Loading presentation...

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM

Copy

Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.

DeleteCancel

The Prose Poem

A presentation given at the May 2014 Northwest Poets' Concord
by

Stephanie Lenox

on 3 May 2014

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of The Prose Poem

The Prose Poem:
a form at the margins
presented by Stephanie Lenox
Northwest Poets' Concord
May 2014
A basic definition
• any poem written without the use of line breaks.
an alternative to lineated verse (both free and formal)
The prose poem is ...
so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams
The Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williams
So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.

You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Ask Me by William Stafford
Ask Me by William Stafford

Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made. I will listen to what you say. You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.

What is lost?
“If it is put in prose form on the page without the line-breaks then you have given up some of the opportunities that there are for acrobatic swingings from line to line and emphasizing certain words or phrases.” -- Stafford
Acrobatic swingings
Emphasis
What is gained?
“You gain something in that the reader will feel that you are not trying to bamboozle him with white space.” -- Stafford
Overview
The prose poem is not the anti-poem. It is not merely a poem with the line breaks removed. It is not the ugly step sister of poetry. It is its own challenging, intriguing, and irreverent form, one that pushes boundaries, blurs boundaries, and ultimately rejects boundaries.

“Flexible yet rugged enough to identify with the lyric impulses of the soul, the ebbs and flows of reverie, and the pangs of conscience.”

--Charles Baudelaire

The prose poem is ....
The prose poem is ...
“A small justified block of writing wherein weird shit happens.”

Gary L. McDowell and F. Daniel Rzicznek, editors of
The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry
The prose poem is ...
“like the Smith Corona, simply a different instrument with different tonalities upon which to fiddle my tunes.”

--Poet David Daniel
The prose poem is ...
“Poetry that disguises its true nature.”

David Lehman, editor of
Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present
The prose poem is ...
“A blob in the shape of Kansas. A bulbous dirigible hovering there at the top of the page.”

--Poet David Shumate
Controversy
“The prose poem has the unusual distinction of being regarded with suspicion not only by the usual haters of poetry, but also by many poets themselves.”

--Charles Simic
Instructions for the Prose Poet
Get drunk
Get surreal
Get naked
Get whimsical
Get funny
Get non-rational
Get into another form
Borrowed Forms
Newspaper column
Memo
List
Parable
Dialogue
Riddle
Letter
Q&A
Horoscope
Fairytale
Footnotes
Dream
Aphorism
Advertisement
Definition
Journal
Infomercial
Prose poetry is “an impossible amalgamation of lyric poetry, anecdote, fairy tale, allegory, joke, journal entry, and many other kinds of prose. Prose poems are the culinary equivalent of peasant dishes, like paella and gumbo, which bring together a great variety of ingredients and flavors, and which in the end, thanks to the art of the cook, somehow blend."
Literary Hybrid
Charles Simic
Prose Poetry vs. Flash Fiction
“Prose poetry and flash fiction are kissing cousins. They are kissing on Jerry Springer, knowing they’re cousins, and screaming “So what?” as the audience hisses.” -Denise Duhamel
Your arm and hand cock back instinctively, although they have never moved like this before, because your firstborn has taken a piece of your thigh between her two-year-old, sharp and white incisors, and it surprises you to find your arm in this position, you who dress her naked dolls so they won't look cold, but her teeth take deeper hold and drive everything out of your head except, oddly, your own father saying "silly bitch" when you were five and left your bike out in the rain and also the sound, so compelling, of skin hitting skin hitting skin and, even more oddly, something your aunt told you about your grandfather boxing your father's ear so bad it bled rough red stuff from the eardrum-all this, even the love you feel for both these men, rushes through you so fast you understand for the first time-as your hand descends-the phrase "seeing red" and the only thing between your hand and your child is your puny intellect scared shitless in some corner, so that just before your hand hits the tender part of her thigh, the part you had kissed just twenty minutes ago when changing her diaper and before she screams, your daughter looks at you first in disbelief and then in complete comprehension, as though, perhaps, she knew these stories all along, and you wonder, with terror, as you've never wondered before, if this is the history you've been trying to write.
All This
Flash Fiction by Joanne Avallon
In his travels he comes to a bridge made entirely of bones. Before crossing he writes a letter to his mother: Dear mother, guess what? the ape accidentally bit off one of his hands while eating a banana. Just now I am at the foot of a bone bridge. I shall be crossing it shortly. I don't know if I shall find hills and valleys made of flesh on the other side, or simply constant night, villages of sleep. The ape is scolding me for not teaching him better. I am letting him wear my pith helmet for consolation. The bridge looks like one of those skeletal reconstructions of a huge dinosaur one sees in a museum. The ape is looking at the stump of his wrist and scolding me again. I offer him another banana and he gets very furious, as though I'd insulted him. Tomorrow we cross the bridge. I'll write to you from the other side if I can; if not, look for a sign.
The Bridge
A Fable by Russel Edson
This tree has two million and seventy-five thousand leaves. Perhaps I missed a leaf or two but I do feel triumphant at having persisted in counting by hand branch by branch and marked down on paper with pencil each total. Adding them up was a pleasure I could understand; I did something on my own that was not dependent on others, and to count leaves is not less meaningful than to count the stars, as astronomers are always doing. They want the facts to be sure they have them all. It would help them to know whether the world is finite. I discovered one tree that is finite. I must try counting the hairs on my head, and you too. We could swap information.
Information
Prose poem by David Ignatow
Speaking of rebellion
Aloysius Bertrand Charles Baudelaire
Full transcript