By Steven Monte
Monte illuminates these constraints through an examination of works that have influenced the development of the prose poem as well as through a discussion of genre theory and detailed readings of poems ranging from Charles Baudelaire's "La Solitude" to John Ashbery's "The System." Monte explores the ways in which literary-historical narratives affect interpretation: why, for example, prose poetry tends to be seen as a revolutionary genre and how this perspective influences readings of individual works. The American poets he discusses include Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Carlos Williams, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, and Ashbery; the French poets range from Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stephane Mallarmé to Max Jacob. In exploring prose poetry as a genre, Invisible Fences offers new perspectives not only on modern poetry, but also on genre itself, challenging current theories of genre with a test case that asks for yet eludes definition.