Bacopa Literary Review

Writers Alliance of Gainesville's international print journal in its 9th year -- 2017 cover by Dancing Ghost. For quality of work we seek, click on: Short Story, Poetry, Prose Poetry, Creative Nonfiction.

We welcome constructive comments from identified readers; not anonymous spam or slams.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Prose Poetry: Powered by More Than One Source

By Editor in Chief Mary Bast
Prose poems are pure creation, the playful and daring edge of poetry. The writer provides powerful language and, above all, a truthful voice. Kaye Linden, 35 Tips for Writing Powerful Prose Poems
Prose poetry is a hybrid and, as with any hybrid, is powered by more than one source. It resembles prose in its lack of line breaks, but still is image-driven and with other poetic attributes such as meter, rhythm, rhyme, imagery, metaphors, sounds, and the powerful lyrical language we associate with poetry. This photo from page 17 of Bacopa Literary Review 2016 shows Tina Barry's "Two Shapes Mirrored," a doubly appropriate title for a prose poem.

Another example of  prose poetry we admire is Leslie Anne Mcilroy's "Big Bang" (Second Place Prize in Bacopa 2016's Poetry genre), described by Kaye Linden as "not only playful in form but edgy and courageous... clever handling of a highly creative and unique theme in which each planet of the solar system is personified" (the word Syzygy, from ancient Greek "yoked together," in the first of 12 stanzas in "Big Bang" refers to the alignment of sun, moon, earth, as in an eclipse):
1. Date with Syzygy
More than once, the sun and the moon doing things they've never, trading light for dark, all eclipse and aerial acrobatics. The stars, blinking with confusion, bumping into clouds in broad daylight, dawn and dusk dancing in drag, roosters crowing at twilight and me, here at the window, waiting for a universe.
A third example is Laura Madeline Wiseman's prose poem, "Under the Frankincense Trees," accepted by Kaye Linden because, "The profusion of imagery will offer a unique and unusual fantasy touch to Bacopa" (follow this link to read Wiseman's work).

We're drawing near to the May 31 deadline for submissions to this year's contest and already have some fabulous prose poetry, with room for a few more.

Don't be limited in your imagination. The above examples provide some idea of the range of work we publish in prose poetry, but as Kaye Linden indicates in 35 Tips for Writing Powerful Prose Poems, prose poems offer "a fantastic trampoline to bounce around creativity."

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We're looking for prose poetry with a powerful voice. 
Only three more weeks to submit!
prizes in prose poetry, poetry, short story, creative nonfiction
+ $25 to each person published

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Dive Beneath the Surface

by Editor in Chief Mary Bast
The world is satisfied with words. Few care to dive beneath the surface.
Blaise Pascal
First-class writers share an enviable knowledge of human nature through deeply drawn characters that illustrate not only what the world sees, but what lies beneath the surface and leads to a unique point of view.

Reading such work helps us all become better writers.  I've described elsewhere John Fowles' development of Sarah Woodruff in The French Lieutenant's Woman.

Below are steps to dive beneath the surface, as suggested by Larry Brooks in "Three Dimensions of Character Development," using Sarah Woodruff as an example:
  1. First, show your character's surface traits, quirks, and habits. Characters like Sarah Woodruff have a self-image as someone who's basically flawed, with a focus on suffering, emotional sensitivity and empathy, aesthetic sensibility, and a push-pull pattern in relationships (idealizing the lover, until reality sets in). Read the early pages of The French Lieutenant's Woman, for example, where Sarah's sobs are "creeping like blood through a bandage."
  2. Second, provide the back story and your character's inner demons: what prompts, explains, and motivates this character? Those like Sarah Woodruff nurture a "story" about not being sufficiently loved, and focus on what's missing or lacking. ("What has kept me alive is my shame, my knowing that I am truly not like other women.")
  3. Third, how would this personality's true character emerge through choices made when something important is at stake? By the end of The French Lieutenant's Woman, Sarah Woodruff is different from many women and unafraid to be so. An assistant and model for a well-known artist, she's developed equanimity -- she is unmarried and unconcerned about conventional attitudes toward her single state in the Victorian era.
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We're looking for short stories that dive beneath the surface. 
Only three more weeks to submit!
prizes in short story, creative nonfiction, poetry, prose poetry
+ $25 to each person published