A study in the difference between poetry and prose
Twinky enters the room. A black briefcase with a blue 1 in parens.
Gorzon: ....I consider myself fairly intelligent but I shy away from compliments.
Oliana: Hi Twink
Elfmage: Hi twinkletoes
Wonderfrog: Hi tinkler
Snapshot: Someone needs to change him into a prince
Wonderfrog: Who me?
(Elfmage gives Wonderfrog a big kiss)
Snapshot: Yeah, you :)
Oliana: Haven’t seen you before Twink.
Twinky: I’m new here, glad to meet everyone.
Snapshot: What’s your genre?
Snapshot: You know what type of writer are you?
Twinky: Of course! Duh! I’m a bit nervous.
I’m a poet.
Gorzon: What kind.
Twinky: I write all kinds.
Gorzon: For example
Twinky: Well I write poems with structure, meter and rhyme, and I also write in free verse.
Gorzon: Been at it long?
Twinky: All my life.
Gorzon: Don’t take this wrong, don’t want to put you on the spot and all that...but we’ve been having this discussion about the differences between poetry and prose.
Twinky: That’s a very interesting question.
Gorzon: Since you’ve been at it all your life, maybe you could define for us what poetry is.
Twinky: I can tell you what it is to me.
Gorzon: Go ahead..
Twinky: I think poetry is the spirit of literature.
Gorzon: hmmmmm Are you saying other types of literature are without spirit.?”
Twinky: Indeed not. All literature has spirit, some more than others.... that’s why we read it.
Gorzon: I see.
Twinky: Unless it’s some sort of technical manual... and we all know how dull those are.
Gorzon: Are you saying that poetry has a special ambiance?
Twinky: Spirit is spirit, nothing special.... except in poetry there’s more of it.... it’s more concentrated.
Gorzon: More concentrated?
Twinky: I sometimes feel more spirit in ten lines of poetry than in a thousand pages of exposition.
Gorzon: I hear you, but I’m having a lot of trouble with the “Spirit” thing.
Twinky: You’re not alone... lots of my friends have trouble understanding it.
Gorzon: So what do you tell them?
Twinky: I ask them some questions.
Gorzon: For instance.
Twinky: Have you ever seen the sparkle in a child’s eyes?
Gorzon: On occasion.
Twinky: Have you ever seen a child with none at all?
Gorzon: Once or twice.
Twinky: Have you ever looked at the stars at night and felt a sense of wonder?
Gorzon: Not for a long time....what’s the point?
Twinky: The point is that you've seen evidence of the spirit.... unmistakable evidence.
Gorzon: I hear you..
Twinky: If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you believe it.... What does it take? A bucket of karma, dumped over your head:)
Gorzon: OK, OK, so literature has ambience.... I think everyone would agree with that... Also that some literature makes for more “spirited” reading than others.
Twinky: I see we have a lot in common.
Gorzon: Ah... not so fast on that one.....You say that poetry is the spirit of literature when what you really mean is, that spirit is more condensed in poetry than some of the other forms.
Twinky: Yes! Yes! Sorry, I get excited when the light comes on.
Gorzon: I don’t want to put you back in the dark..., but since your original definition of poetry has this slight flaw, perhaps you want to try again.
Twinky: lol, You're such a hard case! What you’re looking for is something more concrete.
Twinky: Like some sort of scientific equation like E=MC2.
Gorzon: Come on, get real. I appreciate the fact that literature is more an art than a science.
Twinky: Then you believe that artists have a spirit?
Gorzon: Are you referring to a muse?
(Claps her hands.... Yes! Yes!)
Gorzon: Is that a euphamism for a light switch?
Twinky: Yeah, a switch that turns energy on and off.
Gorzon: Am I missing something here?
Twinky: lol A muse is spiritual energy....not a whole lot to be sure, a whisper of current, a breath of voltage and a kiss of Watt-ever.
Twinky: It's Elusive, fleeting, almost inpeceptable.
Gorzon: Like never being there when you need her?:)
Twinky: You got it! And the muse is something we can all relate to.
Gorzon: So what has all this to do with the spirit of literature.
Twinky: You opened the art door, and art is full of it.
Gorzon: OK, I’ll bite... what’s Art?.
Twinky: Well, To explain art, I’ll have to resort to metaphor.
Gorzon: If it makes your point, go for it.
Twinky: Art is like a resonance.
Twinky: It's sort of like a vibration....You ever get vibes off something?.
Gorzon: Yeah, all the time. Right now, as a matter of fact.
Twinky: You can hear a vibration sometimes.... like from a musical instrument.
Twinky: But mostly you feel them.
Gorzon: I’m with you
Twinky: Vibs are as close to a spirit as you’re going to get.
Twinky: Still they can be measured with an instrument.
Gorzon: Cycles, wave length, pitch, is that what you’re referring to?
Twinky: Yes! You’re so perceptive.
Gorzon: So I’m told.
Twinky: If it's deserved, don’t shrink from it.
Gorzon: But I do tend to be a bit impatient.
Twinky: You don’t suffer fools?
Gorzon: Your words not mine.
Twinky: But you agree that resonance is real...Not some figment of my imagination.
Gorzon: It’s real enough, get to the point.
Twinky: The point is that resonance is the whisper, the brush of the spirit up against your conscious.
Gorzon: You’re stretching.
Twinky: No, I have my finger on it, my ear attuned and I feel it resonating all the time.
Gorzon: So you’re one of those who communicate with the spirit world..
Twinky: lol, of course not.... I hear it and I feel it. That’s all.
Gorzon: It's not the hearing or the feeling I dispute, but all the spin that goes around it.
Twinky: The aura?
Gorzon: What’s that?
Twinky: It’s the force that surrounds the resonance.
Gorzon: Is this turning into some metaphysical mumbo jumbo?
Twinky: If you believe in the resonance, you must believe it comes from somewhere.
Gorzon: I get it.... it flows from God.
Twinky: I’m not sure of that, those are your words. All I know for sure is that it’s out there.
Gorzon: If not from God, then where do you suppose it comes from?
Twinky: I don’t know....its like a gyro... a dynamo, spinning up somewhere...like from the universe, resonating from a dimension we can barely percieve with our senses.
Gorzon: Da, Da Dada, Da, Da Dada
Twinky: lol, You are so skeptical!
Gorzon: And you’re beginning to lose me.
Twinky: Then let’s go back to vibrations. We both know what they are?
Gorzon: I was starting to get a headache.... now I feel better.
Twinky: lol. Let's say I read a novel and every time I feel a vibe, I make a mark and score it for intensity and duration. Say both, on a one to ten scale.
Gorzon: Go on.
Twinky: When I finish, I tally the score, say 100 Vibe Points (VPs).
Gorzon: It’s a reach but I understand what you’re saying, Now where are you going?
Twinky: In a circle, that’s the way energy flows, into an orbit around something, a thousand of these that contribute to the aura that surrounds every object in space and time.
Twinky: Next read a Robert Frost Poem, say twenty lines. And I do the same as with the novel, recording the vibes for intensity and duration and give them a score. Assume the score is again 100 VPs.
Gorzon: Go on.
Twinky: So I take the thousand page novel in one hand and the twenty line poem in the other and measure the heft of each.
Twinky: So that’s the difference between prose and poetry.
Twinky: The amount of spirit compressed into a literary form of expression
Gorzon: I see!
That’s what makes poetry the spirt of literature.
Twinky: Not exactly, as you wisely pointed out, all literature has some spirit to it.
Gorzon: Except for technical manuals.
Gorzon: I’m sorry twinker. You’re gonna to have to flesh out some detail or I’m gonna have to call it a night.
Twinky: You want more specificity?
Gorzon: It would’t hurt.
Twinky: Hmmmmm OK, here goes
Poetry is exposition, taken before its time.
Thrown into a blender
Pushed through a sieve
Boiled to a thousand degrees
And distilled through coils
Torturous and convoluted.
Gorzon: You got the last part right.
In order to capture the purist essence
from a harvest of creative thought.
Then its sipped, not swigged
savored on the palate.
Gorzon: I hear you
It’s brewed by the masters
Above the hustle
Of mundane excellence,
and the wanna bees
who can’t cook?
know it only by taste.
Gorzon: A mouthful..
Twinky: I’m sorry everyone, but its getting late.... not trying to make a grand exit but my husband is expecting a “romantic moment” and I promised to come to bed early.
Oliana: Goodnight Twinky
Wonderfrog: Good night Twink
Twinky: Good night all.