Prose poetry

In tutorial, we tried turning a paragraph from Jon McGregor’s If nobody speaks of remarkable things from prose into poetry. Each group of two chose where to break the lines, and then we reviewed some of the choices and what differences each choice could make to the meaning of the same passage.

Here is the paragraph:

He wonders how so much water can resist the pull of so much gravity for the time it takes such pregnant clouds to form, he wonders about the moment the rain begins, the turn from forming to falling, that slight silent pause in the physics of the sky as the critical mass is reached, the hesitation before the first swollen drop hurtles fatly and effortlessly to the ground. He thinks about this, and the rain begins to fall. (Jon McGregor. If nobody speaks of remarkable things. London: Bloomsbury, 2003.)

Here is my own “poem”:

He wonders how so much water can resist
the pull of so much gravity
for the time it takes such pregnant clouds
to form, he wonders about the moment
the rain begins, the turn from forming
to falling, that slight silent pause
in the physics of the sky as the critical mass
is reached, the hesitation before
the first swollen drop hurtles fatly
and effortlessly to the ground. He thinks
about this, and the rain begins to fall.

Immediately you can see my penchant for lives of about 10 syllables; I didn’t do it on purpose, but that’s just the way I read, I guess.

Here are some of the students’ poems:

He wonders how so much water can resist
the pull of so much gravity
for the time it takes such pregnant clouds to form,
he wonders about the moment
the rain begins, the turn
from forming to falling,
that slight silent pause
in the physics of the sky
as the critical mass is reached,
the hesitation
before the first swollen drop
hurtles fatly and effortlessly
to the ground.
He thinks about this, and
the rain begins to fall.

 

He wonders how so much
water can resist the pull of so much
gravity for the time it takes such
pregnant clouds to form, he wonders
about the moment the rain begins,
the turn from forming
to falling, that slight silent pause
in the physics of the sky
as the critical mass is reached, the hesitation
before the first swollen drop hurtles
fatly and effortlessly to the ground.
He thinks about this,
and the rain begins to fall.

 

He wonders
how so much water can resist the pull
of so much gravity
for the time it takes such pregnant clouds to form,
he wonders
about the moment the rain begins,
the turn from forming to falling,
that slight silent pause in the physics of the sky
as the critical mass is reached,
the hesitation
before the first swollen drop hurtles
fatly and effortlessly to the ground.
He thinks about this,
and the rain begins to fall.

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