Intentionality of words is something poets speak of often and value highly. And I think us authors of prose should attempt to cultivate the same efforts of word-smithery. For a poet, each word and grammatical mark – even individual letters sometimes – carries the potential to affect the entire poem and the way a reader views or hears it. Part of the poet’s genius is in the sound manipulations he or she can create in the reader’s ears.
But can prose manage that?
Considering length it would be difficult to contribute that much care to each mark on the page as many poets do. But what about some of the longer epic poetry like “Paradise Lost” or “The Divine Comedy” (see also “Beowulf,” “things by Homer,” “Canterbury Tales,” “The Waste Land”…) Some of these are probably longer than the last book you read. Continue reading