Skinny Prose {from Geography of Now}



Skinny Prose

1. Inspiration: bug heart

I started reading blogs at the same time I started to write one which was when we moved to Barcelona. bug heart, a blog written by an American entomologist named Gwen became one of my favourites. When writing about her life and her work with insects, she used free verse. I loved how these short lines worked in blogging so I adopted and adapted this style which I now call skinny prose.

2. Why it works

Skinny prose
I think
fewer words
can sometimes
much greater
emotional impact.

I like the way
that skinny prose
my photos
like a
wine pairing.

The line breaks
let the words

There’s lots of
white space
for the reader
and her thoughts.

3. Yup. Skinny prose is a code name for poetry

I used to deny this. I used to claim, most sincerely, that the pieces I wrote on my site were not poetry.

“Come on, Monna! Get real!” {That’s my Inner BS Detector. She’s both honest and brave!)

Okay. I’m ready to come completely clean about this poetry thing.

For a long time I wasn’t comfortable with the weight of the IDEA of writing poetry. Perhaps this was connected to the fact that I rarely have time to write more than three of four drafts. As an English Lit graduate, I had also developed (possibly marinated) an idea of poetry as an unsolvable puzzle. A labyrinth. A literary Rubik’s Cube.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. A poem can be as straightforward as a cob of corn. As yellow and as tasty.

I’m becoming more comfortable with the idea that the poet determines the form.

4. What skinny prose is/does…

  • Conveys a feeling, memory or observation in a simple and efficient way that is accessible to others. (Skinny prose is not concerned with being tricky.)
  • Uses figurative language (This is like…).
  • Pays attention to the musicality or rhythm of the lines. (I often read the piece out loud to myself to make sure that it is sounds pleasing… or whatever emotion I am after).
  • Uses short lines.
  • Involves two to three drafts at the maximum.
  • Uses “ed” endings to verb rather than “ings”.

5. Young Adult fiction in verse:

The more I write skinny prose, the more I find it in the world around me. {Like the colour yellow!} Here are three YA novels in verse that I loved:

Today’s Loveliness Exercise

Come on over to our Facebook group and tell us how you feel about writing skinny prose ~ also known as poetry. Are you excited? Nervous? Both? Are you a poet from way back… or just wading into these waters for the first time?

See you tomorrow.