Question #6 [Response from Jean-Michel Maulpoix]:“I think poems in prose cause poetry to flatten out in away. A poem in verse is a standing text whose “posture” on the page is noticeable; a prose poem tends to melt into the indifference of the page. It doesn’t sing in the same way. To all appearances, there’s nothing noteworthy about it. Still, it’s been finely wrought and stretched. It’s prose that stretches out towards poetry. It watches it, it observes it. It seeks it out. It examines it.”.
Jennifer K Dick's response:
What’s exciting in a poem in prose is that the page does not announce the sort of sounds that are about to leap forth from the text. A prose poem can rush, gurgle, yelp, squeal, moan, whisper—it is anything but flat! I think in sound, in attention to the sense of snippit snatched from the dark, it separates itself from a sense of prose stretched towards poetry (as it certainly could be equally seen as the reverse). It functions differently than both in certain author’s work, and could easily be classified as either for others. For someone like myself who has always been excited by visual use of the page and how that can mean (aurally as well as to the eye) I think the prose poem offers us new spaces for exploration. Thus far, it’s stark, box-like visuality has been explored as variable in width (wall to wall margins, justified vs loose right hand margin, etc.), size (length—small box on a single page—a window--versus an entire book length “prose poem—a wall!), and even the displacements of prose poems in a series have been explored as attentive to visuality, making us move through what is essentially a prose book in a gallery sort of way, constantly displacing us—as recently in France in Heliotrope (POL) by Ryoko Segeiguchi whose displacement of the prose squares and rectangles over the pages is in helices, for example, our eye moving up and down and around the pages as we stroll through the book.
Jennifer K Dick, author of Fluorescence (Univ of Georgia Press) and art chapbook Retina/Rétine (Esteppa Editions, Paris, with Kate Van Houten, tr Rémi Bouthonnier). Jennifer is a PhD candidate at Paris III on visual poetics, teaches at ENSAE and Polytechnique and co-curates IVY Writers Paris (lecture series). Recent work appears in Pool, American Letters & Commentary, Gargoyle and Cutbank 65 as well as online at Pinstripefedora.