by Janet Grace Riehl with Stephanie Farrow
During Stories from the Heart V (February 5-7, 2010 in Austin, Texas) Story Circle Network’s National Memoir Conference will be
abuzz with myriad ways of storytelling. Among these workshops will be mine: “Story
Poems: A Tool for Writing Our Stories.”
The story-poem is an often-overlooked form for telling our stories. We’ll discuss the genre and its unique niche in storytelling. We’ll compare samples of prose and story poems. Then you’ll practice turning your own prose into a story poem.
What is a story poem? A story poem combines highly compressed narrative, musing, and observation using poetic techniques such as alliteration, imagery, and metaphor. In the story poem, as in prose, the sentence rather than the line is the primary unit.
Besides introducing the story poem genre, we’ll examine when the form is
best used. What are its advantages and disadvantages as a writing tool? Would your own writing projects benefit from using or borrowing from the story poem form?