Recent thinking on prose poetry has lead me to works in prose that might conveniently be thought of as poetry. An obvious candidate is Dylan Thomas’s Under Milkwood which I first heard on the radio many years ago, read with the wonderful lilting Welsh accent of Richard Burton. Dylan Thomas was a poet who also wrote plays; not a playwright who also wrote poetry. A less obvious choice, is Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. I claim it for poetry firstly for its symbolism: Trofimov the student tells Anya: ‘Your grandfather…and all your ancestors…owned human souls. Don’t you see that cherry tree in the orchard, from every leaf and every trunk men and women are gazing at you?’ Secondly, I claim it on the grounds of the way Chekhov structured it, beautifully juxtaposing scene upon scene. Finally, I claim it because, like PeerGynt’s onion, it is mainly layered and, like a good poem, it demands revisiting.
So if chiefbiscuit thinks her excellent ‘She’ll be Right’ is a prose poem that’s fine by me. After all I’m still subscribing to John Carey’s definition of art i.e. if just one person thinks it’s art then it is. ‘She’ll be Right’ is a prose poem but my ‘Coming Home’ is just a little packet of prose.