'A wonderful book - an invigorating revelation ... An essential collection of prose poems from across the globe, by old masters and new, reveals the form's astonishing range' Kate Kellaway, Observer
The prose poem has proven one of the most innovative and versatile poetic forms of recent years. In the century-and-a-half since Charles Baudelaire, Emma Lazarus, Oscar Wilde and Ivan Turgenev spread the notion of a new kind of poetry, this 'genre with an oxymoron for a name' has attracted and beguiled many of our most beloved writers. Yet it has long remained a hidden territory - and even now, this peculiarly rich and expansive form can strike many contemporary readers as something of a mystery.
Here, Jeremy Noel-Tod reconstructs the history of the prose poem for us by selecting the essential pieces of writing - by turns luminous, brooding, lamentatory and comic - which have defined and developed it at each stage, covering a greater chronological sweep and international range than any previous anthology of its kind. In The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, Margaret Atwood rubs shoulders with Claudia Rankine; Lu Xun and Rabindranath Tagore take seats in the family tree above Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage; and Czeslaw Milosz sits just pages from Eileen Myles.