Prose poetry is a murky subgenre, with little clear definition except “imaginative poetic writing in prose”. This murkiness can leave more room for play, and more room for experimentation than in more rigid genres. At the same time there is structure already in place: the paragraph. Sentence lovers of all kinds are invited to delve into prosaic poems. Prose writers, bring your love of syntax and suspense. Poets, bring your affinity for prosody.
In this workshop we will interrogate the anatomy of a sentence and the poetic paragraph, taking a closer look at how prose poets convey transitions, and the role that first and last sentences play. We will study prose poems from writers such as Danez Smith, Sandra Cisneros, and Khadijah Queen, among others.
Once we get to writing, we will play with sentence composition and order to see the myriad possibilities in a paragraph. We will work on writing exercises that yield images rich enough to linger in the mind, as found in many memorable verse poems. Then we will write and workshop your original prose poems, paying close attention to word choice and sentence order. You’ll leave this session with a complete first draft and ideas for generating new prose poetry.