Belated recognition of Australian prose poetry

by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton
October 2020, no. 425

Belated recognition of Australian prose poetry

by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton
October 2020, no. 425

Until recently, Australian prose poetry hasn’t attracted much attention – we’re not sure why. Having written prose poetry for years, we’re both fascinated by the form, which can be loosely defined as poems written in paragraphs and sentences rather than in stanzas and lines.

Getting a handle on the larger tradition of Australian prose poetry is not easy. Many prose poems are buried in out-of-print books or lurk in slim volumes mainly comprising more traditional poetry. The many anthologies of Australian poetry published in recent decades have mostly included few prose poems. It was as if prose poetry had not been fully accepted as a legitimate part of the Australian poetry landscape.

This mattered to us: as prose poets, we felt we were working in the shadows, if not in the dark. Like many other exponents of the genre, we had a limited sense of the Australian prose poetry tradition.

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