Do you work on poetry and prose at the same time?

I've tried to write poetry and prose at the same time. I don't mean with a pen in each hand, I mean, you know, sort of, perhaps on the same day, and it just doesn't work. I think they're two different mindsets, and I particularly notice that the poetry will spill over into the prose and the prose will become clogged and it will become lyrical and it will even end up having rhymes in it! I've written a couple of novels and the first time I sat down to embark on this first novel, you know, I simply didn't know how to do it. Poetry's become a kind of first language, and my creative, literary thoughts appear as poems. So I had to keep going to the bookshelf and picking out novels and reading a paragraph and reminding myself "Oh yes, that's prose, that's how you do it!" I remember Margaret Atwood once saying that she thought they came out of different sides of the brain. I don't know how you would prove that, but it sounds like a good metaphor to explain it.


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