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Thread: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?


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Tim Bete

Posts: 27
Registered: 03/17/17
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 2:27 AM   in response to: Dapo Sodade in response to: Dapo Sodade
 
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When you consider all the self-published books on Amazon, I’m not sure the average poetry book sells much less than the average prose book. My first poetry book was published in March 2017. I’ve sold about 175 copies and given 150 ebooks away for free. I bet that’s better than the average prose book. It all comes down to the specific title. Whether poetry or prose, the key is to write well. I do see a lot of poetry in which the poet has not spent much time attempting to learn craft.
Notjohn

Posts: 23,802
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 4:15 AM   in response to: Dapo Sodade in response to: Dapo Sodade
 
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I think the larger question is, Why does fiction have more acceptance than non-fiction? In the most recent check I did of best-selling books, 92 out of the top 100 were fiction.

When I was young, I thought novels contained all wisdom, and I wanted nothing more than to be the next Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Wolfe (Thomas, not Tom). But in time I came to prefer history. Now I read fiction only for light entertainment -- Lee Child, for choice, though it's hard to get by on a diet of one a year.

The one advantage that non-fiction has is that it sells well in paperback. December sales are especially good, since paperbacks go better than digits under the tree.

(Don't trust KDP to publish a print edition. Don't trust CreateSpace to publish an ebook. Each does one thing well and the other thing poorly.)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
C. Gold

Posts: 1,099
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 6:03 AM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
 
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I went to both private and public school and don't remember studying any poetry in private. Did the memorizing in college. That did involve comprehension because how else would we know what that was saying? Shakespeare is almost gibberish without instruction. Communication and how to reach people changes through the years. I don't find poetry highest or most difficult, just most boring. :P

Peartree, I've felt very emotional from reading novels and even short stories while poems do nothing for me. I think it's just the way some people are wired. Fiction books were always my life changer. Old Yeller, Charlotte's Web, and Stuart Little are three books I recall from childhood that made me sad or cry. There are many, many more throughout the years.
Emily Veinglory

Posts: 3,577
Registered: 04/25/13
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 7:03 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
 
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So does "acceptance" mean "sales" now? If so the answer seems clear. Top seller lists are by volume and non-fiction books have a higher average unit cost. Most years fiction sells more units but non-fiction makes more profit,
Jonathan B

Posts: 4,604
Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 7:27 AM   in response to: Emily Veinglory in response to: Emily Veinglory
 
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Emily Veinglory wrote:
So does "acceptance" mean "sales" now? If so the answer seems clear. Top seller lists are by volume and non-fiction books have a higher average unit cost. Most years fiction sells more units but non-fiction makes more profit,

My trad-published non-fiction full-length book was on a limited subject, and it had a limited print run. But the retail price was $99.

I had quite a few people reach out to me for clarification or for a deeper dive into some of the instruments, but to my huge surpise, I met someone in the Thai government at a wedding in Bangkok who recognized my name and asked me if I had written that book.
Diana Persaud

Posts: 2,711
Registered: 10/07/13
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 7:58 AM   in response to: Dapo Sodade in response to: Dapo Sodade
 
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Too many people confuse complexity with intelligence. I've read many poems that are painful to read and indecipherable. The poet, no doubt, thinks they are clever in writing something that few can understand. What they don't realize is that they have failed to communicate their thoughts and ideas to the reader.

I enjoy Shakespeare but not all his plays. One reason he's not more popular with the masses is because of the language. We don't speak that way anymore. It's not a lack of intelligence on the part of modern readers. It's no different than giving readers a book in a different language and asking them to read it. Why would they struggle when they could read something in their own language that's easier to understand? The enjoyment of Shakespeare comes from UNDERSTANDING what is being said.

Hands down, my two favorite poems are The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost and All There is to Know About Adolph Eichmann by Leonard Cohen. Both are simplistic in their language and yet powerful. Both speak to me on a deep level and I find Cohen's poem chilling in its perception of human nature.

If it's "good," it evokes a strong emotion in the reader. And that requires an ability to communicate effectively.
resteasy

Posts: 924
Registered: 07/02/12
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 5:11 PM   in response to: Diana Persaud in response to: Diana Persaud
 
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Now Scottish poet William Mcgonagle, probably one of the worst poets of all time. But the poems will raise a smile, even a rip-roaring laugh. Here's a link for anyone interested. Take a look over Christmas after the feasting and excitement subsides. So awful, it's brilliant. All the critics who disparaged him in his lifetime never prevented the genius' next outpouring.

http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/works
Joseph M Erhardt

Posts: 4,750
Registered: 12/21/15
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 5:34 PM   in response to: resteasy in response to: resteasy
 
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resteasy wrote:
Now Scottish poet William Mcgonagle, probably one of the worst poets of all time. But the poems will raise a smile, even a rip-roaring laugh. Here's a link for anyone interested. Take a look over Christmas after the feasting and excitement subsides. So awful, it's brilliant. All the critics who disparaged him in his lifetime never prevented the genius' next outpouring.

http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/works


Oh. My. God. This guy had no sense of rhythm at all, did he? Tried to struggle through a couple of his works just now, but couldn't finish.

E.g.: "The Tay Bridge Disaster." Does this refer to the railroad disaster or to the poem? I can't tell.

Ogden Nash also forced his rhymes, but he did it with humor, with rhythm, and with style.
Jonathan B

Posts: 4,604
Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 6:56 PM   in response to: Diana Persaud in response to: Diana Persaud
 
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Diana Persaud wrote:
Too many people confuse complexity with intelligence. I've read many poems that are painful to read and indecipherable. The poet, no doubt, thinks they are clever in writing something that few can understand. What they don't realize is that they have failed to communicate their thoughts and ideas to the reader.

+1
C. Gold

Posts: 1,099
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 8:46 PM   in response to: Joseph M Erhardt in response to: Joseph M Erhardt
 
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Joseph M Erhardt wrote:
resteasy wrote:
Now Scottish poet William Mcgonagle, probably one of the worst poets of all time. But the poems will raise a smile, even a rip-roaring laugh. Here's a link for anyone interested. Take a look over Christmas after the feasting and excitement subsides. So awful, it's brilliant. All the critics who disparaged him in his lifetime never prevented the genius' next outpouring.

http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/works

Oh. My. God. This guy had no sense of rhythm at all, did he? Tried to struggle through a couple of his works just now, but couldn't finish.

E.g.: "The Tay Bridge Disaster." Does this refer to the railroad disaster or to the poem? I can't tell.

Ogden Nash also forced his rhymes, but he did it with humor, with rhythm, and with style.


I tried to read Death and Burial of Lord Tennyson - I bet Lord Tennyson was rolling around in his grave on this one.
It starts off ok, then we get this:

Lord Tennyson’s works are full of the scenery of his boyhood,
And during his life all his actions were good;
And Lincolnshire was closely associated with his history,
And he has done what Wordsworth did for the Lake Country.

It's like jamming a metal bar into a bicycle wheel that's spinning, and it tumbles end over end before finally recovering to wrap up with some semblance of meter and rhyme at the end. Or perhaps this was his creative way of simulating The Charge of the Light Brigade when the cannon fires and scatters the semi-ordered ranks of words and verse into a broken mashup?

I will no longer consider my poems as sucky ever again. Thanks for that!
Brad the wronger

Posts: 343
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 9:18 PM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
 
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Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
10blade

Posts: 749
Registered: 08/22/11
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 9:37 PM   in response to: the_peartree in response to: the_peartree
 
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the_peartree wrote:
I never saw fiction that could make students cry - apart from maybe The Red Pony to year 8 - but great poetry did on a few occasions. There is a silence that comes after hearing the best poetry read aloud that comes after nothing else.
Good fiction has the same effect on me as good poetry. Neither has ever made me cry. My favourite poem absolves me of callousness. http://www.bartleby.com/248/1250.html
the_peartree

Posts: 1,018
Registered: 08/07/12
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 11:40 PM   in response to: 10blade in response to: 10blade
 
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Good fiction has the same effect on me as good poetry. Neither has ever made me cry.

You have my sympathies, in that case.
C. Gold

Posts: 1,099
Registered: 02/17/15
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 22, 2017 12:00 AM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
 
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Thanks Brad ;)

Midwest Mosquito Ambush

Once upon a summer’s night
While I rested, sleep in sight
I heard a sound, a sound I hate
The high pitched neeeeeee — a mosquito, this late
I flipped the light and saw it in flight
A slap, a clap, and smack of the hand
Rendered a body on the nightstand

Twice upon a summer’s night
While I rested, sleep in sight
I heard a sound, a sound I hate
The high pitched neeeeeee — a mosquito, this late
I flipped the light and saw it in flight
A slap, a clap, and smack of the hand
Rendered another body on the nightstand

Thrice upon a summer’s night
While I rested, sleep somewhat in sight
I heard a sound, a sound I hate
The high pitched neeeeeee — a mosquito, this late
I flipped the light and saw it in flight
A slap, a clap, and smack of the hand
Rendered a third body on the nightstand

Fourth time around, on this summer’s night
I hid under the covers, with nary a sight
Or a possible sound of the terrible neeeeeee
Except in my mind, a cloud of these fiends
Circling above, waiting to bite
But I was buried to avoid this fight
It made for one very long night
Joseph M Erhardt

Posts: 4,750
Registered: 12/21/15
Re: Why does PROSE have more acceptance than POETRY?
Posted: Dec 22, 2017 5:08 AM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
 
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I used to love MAD Magazine's If X Were Written by Y poetry. E.g., if "Casey at the Bat" had been written by Edgar Allan Poe. It began:

Once upon a final inning,
with the other ball-team winning,
and my Mudville teammates trailing
by a score of two to four ...

Etc.
:)
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