The Prose Poem
The poems are the anecdotes.
However. . . from a brief essay by poet William Matthews, responding to comments by a more traditional writer:
" ' Lack of a firm sense of the line is a handicap,' writes John Haines and asks, 'Is this why the prose poem is so much in evidence these days? There you don't have to justify the line, just make the paragraph and let it go."
"Haines uses 'justify' not in its typesetter's meaning, but in the religious meaning; writers of prose poems are like lilies of the field.
"I imagine one is drawn to write prose poems not by sloth, which is better purely practiced in hammocks, but by an urge to participate in a different kind of psychic energy than verse usually embodies."
From Russell Edson's much-cited essay "Portrait of the Writer as a Fat Man":
". . . A poetry freed from the definition of poetry, and a prose free of the necessities of fiction. . ."
". . . A prose that is a cast-iron aeroplane that can actually fly, mainly because the pilot doesn't seem to care if it does or not. Nevertheless, this heavier-than-air prose monstrosity, this cast-iron toy will be seen to be floating over the trees."
"A good prose poem is a statement that seeks sanity whilst it's author teeters on the edge of the abyss. The language will be simple, the images so direct, that oftentimes the reader will be torn with recognitions inside himself long before he is conscious of what is happening to him."
"Regular poetry, even when it is quite empty of content, the deep psychic material, can manage with its ornaments of song and shape to be dimensional. . ."
"What makes us so fond of (the prose poem) is its clumsiness, its lack of expectation or ambition....Prose poems cannot be perfected, they are not literary constructions...prose poems have no place to go. Abundance and spontaneity; spontaneous abundance in imitation of the joy and energy of general creation and substance."