I must admit (sorry, Casey) that I'm not a big poetry fan (other than the big epics: The Iliad, The Aenied, The Inferno). But most modern poetry is so vague and abstract that I find it more irritating than edifying. I read some of it, but it feels more like work than pleasure.
On the other hand, I love prose that has a poetic feel to it. I was reminded of this when I recently finished C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves. Those who claim that Lewis was not a great writer should read or re-read this book. While very much prose, it has the flow, the beauty, and the feel of poetry. I was often struck by the poetic phrases and flourishes, but it was all within the framework of a logical narrative. Sort of the best of both worlds. Here's an example:
To love is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."
Another of this type of book (I repeat myself once again) is Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop:
The sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still,--and there was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world. The plain was there, under one's feet, but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud. Even the mountains were mere ant-hills under it. Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the roof of the sky.
Likewise Marilynne Robinson's Gilead:
“Every day is holy, but the Sabbath is set apart so that the holiness of time can be experienced.”
Dickens wrote set-pieces in his big novels that were positively poetic. Mark Helprin, at his best, can pull it off.
So, Ricochetti, does this make sense? What are your favorite prose works that are also poetic?