Prose Poetry -- Are You a Fan Too?


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  1. #1

    Prose Poetry -- Are You a Fan Too?

    Are any of you lovers of good prose poetry? Are you pretty familiar with the genre or is it something relatively new to you? Do you write it? Can you name some of your favorite writers of prose poetry? Or tell some of your favorite pieces?

    I love good prose poetry. I've studied it for years now and have many really good anthologies filled with outstanding prose poetry. I also write it. A couple of my favorite prose poetry writers are W.S. Merwin and Lydia Davis. These writers always have something interesting to say.

    Here are three super brief prose poems I like a lot.

    From Mythology
    by Zbigniew Herbert

    First there was a god of night and tempest, a black idol without eyes, before whom they leaped, naked and smeared with blood. Later on, in the times of the republic, there were many gods with wives, children, creaking beds, and harmlessly exploding thunderbolts. At the end only superstitious neurotics carried in their pockets little statues of salt, representing the god of irony. There was no greater god at that time.
    Then came the barbarians. They too valued highly the little god of irony.
    They would crush it under their heels and add it to their dishes.

    http://www.best-poems.net/poem/from-mythology-by-zbigniew-herbert.html

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    A VILLAGE
    by Michael Martone

    "Who dreamed us here?" the inhabitants of this village ask in their dreams. They try, upon waking, to renegotiate the covenants inherited from their ancestors--the dazzling hue of their houses, the shifting distribution of the neighborhoods. Their undreamed dreams accumulate, cloud the black, black night with sparks of color. They forget to ask. They ask. They forget they've asked. They ask. Who smudged out the road that was never there? Who erased the sense of a sense of direction? They dream: "Who dreamed us here?"
    "Did you?" they ask. "Did you?"

    http://webdelsol.com/tpp/t-su97mm.htm
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FEAR
    by Lydia Davis

    Nearly every morning, a certain woman in our community comes running out of her house with her face white and her overcoat flapping wildly. She cries out, "Emergency, emergency," and one of us runs to her and holds her until her fears are calmed. We know she is making it up; nothing has really happened to her. But we understand, because there is hardly one of us who has not been moved at some time to do just what she has done, and every time, it has taken all our strength, and even the strength of our friends and families too, to quiet us.

    See this piece and four other Davis prose poems here: http://www.conjunctions.com/print/ar...ydia-davis-c24
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    I would love to know your thoughts on prose poetry. I would also enjoy learning of some of your favorite writers of prose poetry and reading some of your favorite pieces.
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  2. #2
    I am not one to list many writers of prose poetry. I think I only have one favourite: Billy-Ray Belcourt, who writes prose poetry and poetry both, in one book This Wound is a World
    My own book (I'm trying to find a publisher now) is a combination of prose poetry and poetry too. Very difficult to find a publisher who accepts chapbook-length work.
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  3. #3
    Best of luck getting your chapbook published, Darren. I've never heard of Billy-Ray Belcourt so based on your appreciation of his work I'll add him to my list of work to explore.

    A collection you might like is Written in Water, the prose poems of Louis Cernuda. This a combination of his two collections, Ocnos and Variaciones sabre tema mexicano (Variations on a Mexican Theme). The collection explores various periods in Cernuda's life and the lyrical quality of his work is complex and beautiful.

    There are so many talented prose poets.
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  4. #4
    While prose poetry is becoming more and more accepted, it still faces a lot of dismissal. Why do you think that is? Do you like prose poetry? Or do you dislike it? What is it about prose poetry that makes you uneasy or uncomfortable? Why do you think it might be less respectable than poetry or short fiction?
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  5. #5
    Buk is superb at prose poetry...his books fall into that but I'm not big on them..
    The only one who can heal you is you.




  6. #6
    It surprised me that I liked a lot of Bukowski's work. I didn't expect to but I did. (He reminds me of some of my interesting relatives who kept us all busy watching what they were up to.)
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  7. #7
    Buks work is gritty and dark but somehow he manages to bring a truth and emotion to the bleakest of poetry prose...
    The only one who can heal you is you.




  8. #8
    "Gritty and dark" and touching. I've always liked this little Bukowski film. (It's put together with model train parts.) See it at https://movingpoems.com/2012/12/nirv...rles-bukowski/
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Pamelyn Casto View Post
    While prose poetry is becoming more and more accepted, it still faces a lot of dismissal. Why do you think that is? Do you like prose poetry? Or do you dislike it? What is it about prose poetry that makes you uneasy or uncomfortable? Why do you think it might be less respectable than poetry or short fiction?
    I think prose poetry is okay providing the writer uses poetic language. I read some 'prose' poetry and it is bland and reads like prose.

    I googled:
    Prose poetry is a type of writing that combines lyrical and metric elements of traditional poetry with idiomatic elements of prose, such as standard punctuation and the lack of line breaks.Nov 8, 2020
    So the only difference is: the lyrical and metric elements which probably makes it more difficult to write than prose?
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by PiP View Post
    I think prose poetry is okay providing the writer uses poetic language. I read some 'prose' poetry and it is bland and reads like prose.
    I've read seemingly bland pieces too. By Baudelaire in particular (the alleged father of prose poetry!) I've been studying his work and it turns out some of his pieces were far more prose-y than poetry on purpose. In his prose poems, a name he borrowed from another group of poets to help what he was writing seem more legitimate, it turns out he was trying to show the "reality" of the changing sights, the ever-changing fragmented sights in the city. I've always wondered why Baudelaire, a talented poet, often sounded so prose-y in his alleged prose poetry. I thought it must have something to do with the translation or something. But it's for a whole different reason. (This has been interesting to look into.) I also agree that it's more difficult to write than prose.
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