My first reader spent some time with the prose poem chap recently, and yesterday we went through the poems and discussed which seemed to be working, which were “okay,” and which weren’t working at all.
It was comforting to have nearly all of my intuitions about the poems confirmed by an impartial third party. In the poems, I think it’s readily apparent which were written first and which are most recent. The early poems lack a sort of nerve. They’re a bit more melancholy while the newer poems tend to end with panic, shock, or some other kind of sudden turn (which may be melancholy). The new poems seem sharper to me, but that’s perhaps because they have yet to be dulled down by my repeated readings of them.
In the writing of these, it became clear they are a study of relationships. Love poems, a lot of them, and unloved poems.
I do not know why prose poems bring out the love poet in me, but it’s common for them to skirt issues of romance. Earlier I had been working on a series of prose poems called “Explanations & Advice for _____.” Perhaps they will find new life in this series.
I’m slowly, with each project, cannibalizing my thesis manuscript. It feels good.