Sunday, March 24, 2019

Prose Poetry: The Playful and Daring Edge

by Senior Editor Mary Bast

We eagerly await submissions of prose poems in the Mixed Genre category of Bacopa Literary Review's 2019 print issue. Prose poems are modern, nontraditional, and often misunderstood. 

Instead of the line breaks of traditional poetry, prose poems may take any form, but they share the major element of all poetry in the quality of the language. As stated in our 2019 Prose Poetry guidelines:  
Prose poems are pure creation, the playful and daring edge of poetry. We're looking for powerful lyrical language and a truthful, commanding voice.
Here's an example from our 2018 Bacopa Literary Review, one of three prose poems by Darren Demaree in "bone requires bone":
#58
traditionally i would have already been stoned for knowing the witch for loving the witch for paying the witch for asking the witch to curse my father for taking all of the oxygen in every room he walked in when i was a child traditionally this would be considered a confession of sorts but now we know we know we know that he owes me a deep breath that i am entitled to walk up to him his mouth and leave him behind me panting until his grandchildren grow up to the age i quit drilling holes in the walls of the house on concord street
Another post describes Prose Poetry Prize Winner Cynthia Roby's "U-Turn." See also Prose Poetry Editor Kaye Linden's "The Prose Poem: An Eccentric Genre."

Friday, March 22, 2019

Fiction That Creates Its Own World

by Fiction Editor Mary Bast
Every story has its own world, and its own feel, and its own mood... to create that sense of place... good enough for close scrutiny, for the little details to show. You may not ever really see them all, but you've got to feel that they're there, somehow, to feel that it's a real place, a real world. "A Sense of Place," p. 117 in David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.
As fiction submissions begin to arrive, one of the first things I look for is a sense of place, "fiction that creates its own world." As a reader, I want to know where I am in space, and this may be reflected in character, plot, theme, atmosphere, voice, language, as well as the more obvious descriptions of the setting.

I chose the above David Lynch quote because the concept of place becomes immediately evident when we think of films--we wouldn't waste ten minutes on a film that had no feel of a world.

So I look for writers who have immersed themselves so completely in their stories that the world in which their characters live seems effortlessly drawn, yet we as readers step right into the action with them.

Here's an example from Lore Segal's "Dandeliion."
On the road at the end of the hotel gardens, a group of silent walkers passed at the steady pace of those who have a day's march ahead of them, young people. I followed them with my eyes. This was the moment that the sun crested the mountain--a sudden unobstructed fire. It outlined the young people's back's with a faintly furred halo, while here, in the garden, it caught the head of a silver dandelion, fiercely, tenderly transfigured into light.