PROSE POETRY: What is it?

Editor's Notes

 An oxymoron.  A hybrid.  Sounds like a poem and feels like a poem, but written in a block without consideration for line breaks.  Or is it the other way around?  Could be shaped. Could be intertextual, political, witty.   Might be rhythmic. Might depend solely on repetition.  Always brief.  Dialogue? Possibly.  Sometimes a companion piece to visual art.  Meaning, isnít anyone going to talk about meaning?  Meaning, disbelief, and rationality should be checked at the door. Also to be checked at the door are the questions "whatís going on here?" and "are you lost or confused?"  Keep reading.  Sounds surreal.  Feels like magical realism.  Originated where?  The folklore of pre-literate cultures. The Bible. The thread taken up by the French in the mid 19th century.  By Baudelaire in what he called "prickings of the unconscious."  By Rimbaud.  Taken up in the 20th Century in Paris by Gertrude S. and Andre B.  Also taken up by Turgeynev, Kafka, Borges, Neruda.  Taken up all over the world.  Taken up by immigrants when they first begin to write in a language not their own.  Taken up by small children when they first learn to speak.  Taken up by James Wright, Bly, Merwin, Russell Edson, Forche, Jamaica Kincaid.  Prose Poetry: What is it?  Read on.

Jana Harris

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