[writing|process] Poetry and fiction

Yesterday, the inestimable [info]jimvanpelt made a terrifically interesting post about recasting prose as poetry in order to more effectively see what kinds of language choices the writer had made.

Being me, I of course immediately had to try this. It’s, well, interesting. I give you several examples.

The opening to Mainspring, recast as poetry.

The angel
Gleamed in the light of
Hethor’s reading candle
Bright as any brasswork automaton
The young man
Clutched his threadbare coverlet
In the irrational hope
That the quilted cotton scraps
Could shield him
From whatever power
Had invaded his attic room.
He closed his eyes

The opening to Green….

The first thing I can remember
In this life
Is my father
Driving his white ox
To the sky burial platforms
His back was before me
As we walked along a dusty road
All things were dusty
In the country of my birth
    Unless they were flooded
A ditch yawned at each side
To beckon me toward play
The fields beyond
Were drained of water and
    Filled with stubble
Though I could not now say
Which of the harvest seasons it was

The opening to Death of Starship

“Z-flotilla’s gone over to the rebels!”
Shouted one of the comm ensigns
Sweat beaded on the boy’s
Shaved head
He was still young enough
    To be excited by combat
NSS Enver Hoxha‘s battle bridge
Was wedge-shaped
Command stations
    At the narrow aft end
A giant array of displays
    At the blunt end
All finished out in military-grade carbonmesh
    And low-intensity gel interfaces
A dozen duty stations
Arrayed before and below Captain Saenz
Eighteen officers and men
Laboring wet-backed and trembling
In the service of their own
    Imminent death
Everything reeked
Of panicked men
And distressed electronics

That last one’s a little strange, but I think they all three hold up okay. Am I poetic? Lyrical? Who’s to say from three opening passages?

How does this work on your fiction?

2 thoughts on “[writing|process] Poetry and fiction

  1. Jane Greenbaum says:

    I think the first two work so well as poems. The third could be a beginning to a long (book length) poem in that genre. Think about it.

Comments are closed.