Fiction vs. Poetry

Exploring the possibilities of poetry is a never-ending pursuit, because almost anything can become a poem. Crafting the perfect narrative is a never-ending pursuit, because each chapter, paragraph, and sentence contains an infinite number of choices the writer has to make. Neither is better, but I’m coming to learn that by practicing with poetry, I’m building my confidence as a writer of fiction.

The challenge of poetry is condensing a thought, idea, or story to it’s essence. At least that’s the way I see it. I like to enter poetry through forms, but I’ve found myself growing increasingly more flexible and intrigued by the possibilities. It becomes more fun than work, which is causing me to view poetry as fun experimentation that preps me for fiction. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a prose writer, dabbling in poetry with a prose construction has been a very liberating experience.

Fiction has a lot of preparation and build up. After I’ve written a page, I read it immediately and pick apart each sentence. With poetry, I feel like there are no wrong choices, each choice just changes the meaning and intention from one poem to another. I’ve been able to read my peer’s work, and it’s satisfying to see a consistency of voice, or rather the ability to pick out one person’s poem from another, based solely on the choices they make. I also wonder if the pattern of my choices makes my work identifiable as my own.


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