Friday, December 5, 2014

because you asked

"When I speak of poetry I am not thinking of it as a genre. Poetry is an awareness of the world, a particular way of relating to reality."

- Andrei Tarkovsky from Sculpting In Time

Because You Asked About the Line Between Prose and Poetry

by Howard Nemerov

Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned to pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.

There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.

I think half the reason I keep this blog is to remind myself of certain poems, lines. The Nemerov poem couldn't be more perfect.

This is what I'm thinking about in my recent work, this line between prose and poetry. Wondering if we could inhabit that space between, if we could stay aloft, stay in that space between freezing drizzle and flying snow, just a little longer than prose often will. Wondering if we could write prose in a way that's poetry, in the way that Tarkovsky speaks of poetry. As a way of relating to reality. Forgetting genres.

I recently scribbled a line from Clarice Lispector's Cronicas on my work in progress:

"Genre no longer interests me. What interests me is mystery." 

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”

- Roald Dahl

I sometimes conflate poetry with magic. Which is not strictly correct. Regardless, I do advise, along with Roald Dahl, to watch with glittering eyes. This might be one of the benefits of winter, one's eyes can catch the glints all the more easily.

I go on believing in poetry as an 'awareness of the world.' As a portal to mystery.


  1. Truly a portal to mystery, Shawna....your words, your photos. Wishing you a magical day, Rose

  2. As your blog is a portal for me, Shawna. I love that line, "the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." You always find the best little secrets through your lens. Wishing you a lovely weekend.


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