Willem VanVoorthuysen

Rookie (Nov.2,1916 / Dutch East Indies (Indonesia))

On Poetry And Prose - Poem by Willem VanVoorthuysen

The way we speak in daily life
bears very little resemblance,
if any at all, to speeches by
our Presidents, Chief Justices,
or ministers and other noble
and highly motivated speakers.

No barroom idiom is ever used,
each carefully chosen word,
receives the stress it needs,
each line meets syntax rules,
to spare the audience any
doubt about the message.

Outstanding prose, quite often,
approaches poetry in sound
and meter, but only a fool
would make his written prose
rhyme like a marching song
for basic infantry training.

Next, take a pleasant-sounding
piece of prose, and cut those
long, flowing lines of text into
much shorter ones, without
surrendering the message's
original content and meaning.
Congratulations, dear friend!
What you just wrote is called,
Free Poetry..

Next, take a simple poem,
connect all lines together,
head-to-tail, arrange them
into paragraphs, redistribute
quotation marks and spaces,
and what you have now is
a presentation, in prose,
on the subject of your poem.

In short, my humble advise
for any aspiring poet is:
Learn how to write good prose,
before you even try to write
free poetry...

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Comments about On Poetry And Prose by Willem VanVoorthuysen

  • (5/6/2006 7:13:00 AM)

    Points well taken.
    But you are mistaken,
    When you write
    That good prose writing might
    (should) be the precursor to
    A poet and his due.

    Stringing words and phrases in a stack
    Just for appearances gives nothing back,
    As it's hard to remember when
    The 'poem' had a beginning or an end.

    So my advice is that one practice
    The four 'E's'
    Excite, Entertain, Educate and End.
    Makes reading pleasant, my friend!

    Prose has an additional advantage over rhyme in that the vocabulary is much greater which simplifies structure. But writing poetry that has rhyme and rhythm is a lot more fun (and challenging) . For the most part, it may not come off well but nothing lost in trying.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 6, 2006

Poem Edited: Thursday, July 22, 2010

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