Advertisement

Questioning the Prose Poem: Thoughts on Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns

  • Alan Wall
Chapter

Abstract

Roman Jakobson describes the poetic function as being peculiarly self-focused. Poetry is uniquely bent upon investigating its own potency as language. So what of the prose poem, a form that stands seemingly midway between poetry and prose? Does it still perform Jakobson’s poetic function, or does it edge closer to prose? This essay questions the prose poem through examples of prose that could be deemed as prose poetry, but the author examines why and why not. The thirty short sections of Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns constantly exhibit linguistic intensity and rhythmic potency, but no rhyme. They focus the question of the prose poem at its most problematic and, again, this essay asks why.

Works Cited

  1. Dickens, Charles. Bleak House, Project Gutenberg eBook. https://archive.org/stream/bleakhouse01023gut/1023.txt.
  2. Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  3. Hemingway, Ernest. The Collected Stories. Edited by James Fenton. London: Everyman’s Library, 1995.Google Scholar
  4. Hill, Geoffrey, and Mercian Hymns. Interviewed. In Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation, edited by John Haffenden. London: Faber and Faber, 1981.Google Scholar
  5. ———. In Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952–2012, edited by Kenneth Haynes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.Google Scholar
  6. Medawar, Peter, and Jean Medawar. Aristotle to Zoos. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.Google Scholar
  7. Ondaatje, Michael. Coming Through Slaughter. London: Bloomsbury, 1976.Google Scholar
  8. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, 1602. Act V, Scene 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Wall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ChesterChesterUK

Personalised recommendations