I’m neither artist nor teacher nor writer, I’m Mr. Magpie the story-thief. At times a maker too. A bricoleur, a bodger, a do-it-myselfer, forever clumsily assembling the broken bits of the world into new shapes. Oddments. A leap-frogging figure. A walker. Or list maker, on the lookout for hidden links, the turns-in-the-road, recycling phrases and thoughts, building bridges, sometimes fences, walls, arches or gates. And crossing borders.

The Undersong needs a voice. For the singing.

I'm always on the lookout for a creative/expressive way to write what I hope will be interesting posts. I've dabbled in telegraphese and the creative constraint imposed by minimal posts eg. posts of no more than 100 words. I've increased the number of posts that rely on poetry and explored poetic forms such as haiku and haibun. And, more recently I've been reading prose poetry.

Prose poetry is written like prose, in paragraphs rather than verse, but contains the characteristics of poetry, such as poetic meter, language play, and a focus on images rather than narrative, plot, and character.

“The simplest definition is that a prose poem is a poem written in prose....But, not unlike "free verse," the oxymoronic name captures the complex nature of a beast bred to challenge conventional assumptions about what poetry is and what it can do.”

Brian Clements and Jamey Dunham (eds.) An Introduction to the Prose Poem. (2009)

“The prose poem is a composition printed out as prose that names itself as poetry, availing itself of the elements of prose, while foregrounding the devices of poetry.”

Hirsch Robert 'A Poets Glossary' Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , New York 2014

Technically, a prose poem appropriates some of the conventions of prose but reads as poetry. Visually it tends to lack the line breaks associated with poetry, that essential interplay between words and white space. However, in common with poetry, it makes extensive use of fragmentation, compression, repetition and rhyme. Prose poetry should be considered as neither primarily poetry nor prose but is essentially a hybrid or fusion of the two.

It's early days yet, but I'm optimistic that prose poetry may provide just the kind of open-ended creative approach to writing that I've been looking for, to provide The Undersong project with it's own voice.

  • We're just about ready to restart the Long Trip down the Water Road.
  • Recommendations of websites & books always welcome...
  • Current reading: 'Magpie Words' Richard Caddel, 'Woods etc.' Alice Oswald & '100 Prized Poems'
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