How to write prose poems

The Prose Poem Form
by J. Zimmerman.

Do you are feeling constrained by line breaks? Then the prose poem would be the type you need.

Historic previous.

The King James Mannequin of the Bible accommodates lots that is prose poetry.

Historically, the fable and the parable are fashion prose poetry.

In France the nineteenth century Baudelaire and Rambeau constructed on individuals tales. Inside the ? century, English poets along with ?.

Further recently, many American and British poets (along with ?) have written . –>

Simply recently within the united statesA., Louis Jenkins is praised for his prose poems, as is Gary Youthful. Robert Bly is usually additional worthwhile in his prose poems than elsewhere, and Russell Edson is an applauded writer of wierd miniature prose poems with warped family dynamics.


Prose is the weird language that people use in speaking or writing. It does not cope with the street as a correct unit. It has no repetitive pattern of rhythm or meter.

In a prose poem:

    The writing is regular and with out line breaks.

Poet Gary Youthful has a extremely concise technique to prose poems. In an October 2006 craft workshop, his pointers included:

    Use the spontaneity and drive of the sentence. Allow your writing to be refined and subversive, to warp and seduce, so the reader accepts one factor in a prose poem that they might resist in formal poetry.

  • Begin with "Because of" or "As everybody is aware of". Full this sentence, then one different.

Poet Gary Youthful steered some writing exercise routines for prose poems all through his October 2006 craft workshop:

    Write two sentences to clarify a house by describing points which will be missing. [By extension, one could describe other places (a city, a church, a table, a caravan) or things (the Mississippi River, the Gateway Arch, the bonobo).]

Your Composition.

Listed beneath are some steps to absorb making a Prose poem:

    Free-write for just a few pages. Or go for a stroll and ponder some reminiscences or experiences, possibly triggered by just a few of the steered prose poem writing exercise routines. Adjust to leaps that catch your consideration.

A Remaining Phrase.

Merely since you start with the intention of writing a prose poem, you shouldn’t have to keep up your poem in that sort if it does not provide the outcomes you need. Your attempt to write down on this type may present assist to find phrases that you simply would not have found in some other case. In the long run likelihood is you will decide that your poem is served larger by a definite type, possibly a haiku, possibly a sestina.

Uncover methods to jot down a prose poem. What’s the excellence between prose vs poetry? Uncover recommendations on tips on how to use the climate of poetry to stipulate your prose.

Like this:

Prose Poetry is a poem written in sentence and paragraph type pretty than verse and stanza. Prose poems can use all of the on a regular basis elements of poetry like rhyme, meter, and imagery.

Many individuals are caught in our properties and looking out for an outlet to assuage our nervousness. Or, probably we would like one factor to keep up our quarantined kids busy. Proper right here’s a suggestion: write a prose poem. First, though, we have now to answer only a few questions. Like, what’s prose? Or, even what’s a poem?

What’s a Prose Poem?

Prose poetry is a poem written in sentence and paragraph type pretty than verse and stanza. Prose poems can use all of the on a regular basis elements of poetry like rhyme, meter, and imagery.

Definition of Prose

The definition of prose is straightforward enough. Prose means weird language or one of the simplest ways you and I talk about each single day. Prose doesn’t need a meter or any rhyme, and it doesn’t even should have figurative language. Prose merely means language in its weird type.

And that’s what makes a prose poem such a stupendous issue. There fewer pointers in relation to writing a prose poem. Nevertheless, you’re most likely asking: How do I flip weird language into one factor poetic? It does seem like a contradiction, however it isn’t. Let’s make clear how prose could be poetic.

Prose vs Poetry

If prose is weird language than poetry, by its nature, is poetic. Nevertheless, what does that suggest? What makes language poetic and by no means weird prose? Properly, poetry is a form of points that could be laborious to pin down right into a exact set of parameters. Nevertheless, let’s try anyway.

The definition of poetry

Poetry, at its core, is the expression of serious feelings and ideas by the use of language. Poetry has a specific mannequin or a feeling. Poems actually really feel poetic because of they use the climate of poetry or devices that writers use to specific themselves. What are these?

Three elements of poetry

There are fairly a bit higher than three elements of poetry. Nevertheless, let’s merely talk about in regards to the fundamentals to get you started in your prose poem.

Rhyme– or the repetition of syllables. You might rhyme lime and time. The ‘i’ sound within the midst of all three of these phrases is repeated to create a rhyme.

Repetition– repetition is repeating a phrase or phrase repeatedly to stress a level. Like within the occasion you had an argument with any individual and likewise you had been confirmed correct, you might say to the alternative particular person “You had been incorrect, incorrect, incorrect!” You’re repeating the phrase incorrect to stress your stage.

Metaphor– the definition of metaphor is to instantly consider two, in distinction to points to make a level. The important thing phrase proper right here is direct. So, don’t use the phrases like or as because of that could be a simile.

Occasion of a metaphor: “My brother is the black sheep of the family.” Proper right here you’re saying that your brother is the outcast of your family members, not an exact sheep.

There are numerous additional elements of poetry, nonetheless we’re solely going to talk about these three to keep up points straightforward when writing our prose poem.

The excellence between prose and poetry

As soon as we get all the best way all the way down to it, the excellence between prose, or common writing, and poetry is building. Poetry is written, principally, in traces known as verses. Groups of verses are known as stanzas, and stanzas are broken up by line breaks, or an space between one stanza and the next. Verses, and stanzas, will incorporate patterns of rhymes. These patterns are known as a meter.

So, in numerous strategies, a poem appears to be, on paper, like a music.

Prose is structured with sentences. These sentences make up paragraphs. (duh, correct?)

When writing prose you’re not going to incorporate a rhyme scheme. You’re moreover don’t ought to rely on figurative language like metaphors and similes. It’s essential use figurative language, for optimistic. Nevertheless, in distinction to with poetry, you can go along with out it and your prose shall be efficient.

Tips about tips on how to write prose poetry

Step 1: Choose a Matter

  • Write a few issue you’re enthusiastic about

Step 2: Resolve on a theme

  • what you’d favor to say on that matter

Step 3: Write a single paragraph

  • describing your matter

Step 4: Write a second paragraph

  • describing what it’s essential say about that matter

Step 5: Refine your writing together with figurative language

  • Rhyme, metaphor, extended metaphor, simile, personification, and so forth

Step 6: Have good friend study & critique your draft

  • Edit for mannequin & grammar

To place in writing a prose poem, you will write using the climate of poetry, on this case, you need to make the most of the three that we talked about above. Nevertheless, you will use the prose building. In its place of writing in verse and stanzas, you’ll use sentences and paragraphs.

So, to jot down down a fairly easy prose poem you can prohibit your self to not less than one or two paragraphs. Use two or three elements of poetry in these paragraphs. Probably, your entire paragraph is an extended metaphor evaluating two, in distinction to points. In that paragraph, you need to make the most of a handful of rhymes, nonetheless you don’t have to stress about making a pattern. And, you can repeat a phrase or phrase to stress a level. That could be a fairly easy, simple prose poem.

Moreover, we’ve solely touched on three elements of poetry, nonetheless there are quite a few additional you need to make the most of in your poem. Try using assonance or alliteration, or onomatopoeia. You’re free to utilize any of them as long as you stick to the paragraph, sentence building.

Exterior of that, you’re free to jot down down irrespective of sounds poetic to you. It’s a little bit bit unfastened, I do know. Nevertheless, poetry be like that.

So, that may aid you out, let’s check out some prose poems.

Examples of Prose Poetry

Poetry inside the wild! Listed beneath are only a few excerpts from prose poems.

Excerpt from after the battle, by Heidi A. Howell

  1. the breath waits to happen. it pretends a separate movement. an open. an in depth. to refuse it’s simply moist ft. garments. throughout the rain and after preserve your arms up inside the air. clasp it. asking. this always inside the distance. and likewise you not strolling there.

Uncover how the poet ignores the ideas of punctuation and writes in short, fragmented sentences. Be taught the whole poem proper right here.

Arizona Drought, by Amy Karon

Dusk of scorched August kills lights and batteries. Bereft, we actually really feel our technique downstairs to sleepwalk rippled asphalt. Night blooms spherical us. Awake now, we trace mild reminiscences of desert petrichor, the sweet, pungent exhale of creosote after rain. Lights hold out, and japanese hills supply a dense moon. Our neighbors emerge, phoneless and befuddled, to murmur low and circle the lone space the place nighthawks croak and enhance and poorwills snatch moths from ghosts of ironwood. Moonset sends these tenants of earth and sky to sleep. Nevertheless we hold out, the be a part of of our fingers a compass marking the path in the direction of thunderheads that burst on the horizon (lastly, lastly, lastly).

There’s that repetition we talked about.

There’s are only a few examples. Hopefully, they’ve purchased you feeling impressed to jot down down a prose poem of your private!

If you’re looking out for additional information on recommendations on tips on how to write a prose poem check out The Rose Metal Press Space Info to Prose Poetry: Fashionable Poets in Dialogue and Apply

As Nationwide Poetry Month attracts to an in depth, proper right here’s a greater check out a specific kind of poem that could be useful for poets and prose writers. A prose poem is a poem written in sentences. It appears as a block of textual content material with out line breaks. You possibly can probably contemplate a prose poem as a bowl or a area with poetry inside. Whatever the look of the prose poem its ultimate goal is to retain its poetic qualities.

Prose poems first appeared in 19 th Century France as an act of revolt. Poets like Charles Baudelaire and Aloysius Bertrand wished to protest the predominance of the Alexandrine metered line and the on a regular basis content material materials that adopted it. Breaking out of metered type, they wrote in a block of textual content material that resembled prose, nonetheless behaved like poetry.

Over the earlier hundred or so years, the prose poem has been used as another choice to lineate verse by poets like Charles Simic and Lyn Hejinian. Whereas the elemental definition of a prose poem stays the an identical, poets have used this approach to mine a specific territory between prose writing and poetry. Prose poems belong to neither facet. As Charles Simic famously talked about, “The prose poem has the bizarre distinction of being regarded with suspicion not solely by the usual haters of poetry, however as well as by many poets themselves.” This could be because of the prose poem incorporates the biggest of prose and poetry. As its creators supposed, the prose poem is the final phrase act of revolt.

Inside the time I’ve spent learning about and studying the prose poem I’ve come all through a large number of definitions for it, each as contradictory and eloquent as a result of the prose poems themselves. Listed beneath are only a few of my favorites.

A prose poem is not going to be:

  • a failed verse poem
  • lackadaisical
  • a short-short story
  • a consolation prize
  • from a poet who’s questioning their genre-orientation
  • a bagel

A prose poem is:

  • a small justified block of textual content material whereby “weird shit happens”
  • a jazz solo
  • a poem in a area
  • capacious and inside
  • a paradox
  • born out of annoyance
  • a revolt
  • a nonsense
  • an opportunity for one factor completely completely different
  • miles and miles and miles

From its rebellious roots to now, the prose poem has been beloved by writers like Walt Whitman and Franz Kafka, Naomi Shihab Nye and Anne Carson. It is persistently re-imagining itself. Russell Edson talked about, “A wonderful prose poem is an announcement that seeks sanity whereas its creator teeters on the sting of the abyss.” If that’s not a okay trigger to aim to jot down one, I don’t know what’s!

There is not a definitive instructing on the prose poem, nonetheless there are a selection of sources which have helped me be taught. Books on craft and essay collections are one good helpful useful resource. The Space Info to Prose Poetry: Fashionable Poets in Dialogue and Apply is a favorite of mine because of like a number of good mix tape it incorporates completely completely different rhythms and moods from distinctive voices. Each essay is written by a poet sampling his or her experience with the form and providing two distinctive poems.

One different helpful useful resource for prose poems is the poems themselves. I’ve found from occasion by learning, questioning, and admiring the poems of others. Though it is laborious to categorize points with such ferocity as prose poems, listed beneath are only a few completely differing types of prose poems that I’ve observed from by learning. I on no account need to define or as Howard Nemerov would say “put an end to” these poems, nonetheless in analyzing how they’re made we could also be larger ready to try to assemble one ourselves.

Kinds of prose poems


A poem that captures a second in time with a strong sense of place. As postcards usually are, it is a temporary letter addressed to any individual specific.


A poem that features as a minimum one piece of factual information. It might be a scientific actuality, or an emotional actuality. A wonderful factoid usually has a weaving of information and movie which rub in opposition to 1 one other to create friction. Take note of it is as Mallarme talked about “the intersections, the crossing of the shocking with the recognized” are what causes meaning and by no means merely the information on their very personal.

Occasion: David Ignatow’s “Knowledge”

This can be my favorite type of prose poem. Proper right here is definitely certainly one of my factoid poems:

Deadpan Narrative

Normally a humorous poem or poem by means of which humorous points are occurring, however it’s laborious to tell if the speaker is completely laughing. The deadpan narrative has story-like elements, nonetheless can be inclined to leaps in time and trigger, along with sarcastic realizations.

Occasion: Daniel Romo’s “Consideration”

Surreal Narrative

The surreal narrative, as I favor to call it, is especially amiable when caged inside the prose poem and no one really is conscious of why. Going once more to that definition of the prose poem as a block of textual content material the place “weird shit happens,” it merely in some way works. Surrealism is meant to offer the carry out of thought, exterior of trigger and outside of precaution. It merely goes and goes and arrives at a shopping mall surrounded by wild goats.

Occasion: Zachary Schomburg’s “The Fireside Cycle”

A prose poem defies the character of formal poetry. In its place of being restrictive, the prose poem is permissive. Perhaps Arielle Goldberg summed it biggest when she wrote, “Prose poems, for me, are the best of many worlds. They’re…secure blocks of textual content material—dependable, accessible-looking little bricks—by means of which I am set free to be as fanciful as I like: My prose poems are often these that the majority intently rely on folktale and dream imagery…They supply me permission to be narrative or autobiographical…non-narrative and ingenious. They let me make poems that appear as if standard prose, and they also let me make poems with weird margins and blanks and completely different assorted flooring oddities. They enable me to tell lies, to be abrupt, to be glib, to be wholly trustworthy.”

Writing Practice

Write a postcard. As I steered earlier, a postcard is a prose poem that captures a second in time with a strong sense of place. It’d obsess over this place; it may make leaps in time to and from this place. As a letter may very well be, the postcard is addressed to a distinct particular person, or choices one different particular person. The postcard poem is of the image on the doorway of the cardboard along with the discover on the once more; it is of the sender and recipient. It is a remnant of time.

To start out out, take into consideration the first postcard you ever obtained. You had been most likely pretty youthful. What was the image on the doorway of the postcard? Who was it from? Why was it despatched?

When you possibly can’t take into accout the first postcard you ever obtained, understand that the prose poem is an invitation to experiment and that Arielle Goldberg has already given you the permission to lie!

Don’t forget {that a} prose poem doesn’t have line breaks, however it does have the qualities of a poem: Image, emotional rigidity, sound, use of the senses, an excellent cope with of syntax and diction, and so forth. Variations in rhythm could be made by sentences and sentence fragments. The sentence helps affordable tempo in a prose poem, contemplate it as your “gait.”

Poetry is a gigantic panorama, populated with many alternative sorts of poems from free verse to sonnets to haiku. Prose poetry is rare because of its type deviates from the character of poetry, which is writing in verse.

Sooner than we examine prose poetry, we first ought to understand the excellence between prose and poetry.


Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines prose as follows:

a : the weird language people use in speaking or writing

b : a literary medium distinguished from poetry notably by its bigger irregularity and variety of rhythm and its nearer correspondence to the patterns of regularly speech

Primarily, prose is frequent textual content material — phrases formed into sentences which will be formed into paragraphs. Whereas prose could be rhythmic and musical, it’s not written in meter or rhyme. The overwhelming majority of writing is prose, from essays and articles to novels and books of nonfiction.

Poetry (Verse)

A defining attribute of poetry is that it’s written in verse. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary affords a lot of definitions of verse:

1 : a line of metrical writing

2a : (1) metrical language (2) : metrical writing distinguished from poetry notably by its lower stage of depth (3) : poetry
2b : poem
2c : a physique of metrical writing (as of a interval or nation)

3 : stanza

Verse is metrical and written in stanzas. Like poetry, songs are generally written verse, which is why some parts of a music are known as verses. In its place of sentences that sort paragraphs, which can be used to jot down down prose, poetry consists with metrical traces that sort stanzas.

Prose Poetry

At first, prose poetry appears as if an oxymoron. If prose is printed by being composed of sentences and paragraphs and poetry is printed as being composed of verse, wouldn’t or not it is unattainable to create one factor known as prose poetry?

As , artists are inclined to bending and breaking the ideas, and poets are no exception. Naturally, they created a sort that defied the very pointers that define poetry. To know prose poetry, we have now to look previous building and examine completely different elements that define poetry: the inventive use of language and imagery, economics of language, and wordplay. Ponder this definition of poetry from Merriam-Webster:

writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative consciousness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response by the use of meaning, sound, and rhythm

Although most poetry is written in verse, building alone does not define poetry. So we are going to take the alternative elements of poetry after which reshape the writing into sentences and paragraphs. That’s the best way you get prose poetry.

In step with Wikipedia, “a prose poem appears as prose, reads as poetry, however lacks line breaks associated to poetry nonetheless makes use of…fragmentation, compression, repetition and rhyme and…poetry symbols, metaphor, and figures of speech. Prose poetry…is definitely a hybrid or fusion of [prose and poetry].”

What’s Prose Poetry? Proper right here’s an Occasion

Try the subsequent excerpt from Campbell McGrath’s aptly titled “The Prose Poem”:

On the map it is actual and rectilinear as a chessboard, though driving earlier you will hardly uncover it, this boundary line or ragged margin, a shallow swale that cups a straightforward trickle of water, a lot much less rill than rivulet, additional gully than dell, a tangled ditch grown up all by means of with a fearsome assortment of wildflowers and bracken. There is not a fence, though proper right here and there a weathered submit asserts a former declare, strands of fallen wire taken by the mud. To the left a cornfield carries into the hole, dips and rises to the blue sky, a rolling plain of inexperienced and healthful crops aligned in shut order, row upon row upon row.

A Little Historic previous

Prose poetry could be traced once more to the haibun, a Japanese kind of prose poetry seen by means of the 17th century. Western prose poetry emerged inside the early 19th century as a revolt in opposition to standard poetic buildings. Poets akin to Aloysious Bertrand, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé used prose poetry as a choice to defy the conventions of the day. All by means of the 19th century, poets continued to embrace the form.

A number of of probably the most well-know poets to jot down down in prose embody Hans Christian Andersen, Rainer Maria Rilke, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, H.P. Lovecraft, and Gertrude Stein.

The model new type carried into the 20th century, with American poets writing prose poetry inside the 1950s and ’60s, along with Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Robert Bly, to name only a few. And Charles Simic acquired the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 assortment, The World Doesn’t End, which included prose poems.

However, prose poetry was not embraced by all. T.S. Eliot opposed prose poetry, arguing that it lacked the rhythm and musical patterns of verse.

Writing Prose Poetry

Why write prose poetry? Why would a poet favor sentences and paragraphs over the conventional building of verses and stanzas?

It depends on the poem and the poet. Your inventive imaginative and prescient for a poem might include an enormous block of textual content material that is dense pretty than the wispier building of traces and stanzas. Your poem might inform an abstract story that you just actually really feel reads larger in paragraphs versus verse. Paragraphs finish in a definite stream than traces and stanzas, and the prose building might current the reader with a higher actually really feel for the rhythm of your poem.

Do you ever write prose poetry? Have you ever ever ever written it? Would you be ready to experiment with it? Share your concepts by leaving a comment, and maintain writing poetry.

Prose poetry is simply poetry written as if it had been prose, sustaining its poetic qualities and heightened imagery. A prose poem is a poem that does not use line breaks. This nonetheless permits the poet to utilize alliteration, metaphor, ambiguity, personification, and plenty of completely different poetic strategies.

I’m optimistic you’ve come all through as a minimum one prose poem and even know just a few poets that use this method every now and then. Even I’ve written prose poetry–for writing concepts that need additional extension than just a few traces, nonetheless using poetry’s technique of explaining points. If you haven’t–start wanting.

  • Good examples that come to ideas are For John Clare, by John Ashbery; , by Richard Siken; , by Nin Andrews (scroll down a little bit bit); , by Denise Duhamel; , by James Tate;
  • Lastly, wikipedia’s historic previous half affords one other fascinating examples.

If anybody is conscious of of poems that match this definition too, and even poets whose preferred mannequin is that this one, be at liberty to share them and I’ll add them to this submit.

Let’s talk about variations between prose poems and points they get mistaken for.

  • The excellence between prose poems and free verse is that free verse does use line breaks, albeit it doesn’t stick to the frequent metre.
    • Within the meantime, prose poetry is a whole completely completely different sub-genre, a mix between poetry and prose. It makes use of paragraphs just like prose, and usually doesn’t break a sentence in within the midst of it.
    • Prose poetry is all about sustaining an excellent rhythm. It isn’t meant to overwhelm the reader with particulars, nonetheless about telling a story using poetic strategies. It doesn’t even use flowery language most of the time, and if it does, it serves a goal. The imagery has to serve a goal, just like it has to in frequent prose and poetry, nonetheless particularly in poetry.

    When it comes to writing prose poetry, you first should have one factor to say, one factor it is important write, then you definitely definately write it. The ideas are straightforward:

    1. Write a poem.
    2. Don’t break your traces.

    In case you perceive tips on how to write down poetry and even play with literary devices you’ll have the benefit of writing prose poetry because of, like free verse, you don’t have to stress about sustaining a positive prohibit in your sentences. It is a should to worry about whether or not or not the piece flows neatly from one thought to the next.

      – ehow – This affords some wonderful regular concepts. Referring to the advice on using a thesaurus, nonetheless, take into accout higher phrases don’t suggest larger writing. You have to solely change a phrase for a further if the selection is additional descriptive or environment friendly.

    Poetry prose is controversial. It breaks the ideas of every poetry and prose however it moreover has turn into an fascinating choice to convey thought all through the years.

    It’s moreover laborious. Some people could also be skeptical about your piece, deeming it a quick story or just one giant lump of textual content material. Like Robert Lee Brewer explains, your drawback is to make the reader think about {{that a}} lump of textual content material with no line breaks stays to be a poem too.