proem
n. A prose poem; a work written in prose but incorporating poetic imagery and rhythms. [Prose + poem.]
proet n.

Example Citations:
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 3, 2011

At a reading last night, one writer called her prose-poems "proems."
—Aaron Jentzen, "At a reading...," Twitter, January 18, 2013

Earliest Citation:
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

Notes:
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).

Related Words:

Category: