The prose poem has proven one of the most innovative and versatile poetic forms of recent years. In the century-and-a-half since Charles Baudelaire, Emma Lazarus, Oscar Wilde and Ivan Turgenev spread the notion of a new kind of poetry, this 'genre with an oxymoron for a name' has attracted and beguiled many of our most beloved writers. Yet, even now, this peculiarly rich and expansive form can strike many readers as something of a mystery.
Here, Jeremy Noel-Tod reconstructs the history of the prose poem for us by selecting the essential pieces of writing - by turns luminous, brooding, lamentatory and comic - which have defined and developed it at each stage, covering a greater chronological sweep and international range than any previous anthology of this kind.
Jeremy Noel-Tod is a lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. His literary criticism has been widely published, in the Daily Telegraph, the Literary Review, the Times Literary Supplement, Prospect, the New Statesman, the Guardianand the London Review of Books, and he has been the poetry critic for the Sunday Times since 2013. His books as an editor include the revised edition of the Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry (2013) and the Complete Poems of R. F. Langley (Carcanet, 2015).
In The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem , Margaret Atwood rubs shoulders with Claudia Rankine; Lu Xun and Rabindranath Tagore take seats in the family tree above Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage; and Czeslaw Milosz sits just pages from Eileen Myles.
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