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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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Neo-Surrealism within the Prose Poetry Tradition

Neo-Surrealism within the Prose Poetry Tradition

(p.102) Chapter 5 Neo-Surrealism within the Prose Poetry Tradition
Prose Poetry

Paul Hetherington

Cassandra Atherton

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses the American neo-surreal as an influential strand of prose poetry, adapting ideas that originated with the surrealists to challenge assumptions about how the world should be understood, and prose-poetic narratives ought to be read. The term “neo-surrealism” does not have to be restrictive but may be used as a way of opening up an understanding of certain key features of prose poetry internationally. And while American prose poets are certainly not the first to experiment with surrealism, many contemporary American prose poets demonstrate a particular interest in absurdism and neo-surrealism. As a result, neo-surrealism is arguably best exemplified by American prose poets — in terms of the number of writers employing such techniques and the quality of neo-surrealistic works being written. Notwithstanding its contemporaneity, the neo-surrealistic strand of prose poetry maintains a clear — if sometimes lateral — connection to the strange and often dreamlike works produced by nineteenth-century French prose poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud.

Keywords:   prose poetry, neo-surrealism, prose-poetic narratives, American prose poets, neo-surrealistic prose poetry

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