Daryl Scroggins

Response & Bio

Question 7. My prose poem hero is __________ because __________

My prose poem hero-

I first encountered Russell Edson's prose poems back in the mid seventies, and they instantly produced in me an urge to rush out and show them to anybody who would stop and look. That urge has persisted, and for years I have enjoyed seeing my own excitement appear in the faces of students in the workshops I teach. I play selections from a tape- A Performance at Hog Theater (Watershed Intermedia)- in which Edson reads his work, and watch the eyebrows go up. A generation has passed since the first time I did this, and the poems still do what they did the first time. Sometimes I let students borrow the tape when they ask - but not my first edition of The Intuitive Journey and Other Works.

Prose poems like "The Neighborhood Dog," "The Little Lady," and "A New Life" showed me, early on, that the imaginative territory open to writers of prose poems was much more vast than I had realized. Edson's work reveals a fluid convergence of voice and character, dream logic and dark comedy - an Edward Gorey working at puppet theater, and more. Edson shaped my sense of what excellent work in very short prose forms can be, and I will always be grateful to him for this.

Question 10. Cultural critic Michael Benedikt suggests that "there is probably a shorter distance from the unconscious to the prose poem, than from the unconscious to most poems in verse." In what ways do you think this is true?

Regarding the Michael Benedikt quote-

Set a verse poem in front of a person, and an intricate set of demands is summoned before the first line is read. Readers brace themselves in a particular way, expecting subtlety from the start. But place a block of prose in front of a reader, and the reading of it starts as one might read a newspaper of cereal box copy. When news gives way to dream logic, the reader's mind is not pre-set against it: there is a flow in which the reader readily confuses a comfortable following of text with a safe passage granted through a difficult territory. And when excitement hits, it rings through the reader's suddenly undefended psyche with a sound that is both familiar and strange - news from a new world that oddly contains one's history.

Question 16. In Adagia, Wallace Stevens writes, "Poetry is a pheasant disappearing in the brush." What is a pp/ff?

Regarding the Wallace Stevens quote-

If poetry, as Wallace Stevens wrote, "is a pheasant disappearing in the brush," a prose poem is the brush acting like a pheasant is hidden in it.


Daryl Scroggins' poems and short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies around the country, including Asylum, Best Texas Writing, Carolina Quarterly, Chiron Review, The Comstock Review, Farmer's Market, 5-Trope, The Madison Review, Mudfish, New Growth: Contemporary Short Stories By Texas Writers, New Growth2, Northern Music: Poems about and Inspired by Glenn Gould, Northwest Review, Pearl, Poetry Now, The Prose Poem, The Quarterly, Quarter After Eight, !TEX! Magazine, Veer, and Web del Sol. The Game of Kings, a book-length prose poem sequence, was published in 2001 by Rancho Loco Press, and Winter Investments, a full-length collection of short stories, will be published this year by The Trilobite Press. Oracle, a chapbook of sudden fictions, was published by The Trilobite Press in November of 2000. He teaches fiction writing at the University of North Texas. (darylscrog@yahoo.com)

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