‘Unconscionable Mystification’?: Rooms, Spaces and the Prose Poem

Paul HETHERINGTON, Cassandra Atherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the 19th century, when a number of French writers – most conspicuously Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud – introduced what we may think of as the modern prose poem into European literature, prose poetry has been part of a debate about the contemporary usefulness of existing literary modes and genres. While early French practitioners partly used the form to problematize traditional poetic prosody, once this aim was achieved prose poetry remained a significant contemporary literary form. In the context of contemporary developments in prose poetry, this article discusses John Frow’s observations that texts are able to perform or modify a genre, or only partly fulfil generic expectations, or be comprised of more than one genre. It also discusses the authors’ Rooms and Spaces project, which explores ways in which prose poetry may be considered ‘poetic’; how it may be room-like and condensed; or open and highly suggestive (sometimes both at once); and how prose poetry is intertextual and polysemous. Prose poetry may be generically problematic but the authors suggest that this may make it an exemplary post-postmodern form; and that reading prose poetry may provide significant insights into how unstable genre boundaries really are.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-281
Number of pages17
JournalNew Writing
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Mystification
Prose Poem
Prose Poetry
Poetics
Intertextual
Prosody
European Literatures
French Writer
Charles Baudelaire
Literary Forms
Usefulness

Cite this

HETHERINGTON, Paul ; Atherton, Cassandra. / ‘Unconscionable Mystification’?: Rooms, Spaces and the Prose Poem. In: New Writing. 2015 ; Vol. 12, No. 3. pp. 265-281.
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‘Unconscionable Mystification’?: Rooms, Spaces and the Prose Poem. / HETHERINGTON, Paul; Atherton, Cassandra.

In: New Writing, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2015, p. 265-281.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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