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See also: prose-poem



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prose poem (plural prose poems)

  1. (literature) A literary text written in the manner of prose—without the fixed lines, rhyme, and meter often characteristic of poetry—but nonetheless clearly possessing some of the distinctive attributes of poetry, such as lyrical language, evocation of feeling, vivid imagery, metaphor, and linguistic devices like assonance or alliteration.
    • 1839, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion: A Romance, ch. 3:
      "He is the author of a very wild Mystery, or dramatic prose-poem, in which the Ocean, Mont-Blanc, and the Cathedral of Strassburg have parts to play."
    • 1910, O. Henry, "A Sacrifice Hit" in Whirligigs:
      Slayton made "Love Is All" the effort of his life. . . . It was a pure love-story, fine, elevated, romantic, passionate—a prose poem that set the divine blessing of love (I am transposing from the manuscript) high above all earthly gifts and honours.
    • 1915, John Galsworthy, in Preface to Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest (1904) by W. H. Hudson:
      In form and spirit the book is unique, a simple romantic narrative transmuted by sheer glow of beauty into a prose poem.
    • 2006 May 14, Richard Corliss, "Get Your Motor Running," Time:
      So if you ask Lasseter about car love, you get an impromptu prose poem. "Car love," he says, "is the sound of a throaty V-8 rumbling and revving, the acceleration throwing you back in the seat—especially when you get on a beautiful, winding road and the light's dappling through the trees."

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