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A good prose poem is something quite unique and who better to teach its essentials than two of its finest poets – Cassandra Atherton and Paul Hetherington.

Image courtesy of Cath Drake

Hosted by brilliant Australian UK-based poet Cath Drake as part of her poetry masterclass series, Cassandra and Paul shared the main features of a prose poem, what sets it apart from flash fiction and poetic prose, as well as some examples. The class also had chance to draft their own prose poems, which I struggled with as I can’t always write on demand, however it did give me ideas.

I met Cassandra and Paul at a Poetry On The Move Festival in Canberra a few years ago. Their work in this area is extensive and they’ve recently edited The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry published by Melbourne University Press, which I was fortunate enough to be shortlisted for, but my work sadly didn’t make the final cut.

Their energy and enthusiasm for prose poetry is contagious and has spurred me to explore the form further, because I’m intrigued with its dichotomy of being fragmentary and a stand-alone narrative, like a snapshot of some larger work. So my aim is to practice with Cassandra’s advice in mind – a good prose poem should leave you barking like a dog at the moon.

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