In my graduate poetry writing workshop, we recently studied the prose poem. For those who haven’t discussed modes of writing in several years (what kind of weirdo discusses modes of writing?), prose is basically any writing that is not in verse. For example, novels and instruction manuals are both written in prose, whereas poetry is written in verse. It’s a basic distinction. Well, there’s this thing called a prose poem, and it is a hybrid of both modes of writing. It is a poem whose rhythm is controlled by sentences rather than by traditional poetic constraints, such as line and rhyme. Often they look like paragraphs, but they’re usually not indented like a paragraph. Think of them as blocks of prose. Yet they function like poems. In other words, they possess poetic rhythm and language, and they compress lots of meaning into a tiny space. The more of them you read, the more you get a feel for what a prose poem is.
Below is one of my attempts at writing prose poetry. It is inspired by the recent Weezer concert I attended. I have long referred to Weezer as my favorite band, due largely to the affinity I developed for them as an undergraduate. The poem is presented as a photo, because it was important to show what a prose poem may look like on a page rather than on a blog post. And just as a page is often bent a little, so too is this cellphone photo–a happy accident. Here it goes.