28 July 2014

the difference

I speak about prose freely, almost with abandon. I can recommend book after book, I can divulge into character development and plot twists, I can blather about genres and stylistic forms. Let's marvel at Marilynne Robinson's narrative and Jeffrey Eugenides' diction! Let's have dialogues about Nabakov and Borges! Let's roam through bookshelves and find the stories that speak to you as I have found the stories that speak to me!

But poetry — I speak about poetry quietly, almost never at all, and it is always with slight hesitation. There is something about the lilt of the lines, the careful arrangement of words, the whole breath of it that cuts to my heart. Let me literally stroke the written words of Peter McWilliams. Let me sink deep into Keats and Kinnell leaving me at a standstill. Let me cry alone as I read and reread Warsan Shire.

I don't know how to effervesce and defend my love for poetry the way that I so easily tout my love for prose. But I now I begin to understand what Neruda meant when he wrote, "And I was at that age...poetry arrived/in search of me."

Prose is an invitation into the pathways of my mind, and I fling the doors open for you to join me. But poetry — poetry is a beckoning into my soul and I want you to join me but I don't know how to let you in.