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Hold the Line

The Writers Experimenting With Form

Lauren Evans

Within poetry and fiction, structure and form are constantly evolving. Here is a line-up of experimental writers that are blurring the boundaries between prose and fiction, and in doing so, showing us the power that a line can hold.

Blue by Kate Channer

Berlin-based Kate Channer is a rising illustrator and artist. Their recent poem Blue disrupts linear structures and tails off into a fragmented statement of self-identity that mimics the water imagery they evoke. Listen below:

Is Truth Beauty by Peter J. King

This graphic poet blurs the line between visual art and the written word, much like Nur Alan’s submission to our Borderline call out. The objects and situations that King describes are formed by the words themselves. Here King illustrates the power of language to transform into the very thing it seeks to describe.

Watermelon by Elida Silvey

Silvey is a Mexican-American writer that focuses on the everyday and mundane to express large topics such as love and identity. Her imagist style draws you into the textural and colourful quality of the objects she describes, leaving a visceral image behind long after the poem has been consumed. Take a look below:–by-Elida-Silvey

Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

Vuong’s second poetry collection delicately experiments with poetry and prose: where single word stanzas balance full prose paragraphs, and an itemised list of Amazon purchases tells the story of a woman’s final moments. The text explores grief, loss and memory in the wake of his mother’s death in 2019. A difficult and sobering experience, Vuong’s experimental form and inclusion of the real into his work aids in creating a forgiving and comforting tone when faced with life’s hardest moments.

Little Scratch by Rebecca Watson

Watson’s debut novel follows the seemingly banal day after a night out, except for one small scratch and a gap in her memory. The structure flickers between lower case, all caps and emojis to create a text-like feel whilst reading. This fragmentation and fluctuating form only add to the underlying unease and gathering tension throughout the text.

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

Hall’s tricky and surrealist text centres on Eric’s attempts to reclaim his identity in the face of memory and loss. Here the plot extends beyond the writing, as the words themselves transform into the very thing Eric believes is devouring his memories, a large killer shark. As the plot progresses, the narrative along with the text becomes more unreliable and unexpected.


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