1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Poetic Prose and Short Clauses

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by waitingforzion, Mar 12, 2014.

    I always had trouble writing prose that was poetic, but I noticed something about poetic prose that I have seen, such as the prose of biblical narratives and epistles. All of the clauses are relatively short. So I am thinking, that perhaps my problem was due to me trying to write clauses that were too long, like the previous one, and have them bear a poetic tone. It seems that when you shorten the length of your clauses, you have more control over rhythm and cadence. Does this make any sense to anyone or am I just thinking dumb things?
     
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  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    No - not dumb at all. I found that after I started reading poetry my sentences got shorter and clearer. The idea is not to bury sentences under a lot of decoration, redundancies, and unsure words and to keep your verb as close to its subject as possible. That way when you want to create a longer sentence it will come out cleaner, because you're less inclined to jam in fillers.
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't buy it. The length of a sentence isn't what defines poetic prose. See the example below.

    Interesting you mention "biblical" because Cormac McCarthy's style is somewhat close to the biblical style. He uses both long and short sentences, and I actually think that his longer sentences are more poetic than his shorter ones. Here's an example from Blood Meridian:
     
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