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    Latest Topics


    What Can Prose Writers Learn From Poets?

    Poets and prose writers often receive different "instructions" on how to write well, and are encouraged to read widely in their own genre, but I would suggest that prose writers can vastly improve their craft by turning to poetry. Poets focus on imagery and concision – two tools that make immensely better prose writing too. Of course, these tools aren’t used in the same way, but reading and even writing poetry can strengthen a prose writer’s ability. Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar is a perfect example of this. Plath is best known as a poet, but her novel is unparalleled. While reading it, I was struck by the poetic use of language and economy of words (why use twenty when you could use five?). What other ways can prose writers improve from reading/writing poetry?

    • Good idea, especially about concision. I've written prose for years and still struggle with that. Poetry sometimes helps. – Stephanie M. 8 years ago
    • Fusing prose and poetry together definitely has some merits and would make for a solid article. Determining/clarifying what type of prose writers would be helpful, as there are creative writers, fan fiction, bloggers, etc, that would likely claim their already employed vivid language that derives from poetry. Good topic though! – mazzamura 8 years ago
    • Poetry often has a closer focus on form that can be useful for prose writers. Different poetic forms have particular histories, and are adapted or kept to for particular purposes, much more so (I find) than in most Western prose. That's something that prose writers can learn -- an appreciation or awareness of form. – belindahuang18 7 years ago
    • There's a Judith Ortiz Cofer essay called "But Tell It Slant: From Poetry to Prose and Back Again" which refers to this idea. She discusses how one can create a better or more economical prose piece if it is "summarized" in poetry first, and the poem is then used as a framework for the prose. – ThomasB 7 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    This is a unique article, bringing to light something most of us have felt but have probably never defined in such a way. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Marc AugĂ© and his concept of the “non-place” (for anyone interested, you can read about it here: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jread2/Auge%20Non%20places.pdf ). In short, a non-place is a transient space of insignificance like an airport, highway or yes, supermarket. In these places everyone is passing through, and normally, you can find tens or hundreds of other places like it. A Walmart in San Francisco can look alarmingly similar to one in Boston. In many ways, the consistency remains not only in specific chains but amongst competitors who, though claiming to offer a different experience, fall back on those repetitive aisles, wire carts, and unspoken rules that the author of this article finds so paralyzing. This is a wonderful example of where art meets sociology. Scholars and poets can find the same conclusions and portray them in different, wonderful ways, even about something as simple as a supermarket!

    Tears Spilled in Aisle Six: The Supermarket as a Conformist Hell

    As an aspiring editor, this concept makes me particularly sad. I couldn’t help but notice that the post itself was full of mistakes that should have been caught by the writer or editor(s). Even in complaint, we often fall into the trap we hate for the same reasons we establish ( I know I’m guilty too).

    Last year I had the privilege of running into an editor in the coffee shop I worked at, and had the opportunity to ask her what advice she would give to someone like me, looking to fill her shoes one day. After thinking on it for a few minutes she told me, “Know when to let go.” This post discusses the negative effects time pressure put on many publishers and editors and they couldn’t be any more real. This experienced editor who clearly had a passion for perfection told me that she had knowingly published mistake-ridden manuscripts because of time restraints, and had to learn what she would allow herself to give into and what she would give her attention to when pressed. Editors are still capable and passionate, but media has changed, and they have had to change with it.

    Where Did All the Editors Go?

    Great tips for flash fiction. I’ve tried my hand at it a few times but there’s certainly a learning curve, and this walk through will probably help me next time I sit down to try writing flash again. To me flash fiction seems like it bridges the gap between prose poetry and short story. Prose poetry is usually shorter than fiction, even flash fiction, and the mantra of a poet is “economy, economy, economy.” In flash fiction we are forced into a similar type of concision, resulting in poetic -like visceral imagery.

    Four Techniques of Effective Flash Nonfiction Writers