Prose poems - which type do you prefer?


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  1. #1

    Prose poems - which type do you prefer?

    Still on my mission to write a prose poem I continued my research courtesy of Google and discovered A Brief Guide to the Prose Poem by Danielle Mitchell over at Poet's Revolt.

    It was there I discovered there were actually four different types of prose poem a fact that had somehow, in my previous research, escaped my notice.

    - Postcard

    A poem that captures a moment in time with a strong sense of place. As postcards often are, it is a short letter addressed to someone specific.
    Example: Cecilia Woloch’s “Postcard to I. Kaminsky from a Dream at the Edge of the Sea
    - Factoid

    A poem that incorporates at least one piece of factual information. It can be a scientific fact, or an emotional fact. A good factoid often has a weaving of information and image which rub against each other to create friction. Keep in mind it is as Mallarme said “the intersections, the crossing of the unexpected with the known” are what causes meaning and not just the facts on their own.
    Example: David Ignatow’s “Information

    This might be my favorite kind of prose poem. Here is one of my factoid poems: Danielle Mitchell’s “Year of the Dig


    - Deadpan Narrative

    Often a funny poem or poem in which funny things are happening, but it’s hard to tell if the speaker is really laughing. The deadpan narrative has story-like elements, but is also prone to leaps in time and reason, as well as sarcastic realizations.
    Example: Daniel Romo’s “Attention

    - Surreal Narrative


    The surreal narrative, as I like to call it, is especially amiable when caged in the prose poem and no one really knows why. Going back to that definition of the prose poem as a block of text where “weird shit happens,” it just somehow works. Surrealism is meant to produce the function of thought, outside of reason and outside of precaution. It just goes and goes and arrives at a shopping mall surrounded by wild goats.
    Example: Zachary Schomburg’s “The Fire Cycle
    Do check out the full article >here>

    I am also looking for further examples of the different types of prose poem to use as a reference. Please share links to further examples below.

    Have you written a prose poem? If so please state which type and post to our Poets' Workshop for critique.
    Last edited by PiP; August 20th, 2017 at 08:54 AM.
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  2. #2
    Member bobo's Avatar
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    May be I'm off-beat - in that case it shouldn't be the first time
    But doesn't Language Poetry qualify as prose poetry ??
    I wrote about Lyn Henian the 29 june in Firemagic's thread,
    and there's some wiki here
    Good Luck
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  3. #3
    I think it's odd that given the reasons behind the rise of prose poems that today's prose poets are trying to create 'rules' and articulate defining factors for the genre!

    I disagree with many of Mitchell's definitions. There are many acclaimed works that defy her rules, published long before she set out certain parameters, and whilst it does appear she's trying to guide others, the essence of what she's stating goes against the core reason for the existence of prose poetry.

    Take punk rock as an example. It was never supposed to change the world, it was never meant to be political, it wasn't driven by a wave of outrage at a world tied up in crass capitalism. It was a fraction of a generation that was bored and did something different to defeat monotony. To the outside world it lasted nearly a decade; to those involved it was over in 18 months! What killed it was people coming to it and imposing rules and definitions, politicising it and giving it a cause and goals.

    Just as the 'punk rock' label means little or nothing today apart from giving the masses a pigeon hole for certain music, the term prose poem is nothing more than a box in which to place writing that mimics a challenge to the status quo of poetry many years ago. Are prose poems still valid? Yes. Are they challenging the status quo? No, not any more.

    Poetry, and more specifically poets, get too hung up on the past and so-called 'rules' based upon what dead mean and dead women wrote. Maybe what we need is to forget the dead and get back to creativity!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_C View Post
    I think it's odd that given the reasons behind the rise of prose poems that today's prose poets are trying to create 'rules' and articulate defining factors for the genre!
    Perhaps it is because some clarity is needed.

    I disagree with many of Mitchell's definitions. There are many acclaimed works that defy her rules, published long before she set out certain parameters, and whilst it does appear she's trying to guide others, the essence of what she's stating goes against the core reason for the existence of prose poetry.
    Oh, crap. You are right. I was delighted when I found some'rules' to hang my poetry hat on as no one can seem to agree on what is or isn't prose poetry. I've just attempted a prose poem and then when I tried to label it within one of the above I don't think it even came close. I'll post it to the workshop later and would value your opinion. Don't worry, I have the hide of an old sow so if it is fit for the trash bin and not even close I won't be offended.

    Take punk rock as an example. It was never supposed to change the world, it was never meant to be political, it wasn't driven by a wave of outrage at a world tied up in crass capitalism. It was a fraction of a generation that was bored and did something different to defeat monotony. To the outside world it lasted nearly a decade; to those involved it was over in 18 months! What killed it was people coming to it and imposing rules and definitions, politicising it and giving it a cause and goals
    .

    True. Although I hated punk rock.

    Just as the 'punk rock' label means little or nothing today apart from giving the masses a pigeon hole for certain music, the term prose poem is nothing more than a box in which to place writing that mimics a challenge to the status quo of poetry many years ago. Are prose poems still valid? Yes. Are they challenging the status quo? No, not any more.
    hmmmmm....

    Poetry, and more specifically poets, get too hung up on the past and so-called 'rules' based upon what dead mean and dead women wrote. Maybe what we need is to forget the dead and get back to creativity!
    But don't we learn the rules so we can creatively break them? I am struggling with meter so I have a better understanding of rhythm, cadence etc. understanding words carry a different weight within a line surely must enhance the rhythm?
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  5. #5

    An Old Life

    Snow fell in the night.
    At five-fifteen I woke to a bluish
    mounded softness where
    the Honda was. Cat fed and coffee made,
    I broomed snow off of the car
    and drove to the Kearsarge Mini-Mart
    before Amy opened
    to yank my globe out of the bundle.
    Back, I set my cup of coffee
    beside Jane, still half- asleep,
    murmuring stuporous
    thanks in the aquamarine morning.
    Then I sat in my blue chair
    with blueberry bagels and strong
    black coffee reading news
    the obits, the comics, and the sports.
    Carrying my cup twenty feet,
    I sat myself at the desk
    for this day's lifelong
    engagement with the one task and desire.

    Author Donald Hall


    PiP, I thought of you when I read this... this is JMO, prose/poetry....
    now, can we define what makes this poetic? Read this again... then pick out the most poetic phrases.. here is one:
    I broomed snow off of the car. [ Line 5]

    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

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