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This is Frank Hubeny hosting Meeting the Bar. The topic is prose poetry. Samuel Peralta has done this topic before. To see how he viewed it check out: https://dversepoets.com/2014/01/30/form-for-all-prosepoetry/

I asked someone once who studied Literature what prose poetry was. He told me prose poetry didn’t exist. He explained that all good prose was already written poetically and if one really wanted poetry all one had to do was (salt and) pepper it with line breaks.

That answer seemed too simple, but maybe he was right. So, the current challenge is to write no more than three paragraphs, on any topic, that you would consider to be prose poetry or to write a poem explaining why prose poetry doesn’t exist.

I assume, perhaps naively, that a prose poem uses fewer line breaks than one would use in free verse. I assume its content is less like a narrative than flash fiction. I assume it doesn’t rhyme nor does it have a metrical rhythm like formal poetry. A haibun, as a mixture of prose and poetry, could be considered a prose poem.

For an example of prose poetry, Charles Baudelaire’s 19th century work, “Paris Spleen” comes to mind. Here is “Be Drunk”:

Some think Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” is a collection of prose poems. Here is “On Love” read by Dorna Djenab:

For someone more contemporary, here is a performance of Lang Leav’s “Broken Heart”.

Based on these examples I like to think a prose poem is something so well written someone would want to make a YouTube video performing it for its own sake.

In summary, here’s the challenge again: Write a prose poem on any topic of at most three paragraphs. Or, write a poem showing why prose poetry doesn’t exist.

When you have written and posted your poem or prose poem, link it up on Mr Linky. Visit other poets to see how they handled the challenge and comment. Also leave a comment below. Maybe you know other good examples of prose poems to bring to our attention in the comments below.