Here’s what I discovered.
There’s split-line prose in a great deal of poetry. And LOTS of it in verse novels. Because, to build an entire novel, you may want the reader to be able to hold onto plot, syntax. That requires the incorporation of prose elements. THE ART LIES IN…
- where you choose to break each line
- creating subtle internal rhymes and motifs, and sometimes even poems within poems (see Hopkins’ work)
- the juxtaposition of abstract verses with strong, linear text
- choosing only the best words, unobstructed by grammar traditions but constricted by holding onto the verse format, to get close to the bone--to depict raw, visceral emotion
- understanding the value of structure, white space...choosing what words to leave off the page