12 Comments
Mar 22, 2023Liked by Maggie Smith

Thank you for this! There's some part of me inside that is a potential poet, but it never crystalizes on the page. And I've found, just recently, that if I start with an idea in the form of a rough-and-tumble poetry draft, it gives me something to unfold into prose, with the heart already present...if that makes sense (?). I look forward to reading the work of the writers you reference.

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That makes a lot of sense! “Unfold” feels like the right verb for it, too.

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Mar 22, 2023Liked by Maggie Smith

I am a playwright who's just discovered the worlds of short "friction" and essay. Oh, to be a poet in my prose! What I would give, as I reach for that ideal. I tend toward the metaphor of a painting, "shading in" the poetry, after the line-drawing of the story has been drawn, softening the edges, deepening the shadows, perhaps. And thank you for mentioning Sarah Ruhl, I just returned from her gorgeous and achingly funny play, Letters From Max--a Ritual in NY.

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I love your description here! And if you haven’t read Ruhl’s 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write, I recommend it.

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Yes, and yes!

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I'm like you, poetry is my first writing language... even if I didn't speak it for many years. When I started writing narrative non-fiction (and even sermons), I sought to bring poetic elements of rhythm and movement into my pieces. I use alliteration, repetition, line breaks, and slant rhyming to give a flow to my prose. I love incorporating poetry into my work, no matter what I'm writing. It's good to hear that someone else is doing this as well.

What's your favorite poetic treatment of a prose piece? What are you drawn to want to hear in prose that reminds you of poetry?

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Extended metaphor in prose works magic, I think, as it does in poems. From a sound perspective, I love anaphora, assonance, and even slant rhyme in prose. I want it to sound beautiful read aloud.

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YAAAAAAAAAS! All the way around, yes.

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Mar 22, 2023Liked by Maggie Smith

Great advice!

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Mar 22, 2023Liked by Maggie Smith

Thanks for list of writers who have crossed genre divide... most new to me!

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Thank you for this! I am usually a screenwriter or copywriter, but recently have had poetry springing into my mind! I felt like I "couldn't" or "shouldn't" step into this genre, but your encouragement means everything.

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I'm so grateful for these posts. Maybe this question will sound trivial, so feel free to reply with a Next Question. Here it is: When you wrote your memoir, was it longhand on legal pads, or on a computer? I know some long-form writers want to write by hand and find that it takes too long. Then there's Wendell Berry, of course.

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