Poets who wrote prose

Oh, I totally forgot it was National Poetry Month!

How did I forget that? Oh yeah, I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo and my life is taken over by editing right now.

But it’s still Poetry Month, and I still want to talk about it. Poetry is a beautiful form of art, that I find completely unattainable. I’ve tried, Lord knows I have tried. I understand the forms, I study language. But in my heart, I am a prose writer. And I will always be a prose writer.

That doesn’t stop me from deeply appreciating poetry. And here’s the thing, poetry writers often cross over to prose. So today, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite poets who turned to prose.

Natalie Goldberg

Goldberg is my favorite writing coach, a constant inspiration to live my most authentic life, and someone 51q395-fdxLI would dearly love to sit down and have coffee with someday. Only she probably wouldn’t drink coffee. She’d probably drink hot chocolate and have a delicious croissant along with it.

Goldberg has written honestly more books than I can list here. Many of them are poetry. Three of them are about writing, and I own all of them. But she’s written at least one novel, called Banana Rose.

Now, I haven’t read this yet. But it sounds fascinating. It’s about a Jewish woman who’s in love with a painter but can’t stop thinking about a girl back home. It’s about her faith, her love, her art, and her life.

It’s on my list, and if you loved Writing Down The Bones it should be on yours too.

Langston Hughes

Hughes wrote some of the deepest, most magically realistic poems I’ve ever read. And his novel Not not-without-laughter-7Without Laughter. It’s about African American life in Kansas in the 1910s. Much like Goldberg’s novel, it’s not autobiographical on purpose.

On purpose.

As you can imagine from the subject matter, it’s not a laugh riot. But’s a deeply personal book, and an honest one.




Maya Angelou

GUEST_64dc88de-f5de-4c3a-9127-3cbc925b4990I think I’ve gushed about this book before, and I do not care in the slightest. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is one of my favorite books of all time. It didn’t feel like reading a book. It felt like sitting in front of Maya, listening to her telling me all about her life. And her life was amazing. From living with her grandmother in the south to becoming a single mom, she experienced so much, so many things that I will never experience. At the same time, it was so hard to read this book and not point out to everyone within earshot, “Listen, listen to this. This is me! It’s just exactly what I’ve thought or felt before. How could this woman, who lived in a completely different time, completely different part of the country, with a completely different family, have so many moments that echo with such truth for me?

Maybe there are some things that are universal. And maybe poets are better than the rest of us at pointing those universal truths out.

Even when they’re writing prose.

Don’t forget, Station Central, book four of Station 86 starts on Saturday. (Unless you’re signed up for the PBW Update. Then you already have the first two episodes.) Get book one for free, and enter the world of Station 86.

Station Central



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