Poetry Friday: “Summer Flowers”, my first prose poem, ever

It’s been an incredible year for the flowers at our home. A warm, dry early summer, followed by thick rains nearly every other day for the past couple of weeks, has helped all the green life around here explode with color.

I knew I wanted to write a poem about them, but a poem about pretty, colorful flowers seemed like a – yaaaaaawwwnnn – oh I’m sorry…where was I?

Oh yes: writing a poem about flowers. Well, you see, one of the things I teach about poetry when visiting classrooms or through video chats is that a poet needs to find a new angle, or find a unique way of something that perhaps has been said before. Flower poems have been done, done, and done…so if I was going to have to step up my game and write something that was different.

So that’s exactly what I did. Or, at least tried to do. I wasn’t sure if it should be a haiku or free verse or what…but as the ideas started formulating in my brain, I decided to try something I’ve never attempted before: prose poetry, aka poetic prose. We won’t get into the debate over whether prose poetry is real poetry or not (which is just slightly less volatile than the masks vs. no masks arguments we witness daily)…we’ll just accept it as a legitimate poetic form and move on.

Hope you like it.

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Summer Flowers

I took a walk through our summer flowers yesterday, each magnificent bloom calling out to me in silent brilliance. All around the yard, they vied for attention:  bushy, pink peonies; blood-crimson geraniums; stately Adam’s Wort. Turning past the white climbing roses, I stopped for a moment. A small weed had captured my gaze. Crown vetch – delicate and dainty-colored of lilac and linen – struggled to find its place among its more renowned cousins, vine shoots of green reaching out to the others like a child grasping for its mother’s hand. Here, amongst the flowers deliberately chosen and uniquely attended to, was life, seeking support, acceptance, approval. I marveled at its beauty, this weed – miniscule, uncelebrated – and decided that were this not as legitimate a life as the zinnias and cosmos, the impatiens and coneflowers, worthy and deserving of water and sun and space, then they should be considered weeds, all. It was in that instant I realized this garden, this yard of mine, was, indeed, much bigger than I’d ever realized.

– © 2020 Matt F. Esenwine, all rights reserved

Crown vetch

Is it poetry? Who knows…again, I’m not going to wade into that morass. But I will say that if you are just starting out writing poetry – particularly free verse poetry – prose poetry is a good way to get your feet wet without having to worry about line breaks and enjambment and that sort of thing.

For more poetry, please visit today’s Poetry Friday roundup at at Jan  Godown Annino’s blog, Bookseedstudio, where she is honoring her mom with a touching poetic tribute!

Did you know that Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme is one of the TOP 20 children’s poetry blogs, according to FEEDSPOT? That’s right – I’m scratching my head, too! FEEDSPOT is an app that allows you to combine all your favorite news feeds, podcasts, YouTube channels, etc. into ONE newsletter. Be sure to check it out!

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I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.

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What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!

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I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them! Here’s what you can look forward to seeing this month:

Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:
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Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


     

You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)

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Thank you to everyone for your support!

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17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Summer Flowers”, my first prose poem, ever

  1. David McMullin

    Your garden is gorgeous! This works as a poem to me. And a fantastic one at that. I have not attempted a prose poem myself, but maybe I’ll give it a go.

    Like

  2. Linda Mitchell

    Ah! The elusive prose poem. I find pose poetry super hard to do and can kinda, sorta get to it when writing haibun & haiku or haibun & tanka. But, I so admire beautiful prose poems when I come across them. Why are they such a challenge? I’m not at all qualified to say what you’ve written is/isn’t a prose poem. If you’ve intended it to be…it is. How’s that? You’ll come back to it later with your pruning shears and your organic miracle grow equivalent and tend it again. I can’t wait to see!

    Like

  3. I recently had a workshop on prose poetry online from the Poetry Foundation. While prose poetry uses poetic devices, has sustained intensity, and compactness, what I like about prose poetry is that it can be confusing and all mixed up–I don’t know if the prose poem I just wrote is enough mixed up-but I know it’s prose. It’s a challenging poem to write and I’m not ready to say if one poem is or isn’t prose–good for you for trying it, and sharing your lovely crown vetch flower!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle! I’m still not convinced that prose poetry is a thing. Every prose poem I’ve read reads like prose that is poetically written…but it’s still prose. Consequently, I continue to question myself as to why I chose to write in that form, other than the subject just seemed like that’s what it wanted. So I obliged.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. authoryvonafast

    It’s a beautiful piece of writing! Who’s to say what is a weed and what is a wildflower? And who’s to say what is a poem and what is prose? I’m not really sure what a prose poem is – to me it seems it is either a poem or it is prose. But i love your description of the garden, made me feel i was there. Alas, with Mom’s deteriorating health and my lack of time and interest our garden has all gone to weeds…

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    1. Thanks, Yvona – and I know how you feel. Both my folks are in a nursing home, so everything I do to help them has to be done remotely, and even visiting them requires a cellphone & their window. Personally, I don’t think prose poems are poems – they’re prose, that is poetic. Consequently, I have no idea why I wrote this is this particular form – other than that’s what it seemed to need!

      Like

  5. Matt, I do love prose poetry and like this line: “I marveled at its miniscule, uncelebrated beauty,” Thanks for sharing your poetry and all your successes. I also got a nod from Feedspot but have not posted yet.

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  6. Thanks for the post and the interesting conversation (in the post and comments) about prose poetry. I was at a friend’s house today and was delighted to see one lone black-eyed Susan in the middle of his freshly mown lawn. I’ve been known to mow around daisies myself 🙂 I’m glad you’ve welcomed the crown vetch into your gorgeous garden. The more, the merrier!

    Like

  7. Pingback: Poetry Friday: “Tory Brook Cherita” – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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