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July 19, 2009


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Hi Richard,

I'm glad you're guest blogging. I think you should organize that festival. It would be great.



Looking forward to a week of your poetic thoughts here on Best American Poetry!


"Sometimes I wish I could see a festival of all these singer-poets. I imagine it under the oaks, on a warm summer night in June, here in Charleston."

Definitely the start of a prose poem, Richard! Bring a little of So. Carolina to L.A the next time you're in town.I'd love to read with a kora playing.

I'm teaching a summer school class called Flash Prose -- prose poem, short short fiction, brief nonfiction -- so your first post was especially interesting to me. My students and I began the summer term trying to draw distinctions between the three genres, which we could do in very broad strokes, especially if we focused our definition of prose poem on its French symbolist/surrealist beginnings and subsequent absurdist/fabulist development. But making distinctions got more difficult when we read more realistic prose poems, less realistic fiction, and more "creative" nonfiction. At this point -- a few days from the end of the term -- we've pretty much abandoned trying to categorize short prose pieces and focus on what makes the pieces effective writing -- the language, music, tension, insight. This is a new course and I wasn't sure how it would work out, but it's been fun and I'm looking forward to teaching it again next summer. By the way, we read a few Ricahrd Garcia prose poems, including "The Moon" and "In the Year 1946."

Willows Wept Review is an online journal that has an interesting take on prose/poem. Their submission page has links to stories that illustrate what they have in mind. Sort of fabulist/lyrical prose.

There is a new prose poem anthology, An Introduction to the Prose Poem- Brian Clements & Jamey Dunham, that has a very wide approach to the genre. There is some good stuff in it, and introductions about each mode of prose poem.


What a good face and fine-tuned mind Kwame Dawes has, and how I would have liked to have heard him read this poem at the Inauguration.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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