Formless form, or the return of form?: Prose poetry in practice and theory


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Any study of prose poetry almost inevitably invokes the problem of genre. That is, generic uncertainty will always be of interest in a form that crosses a supposed boundary between prose and poetry and brings into play attempts at sharp demarcations and taxonomies with the aim of marking out territories of the poetic and the prosaic (and all stops between). In this paper, I would like to suggest that discussions of form in relation to prose poetry are symptomatic of larger struggles around form that have taken place at the level of critical practice. To do this, I suggest rather than a return of the prose poem form taken from a retro-fitting of poetic literary history, we might see the prose poem as a convergence with very short forms of prose fiction, and to look at the varying ways that these forms have been specified in their traditions. Secondly, I will look at the rise of ‘new formalism’ as a way of contextualising the critical background around which these arguments might be seen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalTEXT: Journal of Writing and Writing Programs
VolumeSpecial Issue 46
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


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