What is Prose Poetry?

What is Prose Poetry?

Prose Poetry is not poetry, at all. It remains prosaic by its lack of verse, though may be a more artistic, creatively written prose. Poetry lives in the land of verse, and verse[1] requires more than arbitrarily inserted line breaks. Prosists seek, by name alone, ascent to the more regal esteem in which poetry has for millennia been held. This is a usurpation and a stolen valor.

Let prose be prosaic.

Let poetry be verse.

Let the writer’s axe of art be swung, and the chips fall where they may.

Paul Guernsey, The Guern © 2020


[1] verse A metrical composition. The word verse is traditionally thought to derive from the Latin versus, meaning a “line,” “row,” or “furrow.” The metaphor of “plough” for “write” thus dates to antiquity. Verse is metrical writing. The poet disturbs language, arranging words into lines, into rows, turning them over, turning them toward each other, shaping them into patterns, Metrical writing is a way of charging sound, of energizing syllables and marking words, of rhythmically marking time. Such formal writing is markedly and perhaps even metaphysically different from prose. …The term verse is also used to refer to a single line of poetry, or to a single stanza, especially of a hymn or song. – Edward HirschA Poet’s Glossary