Poetry and Poetic Language

As I write my April poems, I find myself doing it less for the finished poems and more for the material I might use in a longer work of fiction. Take away the line breaks in some of my poems, and you get some lines of thought, the inner workings of a character in a story. In other words, you get poetic language instead of poetry.

I wonder if there really is a distinction. I think so. I think a poem stands alone. Poetic language is incorporated into something larger. But the more I think about this, the more the line blurs between the two. Line breaks are not the determiner between the two; the existence of prose poetry ensures that. I am beginning to think that a poet who writes a novel (and uses poetic language) is really writing poetry. A poetic novel. A poet-story. Narrative poetry. I don’t know. I might call it a novel for the sake of clarification, but if I love it most for its beauty and the way it dips gracefully in and out of deeper meaning, then I love it for its poetry, whether or not it is truly prose.

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