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What is the difference between poetry and prose?


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2014-03-10 09:53:03
2014-03-10 09:53:03

The most basic answer might be: Prose is language that has as its primary goal the sharing of information. Poetry has as its primary goal the use of language itself as music. There is no rule that says a given piece of writing MUST be one or the other.


Sometimes the distinction is unclear. We have to live with it. Some prose letters of Emily Dickinson have been re-scanned in the form of verse; it's the way she wrote. If the intention of the author is given, the author's word should hold.

Let's begin by setting aside certain features of language. Ordinary talk between ordinary people uses ordinary language. Verbs do what verbs do; nouns do what nouns do. This is what we learned in grade school. So, we set aside certain features of language. Rhyme, for example, is a quintessentially poetic feature of language and rarely do we use in ordinary language; when we do, we laugh because it sounds so unnatural. And, yet, when used purposefully, when called to the foreground of an incident of language, rhyme takes on the dimensions of beauty. We have, of course, stepped from mere language into realm of literature.

Poetry and prose overlap considerably. There are, in fact, great traditions of poetic prose and prose poetry, so, on some level, it's foolish to imagine that there's a clear cut difference and never the twain shall meet. A scale must be properly drawn between them on which tendency associate towards one of the other. Organization of language (such as into stanzas) tends to associate with poetry, but there are, of course, exceptions. Lines, too, tend towards poetry; sentences toward prose. Meter tends toward poetry, but not extremely so. Metaphor, for example, is not commented on by the scale; it is accessible to both. And so on.

Poetry versus ProsePoetry refers to poems, with or without rhyme schemes. Prose is writing a story,either fiction or nonfiction. Poetry and prose are both forms of expression in writing. Prose usually has fewer structural guidelines, and in some ways, that makes poetry more of an art form. Being able to express the same thought and image in fewer words, choosing more carefully, etc., makes poetry more difficult to master than prose.

Poetry has rhythm, like a song. Poetry has cadence, like a drum. Poetry may rhyme but, I'm not wrong, When I say it can be ho hum.

Poetry usually follows a set pattern, rhyme scheme and meter. It is an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities. Prose is simply regular writing, like in a story, a letter, or regular speech. There are usually no patterns, just sentences and paragraphs.

Prose writing most often follows standard rules in grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure. Poetry often doesn't, for expressive reasons, and every word, period, etc. is carefully chosen to say the most using the least words.

Prose is the language of everyday speech, or the writing medium that mimics it. Poetry is a more refined or structured or rhythmic form of prose.

Poetry has a shrinking readership. This is mainly because of competition from other media, but partly because poetry written in the last 50 years is perceived to have not been up to past standards.

On the other hand, there is a lot of modern poetry that is quality. Whether or not the readership is going down in some circles, there are remarkable poets who have been active during the last 50 years, and hopefully will continue to be.


Many definitions exist for poetry and for prose, and the characteristics are very blended and the border between them made very grey - the above answers are all correct, in a way.

I, however, think that the difference between poetry and prose is that poetry ought to be written linearly whereas prose is that which is to be structured into paragraphs. Coleridge defined poetry as "the right words in the right order" and my father always said "maximal meaning in minimal wording", but I would reckon that this line/paragraph differentiation is the best way to separate.

Merged ResponseIn general terms, prose is the everyday language used by most speakers of a language. It is the language of this answer, and of the newspaper articles you read this morning. It is the language of most fiction, non-fiction, history and biography. You can see that the term is extremely broad and covers a great many different kinds of writing.

Poetry is the use of many different elements of language to convey concepts and feelings in a way that is different from the frank relating of information. These elements include the sounds and rhythms of words and of groups of words. The rhythmic pattern of language is called prosody [not to be confused with the word prose, and not to be confused with the classic and over-worked forms like iambic pentameter]. Some poetry has strong structural components and some is free from obvious structural constraint. Because poets tend to hear and respond to the sounds, rhythms, cadence and structure of language, it has a great deal in common with music.

Sometimes the distinction between prose and poetry is difficult to draw. You might say that poetry is more symbolic or that it makes more use of imagery, but all language is metaphorical and therefor symbolic in nature. The distinction probably does not matter, as long as the writer has something to say that you are willing to hear.


Related Questions

prose is a formed sentence but poetry is more rymised andstyled.

At times, the difference between poetry and prose is indistinct. However, prose is generally constructed in sentences and poetry is constructed in stanzas.

Prose is all other types of writing like stories, biographies, and journals. Poetry is in a class all by itself.

Shakespeare wrote mostly in the form of poetry, known as an iambic pentameter. Prose is what most stories and novels are written in.

Generally speaking, poetry is subject to some kind of structure, format, rhythm or rhyme scheme that is not applied to prose writing.

Prose usually does not use line breaks for literary effect.

Prose usually does not use line breaks for literary effect.

Poetry is written in verse, prose is written continuously. This paragraph is prose. Tea leaf in my cup; Did you see your own future Growing in China? That is an example of (Haiku) poetry.

The major difference is that poetry has line breaks. Another difference is in the form, or "rules", of poetry, such as meter, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance, etc.Prose can be defined as the natural conveyance of language. What I have written here is prose, not poetry.

poetry is in stanzas prose is in paragraphs, or sentences

Prose is just regular writing.Prose is not poetry.Prose is anything but poetry.PROSE=POETRY

Even though prose and poetry are both the expression of ideas through words, prose can not be sung while poetry can be both read and sung. Good poetry has to conform to the rules of rhyme, metre and rhythm while prose is blank. Prose needn't be condensed, but poetry is condensed thought. Brevity is the charm of poetry.

Prose is detailed study on actual knowledge based study while poetry is only related to the intellectual property and thinking of an individual. we have to simple reading of phrase but in the poetry we have to use rhythm.

Modern poetry and prose are identical in structure and diction. The only difference is that prose claiming to be poetry is artificially arrayed in "lines" and pseudo-stanzas on the page instead of honest paragraphs.

difference between prose and informal

The opposite of prose IS poetry.

Prose never rhymes.Poetry's stanzas' formation is chosen by the poet. Proses' stanzas go all the way to the margin.

Of course they can and do. The difference between prose and poetic diction - and I'm talking about poetry, not some silly prose splayed in pseudostanza on a page, is metrical, not lexical.

It was something about a man walking on a beach at a place that rhymes with bollocks. The last line says that the water came up to his knees. That was prose but if the tide was in it would be poetry.

different shape prose from poetry

poetry/prose is its own genre. Poetry is different from Prose... but it is its own genre. If you are at the bookstore, poetry will have its own section. All the rest of the categories will be Prose.

Poetry is far older than prose.

what is the difference between metaphysical poetry and romantic poetry

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