Monday, March 12, 2012

THE WHOLE WRITING IN VERSE THING

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard writers and reviewers say that there has to be A REAL REASON to write a novel in poems. I’ve SAID things like that myself. I’ve nodded in agreement while conference presenters claimed that, before embarking on writing a verse novel, they have to feel that THE POETIC FORM IS ABSOLUTLELY NECESSARY. Yeah, all that.

As a writer, reader and ridiculous fan of poetry (I’ve had an intellectual crush on Henry Taylor since, like, college), I would never slam or trivialize the form.

HOWEVER…

It kind of bugs me that writers of traditional prose style books don’t say, "gee, before I decided NOT to write this novel in verse I had to think hard about why this story really NEEDED to be written in prose."

I live in a world of Twitter (haiku?), of texts from my teens, of vlogs and cartoons, of compact little Facebook status reports. I live in a world of cool fonts and snarky signage. I live in a world of rap music and catchy advertising slogans. I live in a world of exceptional books like THE BOOK THIEF, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, and WINTERGIRLS, filled with lists and numb3rs and strikethroughs and consonance and pictures and
right-aligned text
and white space and yet nobody asks WHY AREN'T THESE BOOKS WRITTEN IN "TRADITIONAL" PROSE?

AND…

I am a writer of poems and stories and plays (and text messages right back to those teenagers of mine). And I feel like my head is exploding with ideas of language while lots of other heads are exploding all around me and

I DON’T WANT TO BE PUT IN A BOX THAT SAYS, “poet” or “novelist” or “YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE.”

So, I’m making up a new term for what I write.

It’s called
FRACTURED PROSE.

PLEASE do not confuse it with the the "split-line prose," a phrase spat in accusation by some literary sorts who see some kind of bright line between paragraphs and poems that I guess I just don't see.  Fractured prose is a kind of writing for people living in a world that embraces all kinds of culture, identity, forms of expression, imagery, music, and maybe
IT IS ALL POETRY.

I’M DONE MAKING ARGUMENTS FOR OR AGAINST using the language however I need to tell a story.

Just wait ‘til you read my next book ;)

3 comments:

Angelina C. Hansen said...

I'm totally with you on this one, Stasia. One of the reasons I loved WINTERGIRLS was the use of "fractured prose".

BTW, congrats on making it into the March Madness Contemp bracket. Yay!

Laura Marcella said...

I love novels in verse. I wish there were more out there! Good for you for contributing to the fractured prose genre. Love it!

Rebecca said...

Thank you thank you thank you for saying this!