Friday, February 13, 2009

Ghosts of Breath

Bedouin Books in Portland, Oregon, has accepted a chapbook of my prose poems to be called Ghosts of Breath. It's divided into two parts, each bracketed by short pieces of free verse, which serve as prefaces and epilogues. The first section consists of the series "Ghosts of Breath," which appeared, in somewhat different form, in Bartleby Snopes. The second section consists of new and selected prose poems, most of which have a surreal vibe.

I began writing prose poems in college, probably with Robert Bly's collection Morning Glory as my model, though I'd also read by then Rimbaud and Baudelaire, who, together, invented or perfected the form. I suppose I eventually abandoned it because there was not outlet for them that I could see. It wasn't until recently -- the past two years -- that I returned to the form. I might enjoy working in it above all other forms. It requires the conciseness or compression of poetry, but it also offers the narrative latitude of prose. It's like aiming a fire hose through a pin hole.

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