Poetic Prose & Poetry: One Year to a Writing Life, Lesson #8

  Charles Baudelaire wrote in 1855, “Which of us, in his ambitious moment, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose . . . supple and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul.”  

I certainly feel discouraged when my writing lacks the zing of poetry.  I tend to write in a straight-forward manner that would be great if I wanted to write instructions for how to put together a sandbox but leaves me feeling kinda blue because I don’t want to be a technical writer.  I want to be a writer, writer!  LOL!  

In this lesson, Tiberghien asks us to look at the elements of poetic prose:  rhythm, imagery, and compression.

“Rhythm in writing means to make resonant”–it’s the flow of sound and silence.  Wow.  Even the definition is poetic.  

How do you create a rhythmic flow in writing?

  • meter–the rhythm to the writing
  • word sounds–the musical quality of words
  • extra voltage–heightening the sound through alliteration and assonance 

The elements of Imagery

Imagery in writing means to make visual–the making of mental pictures or the leaping of visual faith.   We can create images that stick through similes, metaphors, and symbols.  


The process of “distilling a work to its essence.”  With compression we polish, rewrite, and rid ourselves of all excess, leaving in only the heart of the matter.

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