The Fictionality of Poetry

Grace 1As the poetry editor I don’t focus a lot on fiction. In fact, I stay far away from it. I like to stay in my little poetry bubble with metaphors and ambiguity. Recently I have been having trouble in my personal writing. I’ve been trying to write poems with stories too complex for their lines. Believe me I tried narrative poetry and it didn’t work. I had hit a creative road block all because I was stuck on a form.

The simple fact is that some ideas aren’t meant to be poems. Some stories are meant to be told in prose or in novels. A while ago I told myself I was a poet and restricted myself to just writing poetry. At the time I didn’t realize that language cannot be restricted to one form. Language talks back. Language will tell you when it doesn’t like what it is. During second reads I read fiction pieces. While reading the stories I realized that maybe some of my poems were meant to be something else. So I decided to go on a journey with my language. I sat down with my poetry and asked it what it wanted to be. Some said poems and others said that they were fiction.

The only thing I could do in the situation was comply with my pieces. Nothing is worse than making your pieces be what they don’t want to be. All it does is result in a lot of hair pulling and unhappiness. Through the process of reworking my pieces I started to appreciate fiction more. Fiction has a lot of the same techniques as poetry. Fiction is just poetry with a lot more characters and a more complex plot. I found that fiction isn’t all that bad and I stopped being scared of it. I found that language is its own beast and I shouldn’t try to tame it.

-Grace Green, Poetry Editor