David Lehman demonstrates once again that he has his finger on the pulse of the poetry world with this groundbreaking collection of American prose poems. In his wholly accessible introduction, Lehman explains that a prose poem can make use of all the strategies and tactics of poetry, but works in sentences rather than lines. He also summarizes the prose poems French heritage, the history of the form in the United States, and the salient differences between verse and prose.
Arranged chronologically to enable readers to trace the gradual development of this hybrid genre, the poems anthologized here include selections from such masters of American literature as Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, e.e. cummings, Hart Crane, James Schuyler, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, and Elizabeth Bishop. An inspired mix of contemporary and emerging poets -- Robert Bly, John Ashbery, Charles Simic, Russell Edson, Rosmarie Waldrop, Lyn Hejinian, James Tate, Anne Carson, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Lydia Davis, among them -- are represented with their best work in the field. The prose poem is beginning to enjoy an upswing in popularity. Readers of this indispensable collection will learn why.
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