On Poetry and Fiction

I don’t think it’s strange that I post both poetry and fiction in this space. I didn’t really consider it at all until a friend asked me about that combination.

As far as I’m concerned, poetry is prose concentrated. The word choice, down to sound, theme and rhythm is precise with poetry. My opinion – and the advice from many, many writers and editors – is that those word choices are equally important in fiction.  As a writer, it’s hard to remember that fact when you’re dealing with 100,000 words instead of 100.

One of the things I do when I’m going through my big-picture edit process is note the metaphors and images that I’ve used in each scene. I also use Wordle to see if there are any words that I’ve used more than others.  I like to do this because it helps me pull out themes that I’ve subconsciously added. Those themes are often more interesting and powerful than the ones I included intentionally.   With a new eye for those themes, it’s interesting to amplify and support them a little more in the next revision.

I don’t have anything more to say on this topic. Every word matters, regardless of the length of the piece. So, here’s another poem for you.

The artist’s hands

I stare at my
calloused palms
and no longer see
past misdeeds,
regret, or shame.
I no longer look at skin
to see hardness or age.

I see power.

Primal creative force –
like my forsworn womb,
like the sunrise.

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