Monday, November 22, 2010

The Difference between Prose Poetry and Poetry, Truth and Bullshit

I am often asked the following questions, and I always forget my own answers. Of course the real answers would be ERF or BERAP, as defined in other blog posts, but in the absence of ERF and BERAP, I decided to compose a few answers that might prove useful at a later date.

Question 1: Can you tell me the difference btw fiction and poetry?

It’s sort of like the difference between potato fritters and crème brule. While potato fritters and crème brule are both food, both made of edible ingredients, both meant to nourish the body, one wouldn’t want to be served one when ordering the other.

Question 2. Can you tell me the difference btw prose poetry and just, you know, poetry?

It’s sort of like the difference btw night and day. I mean, you might think at first glance they are very different. But of course they are both just times of the day. The only real difference is the absence of sunlight, which is rather a relief from time to time. But you are the same person, whether it is night or day, and a poem can still be a poem whether it is in prose or in verse.

Question 3. But what’s the difference btw flash fiction and prose poetry then?

It’s sort of like the difference between life and death. Of course they are very different, life and death, but you are still a body, whether you are alive or dead, right? (Assuming one is only recently passed.) In this way, there can be elements of flash fiction in prose poetry and prose poetry in flash fiction, just as there are elements of life in death and death in life. And one can see life in death and perhaps life in death (or so the faithful say). So just as the apparent structure of you is still you, dead or alive, so it is with prose poetry and flash fiction.

Question 4. So which is more alive, prose poetry or flash fiction?

As noted above, the differences between the dead and the living might seem self-evident but are not necessarily. So it is really a matter of taste. What do like more? What faith or party do you belong to? Are you Christian or Buddhist? Democrat or Republican? Do you believe in the afterlife? Eternal damnation? Or heavenly bliss?

Again, these might seem to be polar opposites, but upon closer observation you might note that soon the collection plate will be passed . . . and you, my dear, must give your heart and soul. But at what price?

Question 5. Do you see any difference between truth and bullshit?

It's sort of like the difference between salt and pepper. While at first taste, they do seem quite different, and while one is deemed healthful and can be used in excess, and the other is not, they are both flavor-enhancing additions to any meal. And I would advise ample use of both.