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      The Prose Poem As a (Non)Genre : A Polish Case Study 


      Peter Lang

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          This overview of Polish prose poems inclines one to the conclude that this convention hides an enormous potential of unexhausted forms of expression, which make possible the renewal of contemporary poetry. This is true. However, though some of the most distinguished writers reached for this genre, and their creative adaptations were able to give it such various and individualized shapes, it never became popular. It is difficult to overlook this situation, and it can only partially be explained as a somewhat obvious context for a form so distinct and recherché. Nonetheless, something else makes one uneasy: as a form that was taken up by authors only occasionally, or on the margins of their proper creative work, it sometimes was, and still is, often unnoticed by critics and literary-scholars. More than once, works in which scholars of the prose poem discern, without difficulty, a realization of this genre, are invoked and analysed by commentators of the oeuvre of a given author outside of their genre context, as if their form were something transparent or inessential. It also happens sometimes that it is recognized in an infelicitous manner. Hence, the multitude of adventitious names, created ad hoc and as it were gropingly; hence, the unprecedented terminological chaos; hence – as a result of the faint consciousness of this form – its ever weakening lineage.

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