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Prose poetry

Parents: prose - poetry

Related: Charles Baudelaire - Le Spleen de Paris (1869)

The key to reading philosophy is to read it as prose poetry. I refer specifically to Gaston Bachelard and Gilles Deleuze, but this applies to most continental philosophy. [Mar 2007]


Prose poetry is prose that breaks some of the normal rules of prose discourse for heightened imagery or emotional effect.

As a specific poetic form, prose poetry originated in the 19th century in France. French prose was governed by laws so strict that by breaking them, it was possible to create prose that was seen to be intended as poetry. Poets such as Aloysius Bertrand, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stephane Mallarmé were among the founders of the form. The form continued to be practiced in France and found profound expression in the prose poems of Francis Ponge in the mid twentieth century.

It used to be said that prose poetry was impossible in English, because the English language was not so strictly governed by rules as the French was. In the twentieth century, when English prose has become more and more governed by the iron laws of Strunk and White, this may no longer be the case. Rapturous, rhythmical, and image-laden prose from previous centuries, such as is found in Jeremy Taylor or Thomas de Quincey, strikes 21st century readers as having something like a poetic quality. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prose_poetry [Jul 2006]

Eliot on prose poetry

T. S. Eliot claimed in his 1917 essay "Reflections on Vers Libre" that so-called "free verse" is a fallacious category—that its apparent divergence from so-called "formal verse" is only an illusion. This simplifying engine, a combiner of binary oppositions, is beautifully applicable to other generic categories—particularly that of the prose poem. Per Eliot’s argument, there’s no such thing as prose poetry, either—as its divergence from verse poetry is discernible only via logic’s via negativa, the description of what it isn’t. The category of prose poem is about as useful a sorting tool as the three races into which humans were divided in 1684 by Francois Bernier. --Sarah Manguso, 2004, The Fallacy of Prose Poetry: an Extension of Eliot’s "Reflections on Vers Libre" via http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5902 [Jul 2006]

Eureka: A Prose Poem (1848) - Edgar Allan Poe

In search of prose poetry.

Eureka: A Prose Poem (1848) - Edgar Allan Poe [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

To the few who love me and whom I love -- to those who feel rather than to those who think -- to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities -- I offer this Book of Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for the Beauty that abounds in its Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone:- let us say as a Romance; or, if I be not urging too lofty a claim, as a Poem. --Poe, 1848 [...]

Eureka, an essay written in 1848, included a cosmological theory that anticipated the Big Bang theory by 80 years, as well as the first plausible solution to Olbers' paradox. Though described as a "prose poem" by Poe, who wished it to be considered as art, this work is a remarkable scientific and mystical essay unlike any of his other works. He wrote that he considered Eureka to be his career masterpiece.

Poe eschewed the scientific method in his Eureka. He argued that he wrote from pure intuition, not the Aristotelian a priori method of axioms and syllogisms, nor the empirical method of modern science set forth by Francis Bacon. For this reason, he considered it a work of art, not science, but insisted that it was still true. Though some of his assertions have later proven to be false (such as his assertion that gravity must be the strongest force--it is actually the weakest), others have been shown to be surprisingly accurate and decades ahead of their time. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Allan_Poe#Physics_and_cosmology [Jul 2006]

"Eureka" is a prose poem by Edgar Allan Poe from (1848) in which he describes his intuitive conception of the universe. It is dedicated to the German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka_%28Edgar_Allan_Poe%29 [Jul 2006]

See also: 1848 - prose poetry - Poe

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