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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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Prose Poetry and TimeSpace

Prose Poetry and TimeSpace

(p.128) Chapter 6 Prose Poetry and TimeSpace
Prose Poetry

Paul Hetherington

Cassandra Atherton

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses prose poetry's distortion of space and time, exploring the effects created by prose poetry's simultaneously condensed and onrushing language. This is unlike lineated poetry because although lineated lyric poems, in particular, often create a sense of considerable compression and intensity, the relative abundance of white space in such works creates a countervailing sense that there is room to think and breathe. Prose poetry is also unlike prose fiction, in which the emphasis on narrative progression gives priority to a sense of directed forward movement through TimeSpace — an emphasis that is very different from the effects created by most prose poems. While a prose poem may create an impression of forward momentum as the grammar and sequencing of the prose poem's tightly packed sentences carry the reader forward, its poetic tropes simultaneously complicate or problematize any sense of one-way progression. As a result, prose poems usually yield for the reader a complex textual engagement in which ideas and motifs frequently fold back on themselves, or present unresolved issues for consideration.

Keywords:   prose poetry, lineated lyric poems, prose fiction, narrative progression, TimeSpace, prose poems, poetic tropes, condensed language, onrushing language

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