It occurred to our staff that our members might like to hear about why we thought introducing a prose prompt feature once a month would be a good thing for Poets United: adding new life and energy, and an intriguing new direction, for those who wish to participate. I am handing today’s column over to staff member Magaly Guerrero, to discuss this very thing. Magaly, it is all yours, my friend.
Sweet Sherry, thanks again for letting me prose my feelings in the open. And thank you, readers and writers who read, for taking the time to digest this post (and for sharing your thoughts on it *cough*).
Thank you for the warm introduction, Sherry. Since a prose prompt brewed out of necessity for me, I will start from the very beginning.
Some time ago, when poetry first landed on my Muse’s tongue, and we realized just how much we loved the taste of poems, I decided to bring poetry into the fiction writing group I belonged to at the time. The result was… an ink-kissed blast. I am not trying to imply that every fiction writer began birthing flawless poetry—that would be a lie—but the majority of the group jumped in. We sprinkled wee bits of poetry into our prose, and watched as the shape of the narrative evolved: voices became richer, imagery brighten plots, stories grew shorter but said more. I was in writer’s paradise.
Then... I got very sick.
My body forced me to stop working on long stories and novels. Part of my treatment was hell on concentration, on energy, on time... So, I had to leave my face-to-face writer’s paradise, and start searching for groups online. It is how I found Poets United and the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. I fell in love with what these poetry writing communities offered, but my soul continued to hunger for prose.
The yearning for storytelling nudged me (all right, kicked me not-so-gently on the back of the knees) until I approached the Poets United staff and proposed a Pantry of Prose. When I was asked, why do you think a prose prompt once a month might be a very good thing, for you and for Poets United? I had no trouble answering the first part of the question: I’ve been starving for the kind of inspiration-juice I get out of writing and sharing and reading prose in the same manner we do poetry. The second part of the question was more difficult to answer.
So, I thought about it…
…and thought about it…
…until I remembered what poetry did for my storytelling:
Poetry opened new writing doors for my Muse and me. And I believe writing prose can do the same for poets—it could offer new territory to explore, create skill-sharpening challenges, and widen readership. The latter, in particular, is extra important for those of us who want to sell… something. As Rosemary so eloquently put it in a comment in her latest Moonlight Musings, “in general, poetry is that stuff that doesn’t sell. Not well enough to feed [most of] us, anyway.”
I understand that for many of us writing poetry is a hobby (just like breathing), but wouldn’t it be yummy if we could find ways to make our poetry attractive to people who prefer prose? Mixing things up a bit, by adding prose to a poet’s repertoire, might be how some prose only readers give our poetry a real try. And since prose tends to sell a bit better than poetry, finding an efficient (and fun) way to present them side by side might make a pleasant difference.
When I dreamed up Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: a Pantry of Prose, I never thought the prompt would be just for telling stories. I hoped the time would come when we could work on synopses, book proposals, creative book reviews… and pretty much anything which might help us share our words (both Prose and Poetry) with a larger audience. And who knows, the slight diversification might even help us sell enough words to pay for a tasty cup of our favorite brew.
I suspect the Pantry of Prose might take some time to stick (change is neither easy nor speedy). But it can be so good, if given a chance.
Thank you, Magaly, for giving me a weekend “off” a month, for injecting life and buoyancy into our site, and for reminding me that I have been neglecting my prose muscles. I am enjoying writing short prose bits very much. Poetry and prose go hand in hand - it is the stringing together of words that is the dance, and our delight, whatever name it is called by.