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Prose PoetryAn Introduction$
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Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180656

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180656.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Introducing the Prose Poem

Introducing the Prose Poem

(p.3) Chapter 1 Introducing the Prose Poem
(p.iii) Prose Poetry

Paul Hetherington

Cassandra Atherton

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces prose poetry's development in nineteenth-century France and its early reception and subsequent critical views about the form. The prose poem in English is now established as an important literary form in many countries at a time when the composition and publication of poetry is thriving. However, while poetry generally continues to be recognized as a literary genre highly suited to expressing intense emotion, grappling with the ineffable and the intimate, and while lineated lyric poetry is widely admired for its rhythms and musicality, the main scholarship written about English-language prose poetry to date defines the form as problematic, paradoxical, ambiguous, unresolved, or contradictory. The common observation that the term “prose poetry” appears to contain a contradiction is not surprising given that poetry and prose are often understood to be fundamentally different kinds of writing. The chapter then defines the prose poem's main features and discusses the challenge prose poetry presents to established ideas of literary genre.

Keywords:   prose poetry, prose poem, literary form, lyric poetry, literary genre

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