Poetry Prose Conversation
I've studied words and communication for over 50 years. Along the way, I've written 15 books, many articles and essays, countless business materials -- brochures, scripts and promotional copy. I've also taught filmmaking and communication skills for executives, managers and even ESL students. During that time, I developed a great respect for the power of words and in particular poetry. At Raymond Reads you'll find clarity and simplicity in discussions of poetry and other writing forms.
In the '70's I wrote that if Marijuana were prose, poetry would be LSD. Sure, times have changed, and there's much more to it than a catchy phrase. But the idea holds: Prose could be described as skillfully written words, sentences and paragraphs. Poetry could be described as intensly focused words, lines and stanzas.
As one simple example...
PROSE: From THE SIMIAN BRIDGE
"Alice blinked several times and looked straight up into the canopy of leaves and branches. Though it did not seem particularly amazing to her, she heard the feet of birds moving and clutching the branches nearly fifty feet above her. She also heard the fluttering leaves lightly brush each other's wet skins. She knew they were wet by the slightly squeaky sounds they made, and the thick fresh scents they released with each touch. She heard and followed the sound of the breeze as it swept up from the deep grass and circled through the trees. "
POETRY: From THE REVLON SLOUGH
"Midnight Earth Chant"
Great hard mother
we are swarming on your back
strapping you in concrete belts
pumping out your greasy blood
choking off your blue Pacific cheeks
as you roll us out beneath
a slice of moon never dreaming
we are busy with your murder.
Hopefully, you see what I see. The prose is made up of skillfully written descriptive words, sentences and paragraphs. Those words describe a scene and hopefully move the reader to visualize the character, setting and action, and continue reading to discover more.
The poetry uses words in a different way. First, it's descriptions are not completely literal. When the title, "Midnight Earth Chant" is combined with the first line, "Great hard Mother", it suggests an image of the earth as our mother in the form of a huge round globe in the dark of space. The next line, "we are swarming on your back", suggests an image of billions of us humans scurrying around on this "Mother globe". The human race, like swarms of insects! The poem then goes on to describe the ways we are slowly destroying our planet, ending with the idea that our Mother earth has no idea, "...we are busy with your murder."
See the difference? Those are the kinds of things we'll talk about on this site.
I’ve been asked how my book of poems, THE REVLON SLOUGH, got its title. It’s an interesting story told in the introduction to the book and this video. Check it out, then let me know your thoughts.
Watch this short video reading. If you’re inclined, send me your thoughts in an email or post on my Blog. I look forward to receiving your ideas — positive, negative or neutral.
I hope to create a place for conversations between people who are serious about writing and exploring ideas through written words. My intent is not to promote my books here, but I will be discussing and reading from them. If you'd care to explore what I've written, search my name on Amazon.com and/or Google. If you're a person who just loves to write and talk about it, you're at the right place. Welcome!