Prose poetry

© Dmitri Kotjuh

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Venue: Café Maiasmokk (see on map)
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Original language: Estonian
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As the name suggests, prose poetry is somewhere between two genres, between the precise expression of poetry and the formal freedom of prose. It is not a very old genre – its beginnings are dated to Aloysius Bertrand’s poem “Gaspard de la nuit” from 1842 – but many famous authors have tried their hand at it. In Estonia, the tradition of prose poetry is linked to Juhan Liiv and Friedebert Tuglas. However, the story of prose poetry continues today – perhaps influenced in our age by a pace of life that favours briefer formats. At the same time, prose poetry allows authors to put time-consuming deliberations and contemplative motifs into words. This aim is best represented by Aare Pilv’s (1976) Proustian musings on the relationship between the past and the present. Prose poetry also allows for freedom of expression – in Igor Kotjuh’s (1978) collection of prose poetry Loomulikult eriline lugu (A Naturally Special Story, 2017) texts begin and end as if in mid-sentence, as a part of a greater flow of thoughts. Elo Viiding (1974) takes a hard look at the social standing and meaning of people. Kalju Kruusa (1973), one of our most linguistically-aware authors who gives the everyday a poetic quality, has used the possibilities of prose poetry in his work and expanded its borders. Jan Kaus (1971) has also published several works of prose poetry.

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