By Margueritte S. Murphy
From its inception in nineteenth-century France, the prose poem has embraced a classy of concern and innovation instead of culture and conference. during this suggestive learn, Margueritte S. Murphy either explores the historical past of this style in Anglo-American literature and offers a version for studying the prose poem, regardless of language or nationwide literature. Murphy argues that the prose poem is an inherently subversive style, person who needs to forever undermine prosaic conventions on the way to validate itself as authentically "other". whilst, each one prose poem needs to to a point recommend a conventional prose style with a purpose to subvert it effectively. The prose poem is therefore of unique curiosity as a style within which the normal and the recent are introduced necessarily and continuously into clash.
Beginning with a dialogue of the French prose poem and its adoption in England by way of the Decadents, Murphy examines the consequences of this organization on later poets similar to T.S. Eliot. She additionally explores the notion of the prose poem as an androgynous style. Then, with a sensitivity to the sociopolitical nature of language, she attracts at the paintings of Mikhail Bakhtin to light up the ideology of the style and discover its subversive nature. the majority of the publication is dedicated to insightful readings of William Carlos Williams's Kora in Hell, Gertrude Stein's gentle Buttons, and John Ashbery's 3 Poems. As striking examples of the yank prose poem, those works exhibit the diversity of this genre's radical and experimental probabilities.
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Additional info for A tradition of subversion: the prose poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery
The point, rather, to Merrill's alliterative title for his anthology is to suggest suggestion, the ill-defined edges of a pastel, the light touch, impressions rendered by semantic imprecision. W. D. Howells, who, as the author of the introduction, becomes the anthology's first critic, admires "the beautiful reticence" of these prose poems, "as if the very freedom which the poets had found in their emancipation from the artificial trammels of verse had put them on their honor, as it were, and bound them to brevity, to simplicity," and to the resistance to a final moral.
2 While Pater recognizes that prose and verse have different potentials for expression, he argues for an evaluation of prose according to certain "poetic" norms, treating prose as "a fine art" like verse. Wordsworth's aimto promote the prosaic in poetrymay seem to oppose Pater's, to appreciate the "poetry" in prose, yet both clearly exemplify the continued reevaluation of the nature of poetry and the poetic in the nineteenth century. With aestheticism in the 1880s, this blurring of generic distinctions coincides with the reappraisal of what art is in itself, indeed the assertion that life can be art just as the prosaic may exist in verse, and the poetic in prose.
In other words, Howells describes the prose poem here as a genre of fragments, which resist Page 16 the definitive closure, didacticism, and unambiguous moralism of a fable or parable, a mark of the poets' good manners and "most courageous faith in art": What struck me most was that apparently none of them had abused his opportunity to saddle his reader with a moral. He had expressed his idea, his emotion, and then left it to take its chance, in a way very uncommon in English verse, at least, and equalled only, so far as I know, in some of the subtile felicities of Heinrich Heine.
A tradition of subversion: the prose poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery by Margueritte S. Murphy