What’s Prose Poetry?

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prose poetry

Poetry is an enormous panorama, populated with many various kinds of poems from free verse to sonnets to haiku. Prose poetry is uncommon as a result of its type deviates from the character of poetry, which is writing in verse.

Earlier than we study prose poetry, we first should perceive the distinction between prose and poetry.


Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines prose as follows:

a : the atypical language folks use in talking or writing

b : a literary medium distinguished from poetry particularly by its higher irregularity and number of rhythm and its nearer correspondence to the patterns of on a regular basis speech

Mainly, prose is common textual content — phrases shaped into sentences which might be shaped into paragraphs. Whereas prose may be rhythmic and musical, it’s not written in meter or rhyme. The overwhelming majority of writing is prose, from essays and articles to novels and books of nonfiction.

Poetry (Verse)

A defining characteristic of poetry is that it’s written in verse. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary provides a number of definitions of verse:

1 : a line of metrical writing

2a : (1) metrical language (2) : metrical writing distinguished from poetry particularly by its decrease stage of depth (3) : poetry
2b : poem
2c : a physique of metrical writing (as of a interval or nation)

3 : stanza

Verse is metrical and written in stanzas. Like poetry, songs are sometimes written verse, which is why some components of a tune are referred to as verses. As a substitute of sentences that type paragraphs, that are used to jot down prose, poetry consists with metrical strains that type stanzas.

Prose Poetry

At first, prose poetry looks as if an oxymoron. If prose is outlined by being composed of sentences and paragraphs and poetry is outlined as being composed of verse, wouldn’t or not it’s unattainable to create one thing referred to as prose poetry?

As , artists are liable to bending and breaking the principles, and poets aren’t any exception. Naturally, they created a type that defied the very guidelines that outline poetry. To know prose poetry, we have to look past construction and study different parts that outline poetry: the artistic use of language and imagery, economics of language, and wordplay. Take into account this definition of poetry from Merriam-Webster:

writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative consciousness of expertise in language chosen and organized to create a selected emotional response via which means, sound, and rhythm

Though most poetry is written in verse, construction alone doesn’t outline poetry. So we will take the opposite parts of poetry after which reshape the writing into sentences and paragraphs. That’s the way you get prose poetry.

Based on Wikipedia, “a prose poem seems as prose, reads as poetry, but lacks line breaks related to poetry however makes use of…fragmentation, compression, repetition and rhyme and…poetry symbols, metaphor, and figures of speech. Prose poetry…is basically a hybrid or fusion of [prose and poetry].”

What’s Prose Poetry? Right here’s an Instance

Check out the next excerpt from Campbell McGrath’s aptly titled “The Prose Poem”:

On the map it’s exact and rectilinear as a chessboard, although driving previous you’ll hardly discover it, this boundary line or ragged margin, a shallow swale that cups a easy trickle of water, much less rill than rivulet, extra gully than dell, a tangled ditch grown up all through with a fearsome assortment of wildflowers and bracken. There is no such thing as a fence, although right here and there a weathered submit asserts a former declare, strands of fallen wire taken by the mud. To the left a cornfield carries into the gap, dips and rises to the blue sky, a rolling plain of inexperienced and wholesome vegetation aligned in shut order, row upon row upon row.

A Little Historical past

Prose poetry may be traced again to the haibun, a Japanese type of prose poetry seen in the course of the seventeenth century. Western prose poetry emerged within the early nineteenth century as a insurrection towards conventional poetic constructions. Poets resembling Aloysious Bertrand, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stéphane Mallarmé used prose poetry as a solution to defy the conventions of the day. All through the nineteenth century, poets continued to embrace the shape.

A few of the most well-know poets to jot down in prose embody Hans Christian Andersen, Rainer Maria Rilke, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, H.P. Lovecraft, and Gertrude Stein.

The brand new type carried into the twentieth century, with American poets writing prose poetry within the Fifties and ’60s, together with Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Robert Bly, to call a number of. And Charles Simic gained the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 assortment, The World Doesn’t Finish, which included prose poems.

Nonetheless, prose poetry was not embraced by all. T.S. Eliot opposed prose poetry, arguing that it lacked the rhythm and musical patterns of verse.

Writing Prose Poetry

Why write prose poetry? Why would a poet favor sentences and paragraphs over the standard construction of verses and stanzas?

It is dependent upon the poem and the poet. Your artistic imaginative and prescient for a poem may contain a giant block of textual content that’s dense slightly than the wispier construction of strains and stanzas. Your poem may inform an summary story that you just really feel reads higher in paragraphs versus verse. Paragraphs lead to a distinct circulation than strains and stanzas, and the prose construction may present the reader with a greater really feel for the rhythm of your poem.

Do you ever write prose poetry? Have you ever ever written it? Would you be prepared to experiment with it? Share your ideas by leaving a remark, and preserve writing poetry.


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