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ARC PROSE POEM ANTHOLOGY 2021, A Narrative Neo- surrealist Prose Poem by David Thane Cornell

Updated: May 21


IT STINKS TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL of Napoleon's bathroom. I was on assignment, researching my doctoral dissertation on the existential psychotherapy of alienated persons. This was an important case study. Napoleon had stolen the Mona Lisa and hung her portrait over his bathtub. His daily ablutions made her wink, like counter transference between therapist and patient. This became central to my thesis and you may now call me Doctor Fly, even though Sigmund Freud pointed out there were too many holes in my theory about an art thief.



David Thane Cornell



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BIOGRAPHY : David Thane Cornell is an American poet, poetry editor, journalist and Salvation Army relief worker.


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Analysis of the prose poem " It stinks to be a fly on the wall " done by Dr pragya suman



Prose poems are gaining wider acclaim in this postmodern era. Emphasis on fragmentation and deconstruction has been done especially after the second world war. World was in a cauldron of turmoil after world wars, it drove artists to the inner world to make them relax. The complexities of the human mind were explored by segmund freud and also became an important literary tool by surrealists.

Existential therapy was developed out of the philosophies of Friedrick Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.They talked about the intrapsychic conflicts which are tagged as GIVENS. There are four type of givens

  1. Freedom and associated responsibility

  2. Death

  3. Isolation

  4. Meaninglessness

These things bring confrontation in the human mind which becomes the cause behind existential anxiety. Existential therapy emphasizes striking a balance for reducing anxiety.


This prose poem is written in a neo-surrealist way as here the fictional setting is evident. Many marks of magical realism are present here like

  1. FLY as the poet imagines himself.

  2. Portrait of monalisa winks

Fictional setting is Napoleon's bathroom where Napoleon has stolen the portrait of Monalisa.

This prose poem is in narrative tone and like neo surrealist prose poem it drives the poem towards a logic-of -the-absurd.

So many absurd things are happening here.

Poet talks about Sigmund Freud and existential psychotherapy of alienated persons, these are tags used by neo surrealists. Though these are a bit dry things much apart from the lyrics, which has made this poem less poetic which is striking features of American prose poets. American prose poems are less poetic in comparison of french prose poems. David Thane Cornell likes to write small lucid verses with line breaks but here his pen has effaced the line breaks. Line breaks directs the readers but the prose poem cages the reader in a horizontal box to make him explore the internal poetic flow. In this poem the reader experiences magical things and yes, life is both absurd and logical!

We feel after wading through this Narrative Neo-surrealist Prose Poem.

Dr Pragya Suman











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