybek and others.

In truth there is a spectrum and no clear dividing line, best just to read and enjoy!

Magdalen
08-14-2015, 08:18 PM
Relying on the poet/author to determine the genre would appear to be a primrose path of dalliance tread, as I take it from Ophelia and apply it to poetics. I'm not a big fan of prose poems, but I enjoy reading and writing flash fiction - two separate beasts, to me.