by Kirby Congdon…….
In my early thirties an acquaintance who had seen my poetry for the first time remarked that “shredded verse” was unusual to him. That nomenclature has put me on the defensive ever since. Why is poetry presented like ties on a railroad track or broken slats on a Venetian blind?
I saw a poem of mine printed recently as prose. It made me think of a hard-packed snowball, half-frozen, ready to throw through a window or at the back of someone’s head. As a weapon it seemed handy.
In contrast I thought of how I have to balance one word against another in a poem, let a single line claim its own breathing space, put one idea as a neighbor to another one, or introduce some reference that perks up the reader’s attention and keeps him from being bored.
Between the formats of poetry and prose is there any difference? I don’t know what the rules are except that ten lines of a poem take ten weeks to work out while ten lines of prose only takes ten minutes, if that, to jot down before it melts away like that half-baked snowball.