Prose Poetry

What is Prose Poetry?

History of Prose Poetry

Prose Poem Poets

Prose Poetry Examples

Other Links

Bibliography




What is Prose Poetry?


Prose poetry is poetry written as prose, in other words it is a hybrid form combining poetry and prose. The poem has all of the essential elements of traditional poetry written in verse. It has rhythm, rhyme, repetition, assonance, consonance, and imagery.The imagery can be so startling as to be surrealistic in nature.

To learn more about Prose Poetry and Prose Poems, click on the above section titles.


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History of Prose Poetry


Prose poetry dates back to the ancient writings of Hebrew scholars. It was used in the King James version of the Bible in the Book of Psalms. However, it was not recognized as a minor genre until after Aloysius Bertrand published Gespard de la nuit in 1842. This collection of fantasies written in rhythmical and flowery language is believed to have had a distinct influence on later poets. In 1869, Charles Baudelaire published Petis poemes en prose.The poetry was alive with vivid, almost surreal images. Some of the imagery ran to the grotesque.

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Prose Poem Poets


Aloysius Bertrand was the first poet of noted record to use the prosepoetry form. His writing was to influence many poets. In mid-nineteenth century France, Charles Baudelaire published Petis poemes en prose. Other writers such as Rimbaud and Oscar Wilde, Amy Lowell and T.S. Eliot tried writing in the genre. It also appears that Virginia Woolf in at least one of her novels used the form as did Gertrude Stien in Tender Buttons. The genre which began in France reached around the world to include poets from South America such as Pablo Neruda and Borges, from Russia, the poet, Turgeynev, Italy has Marinetti, and Denmark, J.B. Jacobsen. The genre has proved equally vigorious in North America with poets like Whitman, Robert Bly, W.S. Merwin, Russell Edson and language poet Charles Bernstein. Lately Peter Redgrove and David Wevill have used the hybrid form to express metaphor which is not accessible through the more restrictive conventions of verse. An excellent example, is a long work written in 1988 by Heathcote Williams calledWhale Nation which is a celebration of whale life.

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Prose Poem Examples


The following are only a couple of examples of Prose Poetry. More examples can be found by clicking on Other Examples

Psalm 93


The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty;the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, Oh Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever.

The Port


A Port is a delightful place of rest for a soul weary of life's battles. The vastness of the sky, the mobile architecture of the clouds, the changing coloration of the sea, the twinkling of the lights, are a prism marvellously fit to amuse the eyes without ever tiring them. The slender shapes of the ships with their complicated rigging, to which the surge lends harmonious oscillations, serve to sustain within the soul the taste for rhythm and beauty. Also, and above all, for the man who of mysterious and aristocratic pleasure in contemplating, while lying on the belvedere or resting his elbows on the jetty-head, all these movements of men who are leaving and men who are returning, of those who still have the strength to will, the desire to travel or to enrich themselves.

--Charles Baudelaire--

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Other Links


There are a number of poetry sites on the Internet. Some of these offer other examples of prose poetry while others only display the verse works of the poet. I have tried to locate the sites that contain Prose Poetry. The sites I have chosen are the ones I felt reflected an insight to the energy and beauty of prose poetry. Prose Poetry expresses experiences that enrich the soul.I hope you enjoy the experience.

Pable Neruda

Charles Baudelaire

Robert Bly

Antonio Machado

These are only a few of the poetry sites located on the Web.

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Bibliography


Baudelaire, Charles. Twenty Prose Poems.City Lights Books. 1988
Cudden,J.A.The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary History.Penguin Books.1991
Preminge, Alex & Brogan T.V.F. Editors. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.Princeton University Press. 1993
The Holy Bible. King James Version.Oxford University Press

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Page created by: pprater@ix.netcom.com
Changes last made on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 revised