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Response & Bio Tom Whalen

Question #8) Chris Arigo on genre designations: “After Modernism literature fractured and pixilated into so many units that the urge to classify is often/usually frustrated. Historically, the prose poem is very young—much in the same way the novel is. As a result, the most radical pressure put on the genre has occurred fairly recently. These radical shifts require our scrutiny, not necessarily our classifying them.”

Yes, the prose poem is too slippery to be regulated, which is one of the things I like about it. Three decades ago, poets used to visit my classes and call the prose poem a malignancy on the body of literature. I hope that time has passed. ”


Tom Whalen's prose poems have appeared in the anthologies The Party Train, The Anatomy of Water, The Best of the Prose Poem, and Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, and in numerous journals. He lives in Stuttgart, Germany.