Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 23 (Stephen Fredman)


Poet's Prose
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Fredman, Stephen
Poet's Prose


Purchased at Talking Leaves...Books for a course in graduate school.

I remember seeing Stephen Fredman give a talk at the "Poetry of the 40's" conference in Orono, ME in 2004. I think he gave one of the first talks of the weekend. He began by exhorting his colleagues at the conference to not READ their papers, but rather to speak extemporaneously from their notes in order to give the conversations going on a more, well, conversational feel. He was essentially saying, hey, just because this is an academic conference doesn't mean we aren't performing and it is no excuse to give dull presentations. He gave it a pretty good go himself, but, sadly, few others heeded his advice.

from Poet's Prose

This book is an attempt to elucidate a type of writing, poet's prose, that, for various reasons, has thus far escaped attention in English. IN speaking of a relatively non-generic form, one cannot rely upon accumulated critical assumptions; thus I take a variety of vantage points in discussing the subject. The term "poet's prose" is a response to the terminological nightmare surrounding nonversified poetry. The more common "prose poem" is unsatisfactory for two reasons: It is an oxymoron aimed at defamiliarizing lyric poetry, and it remains redolent with the atmospheric sentiment of French Symbolism. "Poet's prose" escapes the oxymoron and is proposed as a more encompassing term to cover all (not only lyric) poetry written in sentences and without versification. The term is descriptive instead of normative; it applies to works that are conceived of and read as extensions of poetry rather than as contributions to one of the existing prose genres.

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