friday roundup: drafting in prose, the chapbook rookie, and Linebreak does it again

Happy Friday, Reader. Here in the Peninsula Town the house is a mess and the cupboard is bare. But just because I’ve been procrastinating doesn’t mean I *have* to get groceries today, right? On to the roundup:

drafting in prose  The prose poem form has always mystified me, not because I don’t like it but because I don’t know how to use it. The first time I fell in love with a prose poem was in Fleda Brown‘s collection Reunion. She has a series of prose poems called “Knife” on the topic of a loved one’s brain tumor, treatment, and the aftermath. Shortly after I read that collection, I e-mailed Fleda asking her about the use of the prose poem form — whether she had drafted in that form, or had revised into it; how she knew the prose form was what the series required, etc. Amongst other things, I remember her saying that she felt the subject required a poem/form that was “barely poetry.” Right now, I’m taking a class through Stanford’s online writer’s studio and we are looking at the prose form this week. The professor has talked about using the prose form to write about difficult subjects and/or subjects that are new to you as writer. She also talks about the prose form as a way to take the poet out of the poem, as a way to take artifice out of the poem, and to give everything in the poem equal weight. With these tidbits in mind, I’ve been drafting in prose lately. I feel quite out of my comfort zone, but I have found that I’ve been able to write more successfully about tricky subjects (in my case, my experience with chronic illness). I haven’t been doing much in the way of process notes lately, but here’s a sample of my latest draft:

This morning in the half-lit lab, you ate a radioactive egg. Then spread yourself out on a steel table. On their screens they watched the egg make its tunneled, wet descent into your inmost rooms, the body’s dark drain.

(btw, the radioactive egg thing is true — strange but true)

If you are a poet, I’d love to hear how you have used the prose form — what you’ve learned about using it, how it fits into your work. Share in comments if you like.


the chapbook rookie  My excellent po-friend and editor of Weave Magazine,  Laura E. Davis, has a chapbook coming out this year from Finishing Line Press. She wrote a great post on promoting a chapbook; read it here. It seems that the bottom line is this: readings sell chapbooks.

The Bay Area has a very reading-centric (new word) approach to literary life. Seriously: throw a stick, hit a poetry reading. This is a bit different from the po-scene in Minnesota, where it seemed to me that readings were fewer and farther between, and mostly reserved for people whose names you already recognized. I am more that ready to blame that on the long, cold, dark winters there — but still, it’s interesting to see the differences in poetry scenes across the country. I’m looking forward to throwing my hat into the reading ring here.


Linebreak does it again  Reader, do yourself a favor and go read this poem by Nathan McClain over at Linebreak. Do you not love that this poem is set at The Home Depot? I do, too, and I also love its looping, repeating lines and phrases — almost pantoum-y (new word).

Meanwhile, Linebreak, I get that you’re an online journal and that’s cool with me. And I’ve already downloaded your awesome e-book, Two Weeks. But sometimes, Linebreak, I just want to put my hands on you. What do you say to a print anthology sometime? Maybe? Someday?

And now, Reader, let me show you something:

The frig is almost always empty. I don't know how it happens.

I really must go round up some food for my family. Have a wonderful weekend!

6 thoughts on “friday roundup: drafting in prose, the chapbook rookie, and Linebreak does it again

  1. you have the important stuff in your fridge, Molly: beer and chocolate syrup. delish!

    I agree about the Linebreak anthology. I’d buy that puppy in a jiffy!

    (this comment brought to you by a short break between beach-time and international rodeo championships in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco)

  2. I don’t know much about the prose poetry really, but I liked your sample. The last bit (‘your inmost rooms, the body’s dark drain’) seemed very evocative to me, gritty and real. I think there’s always something to be learned from pushing yourself into different forms — however briefly.

    Good luck at the grocery store!

    • Thanks, Emily, and thanks for joining the conversation! I rocked the grocery store — in and out in a hour in time for Kinder pick-up 🙂 (practice makes perfect).

  3. Most importantly (which is of course means not important at all…) is that FAT TIRE I spy??? Too bad we can’t get that in MI yet!

    • Fat Tire….. Husband’s in charge of beer. He says, yes, it’s Fat Tire. Me, I don’t care what it’s called as long as it’s cold. But remember: you have Bell’s. Yum.

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