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poetry

I started my writing life as a poet, published a few pieces in University reviews, and then embarked on my life as a professional liar -- which is to say, a writer of fiction.

Every so often, however, I have the same compulsion that used to drive me into the corners of crowded rooms, with scraps of paper and a pen I stole from some bewildered stranger, and I write poetry.

KP and I were discussing poetry tonight. Or rather, we were discussing a collection of poetry which I thought should have been severely edited before it saw print -- because had it been, I would have loved it. I know that poetry is hard to edit -- but oddly enough, while I would not touch a single word of the same writer's -prose- (or most prose, really, as I'm not a line-editor for other's work), I would fiddle all over the place with other's poetry, if allowed.

I'm not sure why. In fact, I'm not sure why I write the poetry, because there is not only no intent to have it published, there is an active intent to have it buried.

Anyone else?

Comments

msagara
Jun. 19th, 2004 08:15 am (UTC)
it occurs to me
that I should also point out that you're writing your poetry for publication; I'm writing mine for... still not sure, to be honest. Narrative verse is something I can't imagine writing without an intention to find an audience. Actually, -any- narrative, seems to me, to want an audience.

I think, when I started my first novel (the one that became the second book) I was without question a better poet -- in the modern, blank verse sense -- than I was a prose writer. There are a lot of conventions in modern poetry that I had difficulty shifting away from (in particular, the use of description -as- description, as something that refers to an object, or in fact, the use of any description at all).
lnhammer
Jun. 19th, 2004 08:23 am (UTC)
Re: it occurs to me
Agreed about narrative and audience. I write to tell stories. My roots as a fiction writer were not with crabbed notebooks in my preteens, but as an oral storyteller to other kids. It's not a coincidence that my only prose fiction sales are fairy tales, because they are, among forms of fiction, the most closely identified with a storyteller's voice.

One thing I like about narrative verse is that, in addition to description and language being concentrated, so is the voice.

---L.