Forms of the Prose Poem

July 2015


Live a lineless life…

According to Kevin Prufer, there are two ways to think of the prose poem—as a poem without lines, or as a poem with one long line. In this course, we’ll investigate what that idea entails, as well as what the term “prose poem” even means—how it differs from flash prose, and what forms it can take (the narrative, the lyric, the column, the poem of accumulation).

We’ll also think about how traditional poetic techniques (image, figurative language, and more) operate in the space of the prose poem. Over the month we will examine a wide range of work, from canonical poems like Carolyn Forche’s “The Colonel” to new, contemporary work from a wide range of voices. If you’ve ever been interested in the prose poem, or confused by the prose poem, or you’ve never heard of the prose poem but your interest is piqued now, this is the space for you!

 About the Instructor

Justin Carter is a PhD student at the University of North Texas. The co-editor of Banango Street & assistant poetry editor of American Literary Review, he holds a B.A. from the University of Houston & an MFA from Bowling Green State University. His work appears in Booth, The Collagist, cream city review, The Journal, Ninth Letter, Passages North, & Sonora Review, where he was awarded the 2015 Sonora Review Poetry Prize. He lives in Denton, TX.

This course will “meet” throughout the month of June. You will have continuous access to a shared, secure course space throughout the span of the workshop, and will receive a set of exercises, examples, and prompts at the start of each week.

At the end of each week you’ll have the opportunity to turn in 2-3 prose poems for formal feedback from your workshop leader, who will give you editorial comments as well as suggestions for expansion in your reading and craft. You’ll also be able to ask questions in the course space, including in an “office hours” forum.

Go at your own pace, but generate as much as you can, and you are encouraged to post your results, marathon-style, to the class space, and to comment on your fellows’ work.

Apiary’s workshops are designed to provide both one-on-one instructor feedback and guidance, and a learning environment and supportive community to share in with your peers.

What you can expect

  • a password-protected space in which to share work with your workshop leader and peers
  • 4 rounds of feedback and instructive support with your workshop leader (up to 2-3 pieces each week, suggested readings); and encouragement of peer feedback
  • “office hours” in the form of private messaging and forum responses
  • focused attention to the development and exploration of your own craft and language. This is about your work, and where you want to go.
  • a supportive environment for your writing, always.

Forms of the Prose Poem
four weeks
Image credit: See-ming Lee