prose Poem

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A short composition employing the rhythmic cadences and other devices of free verse (such as poetic imagery and figures) but printed wholly or partly in the format of prose, i.e. with a right-hand margin instead of regular line-breaks. This genre emerged in France during the 19th century, notably in Charles Baudelaire's Spleen de Paris (1869) and Arthur Rimbaud's Les Illuminations (1886); a significant English sequence of prose poems is Geoffrey Hill's Mercian Hymns (1971). A prose poem is a self-contained work usually similar to a lyric, whereas poetic prose may occur intermittently within a longer prose work.

Subjects: Literature.

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