Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sonnet 56: Prose Poem

The prose poem is said to have been invented by the French poet Aloysius Bertrand, author of the collection of night songs, Gaspard de la nuit, 1842. The work was popular and influenced Baudelaire to write Paris Spleen, who influenced Rimbaud to write A Season in Hell and Illuminations, who influenced William Carlos Williams to write Kora in Hell. The mode of night meditations / songs, which began with Edward Young, was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. While it appears that Hölderlin, who wrote his own nine "Nacht Gesänge" as early as 1798-1800, also wrote a prose poem, "In lieblicher Bläue," the work is of uncertain origin because copied, according to his friend Waiblinger, from Hölderlin's conversation into a Waiblinger novel.

Sonnet 56: Prose Poem

I said to my love, since Julie is her name, “Let’s make our love even stronger than it is. No one can ever say our love has lost its edge, when just today love’s hunger was sharpened by fucking in the car, once down by the river, under the cottonwood trees, and once behind the cannery, with the smell of fish in our ears. Your eyes were full of me, and I could feel my eyes heavy with your smile. When we’re together, it’s a million starry stars. But when we’re not together, it’s a big bunch of nothing. We stand on opposite banks of the river, wanting to be us again, and when we drown in our love, the world drowns, too. It’s like winter and summer. Summer is warmer.” Julie didn’t say much. She pushed her lips at me. I could feel the heat of her skin from two seconds away.


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