n. A prose poem; a work written in prose but incorporating poetic imagery and rhythms.
Other Forms
At a reading last night, one writer called her prose-poems "proems."
—Aaron Jentzen, “At a reading…,” Twitter, January 18, 2013
He read a variety of forms of poetry, including librettos, verse meant to be set to music; sestinas, poems structured with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet; sonnets; villanelles, nineteen-line poems with two rhymes throughout; and, surprisingly, prose poems — what Fort called "proems."
—Dan Kipp, “American Poet Charles Fort Invited to Kenyon for Guest Reading,” The Kenyon Collegian, February 03, 2011
1994 (earliest)
This in turn leads on…to the idea of the pebble which Brathwaite skimmed over the surface of the sea as a boy on Brown's Beach and which ultimately became an important trope in his poetry…The idea is pursued in a proem (i.e., a prose poem, a genre Brathwaite employs a good deal in his most recent work) which explores the idea that sand is the pebble ground down to its nam or spiritual essence.
—Elaine Savory, “Wordsongs & Wordwounds,” World Literature Today, September 22, 1994
There's a much older sense of the word proem that refers to a preface, preamble, or similar work that serves to introduce a piece of writing. That sense has been in the language for about 600 years since its first appearance in The Canterbury Tales (spelled proheme).
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