‘All the trees in my heart’

A literary form at the helm of innovation
by
May 2021, no. 431
Buy this book

Prose Poetry: An introduction by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton

Princeton University Press, $135 hb, 354 pp

‘All the trees in my heart’

A literary form at the helm of innovation
by
May 2021, no. 431

It speaks volumes that almost a century and a half after Baudelaire’s Paris Spleen announced the modern prose poem, James Longenbach influentially defined poetry as ‘the sound of language organized in lines’. An otherness, bordering on illegitimacy, pervades what Cassandra Atherton and Paul Hetherington argue is ‘the most important new poetic form to emerge in English-language poetry since the advent of free verse’. The book vindicates this claim. No less compelling, however, is the way the prose poem, long defined in negative terms, here becomes the whetstone over which old assumptions – about the prosaic, the poetic, and the daylight between the two – are run to a fresh sharpness.

Anders Villani reviews 'Prose Poetry: An introduction' by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton

Prose Poetry: An introduction

by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton

Princeton University Press, $135 hb, 354 pp

Buy this book

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