There is a temptation to say that poets and fiction writers are separate animals, like aardvarks and zebras, and that it’s pointless for an aardvark to try to gallop on the plains or a zebra to crawl down a hole, but I find myself growing hot under the collar when people lay down absolutes about the difference between the poetic and the storytelling soul. Charles Baxter, a fiction writer who also has published several books of poetry, but who describes himself as an ex-poet in his essay collection Burning Down the House, writes:
“The poets start the party and dance the longest, but they don’t know how to plug in the audio system, and they have to wait for the prose writers to show them where the on/off switch is. In general, poets do not know where the on/off switch is, anywhere in life. They are usually off unless they are forcibly turned on, and they stay on until they are taken to the emergency room, where they are medicated and turned off again.”
—Lucia Perillo, author of Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain, from an original essay on Powells.com
I’ve said it elsewhere, and better, but I like seeing other people try to articulate this.