Singing the quotidian: the lyric voice and contemporary American prose poetry by women

Paul Hetherington, Cassandra Atherton

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The ‘lyric’ is a celebrated mode of expression and a catch-all term used to describe a great deal of admired poetry, including ancient works, Romantic poetry and contemporary poetry. However, no-one agrees on exactly how ‘the lyric’ might be defined or how the lyric ‘I’ might be understood – some see this as an autobiographical ‘I’ and others interpret it as a persona enabling lyric poets to activate language in particular ways. Furthermore, although the term lyric has been applied to short forms of poetry, it has much less often been applied to prose poetry. Yet prose poetry, which often invokes the quotidian, is frequently lyrical and often employs the lyric ‘I’. Importantly, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, prose poetry written by American women has found new and experimental ways to position the lyric ‘I’ and, in doing so, much of it transgresses conventional lyric boundaries in order to re-assess and critique the experiences of women. Khadijah Queen’s book, I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men and What I Had On provides a powerful example as it makes use of a compelling lyric voice that comments on the everyday experiences of women as they are objectified in contemporary society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-399
Number of pages14
JournalNew Writing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021


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