Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prose Poetry #1

I recently submitted a poem for publication.  I am more reluctant to share my poetry than my prose and essays for some reason.  I don't know exactly what that's about - maybe it's an issue of confidence.

In any case, I learned a rookie writer's lesson.  I failed to read the poetry already posted on the site before submitting my own.  It turned out that what I submitted really was not a good fit for that venue if for no other reason than the overwhelming majority of poems they accepted for publication were of the Prose Poetry variety - that is, they didn't rhyme.  The piece I submitted was of the traditional bent - rhythmic, lyrical, and rhyming.  I fear that, by comparison, mine may have come off as a bit Seussian.

Not surprisingly, the poem was rejected.  Alas, what's done is done.  Lesson learned.  I (probably) won't do that again.

It stung a bit, but for the time being my view is that acceptance and rejection doesn't matter so much as actually getting the submission out there.  For now, I choose to focus on my efforts rather than my outcomes.  By committing myself to the acts of writing & submitting rather than being attached to the result, my aim is to develop a routine; a daily practice.  And, like an athletic endeavor, I am confident that success on the field will come in time, as long as I put in the practice regularly and hard. This blog will be part of that practice and, as you can see from my incredibly inconsistent entries, developing a daily routine is an ongoing work in progress for me.

So, to the point of today.  My 2nd-grader is working on poetry in school.  He did an acrostic, which is akin to an acronym in reverse.  Choose a word - my son's word was Basketball - and then start each line of the "poem" with each letter of the word - B... A... S... K... - then try to relate those lines to the theme word in some fashion - B is for Bouncey... etc.

My son still had a second poem to write this morning, but didn't have much time and didn't want to do another acrostic.  He tapped his pencil on the blank paper as he watched some birds on our feeder outside the window and declared he wanted to write what he called a metaphor poem.  But he couldn't think of any metaphors to write about, so he tapped and watched and tapped and watched some more.  And, thus, my opening to redeem my earlier poetic rejection.

While I cleaned up the boys' breakfast and made their lunches, I shared with him my proven poetic prowess.  This is the result of our collaboration.  I think it's a poem, but it definitely doesn't rhyme.  Enjoy and ponder how such rare talent could have possibly been rejected by anyone. 

My pencil is like a bird.
Sometimes it flies across the page.
Sometimes it just pecks a bit.
And this poem is its song.


  1. That is an awesome poem. And what a strange, yet appropriate, illustration. I also enjoyed the use of your word "Seussian".

  2. The poem is perfect, love it. The picture is pretty great too. I prefer lyrical poetry to prose poetry, actually. Seussian stuff is my favorite, and whenever I write poetry (which is almost never), I think it comes out sounding pretty Seussian. And silly. I haven't talked to Sarah about how she approves and rejects poetry, so I really have no idea why your piece would get turned down, but my humble opinion is that good fiction is far cooler than good poetry, haha ;)

  3. Hi Matthew! Kudos to you for writing a poem and submitting it. It's interesting that you find it harder to share your poetry over your prose/essays. This isn't quite the same thing, but somone in my writing group once mentioned that she doesn't critique other people's poetry, as she believes it to be so deeply personal to writer. While I don't think poetry is necessarily more or less personal than prose, I do find it harder to critique/analyze. And I'm not quite sure why that is. I think it's because there seems to be so much more flexibility built into poetry. It tends to be more slippery, with less obviously recognizable things to grasp onto. Great post!

  4. Matthew,
    It's the last day of 2012 and I spent all day cleaning my house. Is that a metaphor? I hope so! I'm sitting in a quiet, clean house listening for the snow... Happy New Year, friend
    AKA Jude

    1. Cleaning house at the close of the year does seem somehow telling, doesn't it? We bid it a fond farewell and turn to face the new.