Saturday, 11 September 2010

Poetic prose

"Poetic" is a term that's often applied to prose, but what does it mean?

Blurb-writers and critics use it as shorthand for the lyrical use of device, for musicality as expressed through sounds and rhythms. However, I feel this interpetation is slack journalese, perpetuating the public's misconceptions of poetry.

In fact, real poetic prose is the pared-down use of language, where each word works overtime for its keep. It's prose where there's a heightened awareness of the slightest nuance belonging to every lexical choice.

The compact, compressed nature of short stories lends itself more to this quality than a novel. Cortázar, Borges and Carver are all examples of writers who began with poetry and then excelled as short-story writers. As for myself, I love telling short stories in my poetry.

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