An engaging and authoritative introduction to an increasingly important and popular literary genre
Prose Poetry is the first book of its kind—an engaging and authoritative introduction to the history, development, and features of English-language prose poetry, an increasingly important and popular literary form that is still too little understood and appreciated. Poets and scholars Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton introduce prose poetry’s key characteristics, chart its evolution from the nineteenth century to the present, and discuss many historical and contemporary prose poems that both demonstrate their great diversity around the Anglophone world and show why they represent some of today’s most inventive writing.
A prose poem looks like prose but reads like poetry: it lacks the line breaks of other poetic forms but employs poetic techniques, such as internal rhyme, repetition, and compression. Prose Poetry explains how this form opens new spaces for writers to create riveting works that reshape the resources of prose while redefining the poetic. Discussing prose poetry’ s precursors, including William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman, and prose poets such as Charles Simic, Russell Edson, Lydia Davis, and Claudia Rankine, the book pays equal attention to male and female prose poets, documenting women’s essential but frequently unacknowledged contributions to the genre.
Revealing how prose poetry tests boundaries and challenges conventions to open up new imaginative vistas, this is an essential book for all readers, students, teachers, and writers of prose poetry.
Paul Hetherington is professor of writing at the University of Canberra, Australia. A distinguished poet, he is the founder of the International Prose Poetry Group.
Cassandra Atherton is associate professor of writing and literature at Deakin University, Australia. An award-winning prose poet, she established the Stein Award for women prose poets.
“Accessible, engaging, nuanced, and richly informed, this is
the major book on prose poetry of the past decade. No other recent book makes such a powerful case for the prose poem as a clearly defined, strongly developing, and expressively vibrant literary form of our time.”
—Stephanie Green, Griffith University, Australia