White Homes Editorial

By | 27 January 2008

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Issue 26.1 of Cordite Poetry Review, the all prose poetry edition. When I started thinking about which writers to include in this issue, I wanted to show the range of styles and approaches within the prose poetry genre.

As an avid reader of contemporary writing, I’ve always been interested by variations on this hybrid form, which can take such unlikely shapes as the dialogue, the parable, the letter, or the speech, even functioning as a collage of images and sounds.

Because the prose poem is such a flexible genre, the possibilities are endless, and I set out to find work that invites readers to question the boundaries between poetry and prose.

While guest editing Cordite Poetry Review, I was honoured to receive submissions from graduates of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop as well as recipients of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, the Walt Whitman Award, the Frank O’Hara Award and the Katherine A. Morton Prize.

More importantly, though, I was excited to include poems that surprised me. Work that expanded my own definition of the prose poem.

In Sarah Manguso’s ‘Hell’, for example, Milton allusions and canopic jars collide head-on with the love lyric, the end result being a piece that’s emotionally engaging yet altogether unexpected. Some pieces included comment on texts by Baudelaire and Artaud, appropriating and revising past prose poems.

In Mary Ann Samyn’s work, even the music of Karen Carpenter interacts in fascinating ways with this constantly shifting form. For the other writers in this issue, the prose poem becomes a vehicle for social criticism, conversations, and environmental history, rounding out a diverse, unpredictable set of writings.

This issue also features innovative work from Richard Siken, Simone Muench, Joshua Clover, Robert Gibbons, Erin M Bertram, Richard Greenfield and Elizabeth Willis, so this instalment of the Cordite Poetry Review is a must-read. I hope that you find poetry in this issue that surprises, challenges, and delights.

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