By Margueritte S. Murphy
From its inception in nineteenth-century France, the prose poem has embraced a classy of outrage and innovation instead of culture and conference. during this suggestive research, Margueritte S. Murphy either explores the background of this style in Anglo-American literature and offers a version for studying the prose poem, without reference to language or nationwide literature. Murphy argues that the prose poem is an inherently subversive style, one who needs to without end undermine prosaic conventions in an effort to validate itself as authentically "other". even as, every one prose poem needs to to some extent recommend a standard prose style in an effort to subvert it effectively. The prose poem is hence of particular curiosity as a style within which the normal and the hot are introduced necessarily and continuously into clash.
Beginning with a dialogue of the French prose poem and its adoption in England via the Decadents, Murphy examines the results of this organization on later poets equivalent to T.S. Eliot. She additionally explores the conception 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 soft Buttons, and John Ashbery's 3 Poems. As awesome examples of the yankee prose poem, those works exhibit the variety of this genre's radical and experimental percentages.
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Extra info for A tradition of subversion: the prose poem in English from Wilde to Ashbery
5 What happened, then, to the prose poem when it traveled across the English Channel, and across the Atlantic toward the end of the century? Did it retain its subversive character, and if so, what were its objects? And did it attain any discursive power? There was a certain vogue for the genre during the fin de siècle, but it fell out of fashion not long after it appeared, only to resurface in the second decade of the next century. Yet the prose poem did not flourish at this time either; only in the United States in the 1960s do we find extensive use of the genre by poets writing in English.
Thereit was there before that prie-Dieu that he knelt, my great-grandfather the counsellor, pressing to his beard that yellow missal, opened at the place marked by the ribbon. " Bertrand's vocabulary is often so particular, here concerning religious objects, that such fastidious rendering of Page 20 French into English is warranted. Yet the effect is that of undisguised translation from the French. Merrill's decision to retain some terms in their original French, "prie-Dieu" and "camail," further enunciates the foreignness of this text.
One would have thought it must fall out in just the other way: that the poet, having all the liberties of prose in his right, could not fail to explain and expound himself, and to make the application. But no; he fashions his pretty fancy on his lovely inspiration; sets it well on the ground, poises it, goes and leaves it. 14 Resisting the easy moral is part of the prose poem's inevitable process of differentiation; its uniqueness resides in known paths not taken. And, in figurative terms, these poems rely on synecdoche, rather than direct mimesis: they are, by their very nature, pieces for a whole, which is often declared "ineffable," a deviation from the tradition of realist fiction.