My various visits to Japan and love of manga, anime and the kawaii aesthetic have influenced the neo-surreal aspects of my prose poetry. This is epitomised in one of my favourite anime, The Cat Returns (猫の恩返し), where the protagonist saves a cat only to find her reward is to be taken to the Cat Kingdom as the bride of the King of Cats. When she enters the kingdom, she begins to transform into a cat and a clever play on anthropomorphism ensues. I have also often been to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo and the giant cat bus from My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) is another example of the neo-surrealistic Japanese sense of wit and whimsy.
This portfolio makes intertextual use of both Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments (1977) and Maggie Nelson’s Bluets (2009) to explore powerful I think of my prose poems as exploring neo-surreal moments. As scholar Andrew Joron points out, the surreal needs redefining in postmodern society because we are so immersed in everyday strangeness that it has become unremarkable. The prose poem form is wonderfully well suited to exploring neo-surrealism in fresh ways. For example, its use of the sentence—which we also use for so many quotidian purposes—rather than the line, has the capacity to heighten a prose poem’s rendering of the extraordinary because
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