Something About An Ongoing Affair

I write both prose and poetry. When I was in college, we were often warned that a writer must choose the manner in which he/she might explore that skill. We were told that we must choose to write either prose or poetry, but never should we attempt to write both.
It was important, especially to our Instructors, that we understood, that if we tried both, we would lose something from one or the other, and perhaps even the ability to write at all.

But, I have days when I really want and need to write poetry, and others when my only desire is to make prose. Even back there in college, I noticed something important. When I wrote poetry, I did really well. But my first major was in History, so much of my classroom experience was written work. And I received many of the same accolades in those classes, even though I was writing prose.

It might have been because I was almost twice the age of my fellow students. Or maybe the affects of the Women’s Movement, or even the fact that I owned a rather definite rebellious streak that ran through my system and occasionally raised its head even in polite social surroundings. But then I took a few friends to Palatine, Ill. to hear Robert Bly read.

And although he did speak of his prose book, Iron John, he also read his poetry while playing an instrument. I was mesmerized. His energy was all about getting personal with his audience. And he did that well. I understood his poetry because he offered it as a gift, several times asking if we’d like him to repeat a few lines. And we’d nod our heads and he would do just that.

That one evening changed my entire view about writing. All of it. This was a well known poet, breaking the rules, asking us to join him in whatever manner we might choose. I doubt that I was the only one present who accepted that invitation.

I’d like to leave you with a trail of breadcrumbs to follow. I’ve tried many forms of writing, enjoying most, knowing I didn’t have the patience for others. I would like to ask you to take a look and then come back here and tell me how you feel about those rules concerning not crossing genres.

  1. Poetry:
  2. Prose:
  3. Mythopoesis (making myth from personal experience) :

    Elizabeth Crawford 5/14/2019



About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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3 Responses to Something About An Ongoing Affair

  1. KT Workman says:

    I see nothing wrong with mixing thing up, doing things differently. Or taking an entirely unknown road just to see where it leads. We grow when we stretch our wings, and sometimes, find talents we didn’t know we possessed.

    I so agree with you Kathy. Once I started writing here online, I really started exploring different kinds of possibilities. Found myself doing what I called Crossover pieces that mixed poetry and prose together. Then did The Call piece and realized that I’d stepped into a whole new arena of making myth. I never quite understood the whole thing about genres. Maybe an attempt to instill some kind of focus? Of course, college is long behind me, but I still retain that streak of rebellion. Retirement and blogging only encouraged that propensity. And by the way, my father drove an eighteen wheeler, and loved nothing more than to go for a drive on Sunday afternoons. Somewhere along the way, he’d say, “Wonder where this road goes, I’ve never been down this one before.” And off we’d go. So, I know I came by it honestly, lol…



  2. annell4 says:

    Yes, when I was in Collage, I remember my experimental painting teacher said to me, “That is what is wrong with you, Annell, you wake each morning in a new world.” The world of the visual arts, is a world run by” men,” and “men,” say you have to do one thing. But women know we can do anything, and maybe we do wake each morning in a new world, but for us that is a good thing. Of course you can write poetry and you can write prose. Women can multitask, men can’t. I have always said, it is how you hold us to the light. Which ever way, we sparkle, and you, Elizabeth, definitely sparkle.

    Oh, Annell, I may have to have this comment engraved and hung on my wall. It made me laugh, cry, and several other things. I didn’t mean to infer that only men say such things, but then as I read your comment, you put it on such a global level, that I can’t refute what you say either. Mainly because I know that you speak a truth. Women, for far too long have been defined by a Patriarchy that still thinks we haven’t caught on to their need to keep us from discovering our own innate abilities and value. And that is definitely true across the board, not just in the Creative Arts. Thank you for sparkling up my world today.



  3. I agree. I have always written both prose and poetry, and never felt I had to – or even could – choose one over the other. I needed them both. Still do.

    As do I, Sherry. I am still exploring and hope I never quit.



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