Cassandra Atherton is an award-winning writer, academic and critic. She is a Harvard Visiting Scholar in English in 2016. Her recent books of prose poetry include, Exhumed (Grand Parade Poets, 2015) and Trace, with illustrations by Phil Day (Finlay Lloyd, 2015). She is the recipient of a VicArts grant to collaborate on a prose poetry graphic novel and is the poetry editor of Westerly.

Owen Bullock has published three collections of haiku; his fourth will appear later this year. He is a former editor of Kokako, New Zealand’s only specialist haiku journal, and was one of the editors who produced Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, Vol IV. Owen won the Canberra Critics’ Circle Award for Poetry 2015 and is a PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Canberra.

Jen Crawford’s recent poetry publications are Koel (Cordite Books) and the chapbook lichen loves stone (Tinfish Press). She teaches poetry and creative writing within the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra, and has also taught in Singapore and Aotearoa/New Zealand. She grew up in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Philippines and holds a PhD from the University of Wollongong.

Paul Munden is Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Poetry and Creative Practice) at the University of Canberra, and Program Manager for IPSI. The UK publisher Smith|Doorstop has published his book Asterisk, a sequence relating to Shandy Hall, the former home of Laurence Sterne, in North Yorkshire, with photographs by Marion Frith (2011), and Analogue/Digital, New & Selected Poems (2015).

Shane Strange lives in Canberra. His writing has appeared in various print and online journals, including Overland, Griffith Review, Burley, Verity La, foam:e and Cordite. He is currently studying at the University of Canberra, where he also tutors and lectures in Creative Writing.

Jen Webb is Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice at the University of Canberra, and Director of the CCCR. Her recent work includes Researching Creative Writing (Frontinus, 2015), Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts (with Caroline Turner; Manchester UP, 2016), and poetry volumes Watching the World (with Paul Hetherington; Blemish Books, 2015) and Stolen Stories, Borrowed Lines (Mark Time, 2015). She is also lead investigator on two Australian Research Council Discovery projects.

The Prose Poetry Project

The Prose Poetry Project was created by the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) in November 2014, with the aim of collaboratively exploring the form and composition of prose poetry. The ongoing project aims to produce both creative and research outcomes stemming from the resurgence of interest in the prose poem. It was initiated as a simple email exchange of prose poems between three founding members, with additional poets invited to join over the following months. There were no stipulations except that everyone was expected to write at least three prose poems within the year. At no stage was a definition of prose poetry imposed, or even suggested, despite the fact that some members of the group had never written prose poetry before. Through the process of making and sharing, however, various models emerged.

The project was first showcased and discussed at an event within the Poetry on the Move festival in Canberra, 7 September 2015. At that stage, ten months from its inception, the project had accumulated over 600 poems. It ranged across four universities, two countries and eighteen poets (three of whom had yet to contribute). Six of those poets spoke at the event about the influence of the project on their personal practice, encouraged to do so in whatever manner they considered appropriate. Their various reflections, here collated, include: the challenges and delights of working within a form where all rules are suspended; the (questionable) distinction between the prose poem and flash fiction; the relationship with haibun; the nature of endings and a poem’s limits; and the way in which prose poems may elude some readers’ resistance to poetry in its more recognisable guise. In all these considerations, there is recognition of the benefits of working within a group, and of collaborative, creative play.