Life, Death and the Prose Poem

  • Michael RosenEmail author


This essay outlines some of the experiences, processes and influences (literary and personal), behind the writing of my prose poems for adults and children. The main focus is on what it was about the form and reading Raymond Carver that enabled me to write about my son’s death in a way I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do otherwise. Carver released a useful rationale; I then took his speech-based, free-verse style further towards prose: paragraphs—brief narratives unrestricted by regular rhythm or rhyme. Paragraphs enabled compressed stories that lent themselves to defamiliarisation; subsequently, prose poetry provided a useful, often surreal-based detachment and disguise for performance and publication. This was a form I could use fluently on paper or screen and artfully across age, context and subject matter.

Works Cited

  1. Carver, Raymond. All of Us: Collected Poems. London: Harvill, 1997.Google Scholar
  2. Rosen, Michael. Carrying the Elephant. London: Penguin, 2002.Google Scholar
  3. ———. This Is Not My Nose: A Memoir of Illness and Recovery. London: Penguin, 2004.Google Scholar
  4. ———. In the Colonie: A Memoir of Separation and Belonging. London: Penguin, 2005.Google Scholar
  5. ———. Selected Poems. London: Penguin, 2007.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Goldsmiths, University of LondonLondonUK

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