The fallacy of prose poetry

from “The Fallacy of Prose Poetry: an Extension of Eliot’s ‘Reflections on Vers Libre'” by Sara Manguso:

Prose poetry—whatever it is, and however we define it, is fashionable. Anthologies of prose poetry have been coming out of this country’s woodwork at a moderate rate for the past quarter-century. Yet the genre (form?) eludes the assignment of an industry-standard definition. Russell Edson—who, as many readers of poetry know, by hook or by crook, is a prose poet—balked even at the term “form” in his 1976 Parnassus essay “The Prose Poem in America”: “I hesitate to use the word form when speaking of prose poems, because for all the interesting poets who have written them, the prose poem has yet to yield up a method.” Which immediately recalls Gustave Flaubert’s rule: “To seek to imitate the methods of geniuses is futile. They are geniuses for the very reason that they have no methods.”

A link to the entire article at


~ by samofthetenthousandthings on May 28, 2012.

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