Poetry vs. Prose
“Poetry is a literary genre that differs from prose genres in the use of verse, rhyme and meter. In modern prose poems or experimental poetry, these classical elements are no longer valid; however, the wording and the deliberate use of certain structural elements of syntax and rhetorical figures mark these works as poetic forms.” Mario Klarer, an Introduction on literary studies.
“The art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.” dictionairy.com
This doesn’t really help now does it? Let’s try again:
According to Mark Flanagan on contemporarylit.about.com Poetry is this:
Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response. Poetry has been known to employ meter and rhyme, but this is by no means necessary. Poetry is an ancient form that has gone through numerous and drastic reinvention over time. The very nature of poetry as an authentic and individual mode of expression makes it nearly impossible to define.
I think that he’s got something there. It’s really difficult to give an exact definition to poetry but now that we know this, what is prose?
“The ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse.” dictionairy.com
“Prose is a form of language that has no formal metrical structure. It applies a natural flow of speech, and ordinary grammatical structure rather than rhythmic structure, such as in the case of traditional poetry. Normal every day speech is spoken in prose and most people think and write in prose form. Prose comprises of full grammatical sentences which consist of paragraphs and forgoes aesthetic appeal in favour of clear, straightforward language. It can be said to be the most reflective of conversational speech.” literarydevices.net
So what is the difference between poetry and prose?
After much consideration and research I’ll go with this as a difference between poetry and prose: Prose is meant to be straightforward, to follow structure and certain rules. There’s just the emphasis on the words.
Poetry does no such thing and has no format for structure and the sounds/rhyme of the words is as important as the meaning.
In short: poetry differs from prose in the use of verse, rhyme and meter.
In this post I’ll highlight some of the aspects of poetry and I’ll try and show you how things work. Now this is a whole new word for you and me (see what I did with the Disney thing there? ^_^) so I hope that in the end we’ll both turn out be a little wiser.
A word of caution beforehand: Most of the definitions I put in this post come from Mario Klarer’s An introduction to literary studies. This because it is the book I use for my studies. However when there is a term that isn’t to clear, I’ll explain it in another way.
In other words: Welcome to what-is-Poetry-and-what-do-I-do-with-it 101.
Continue reading “What is Poetry?”