Difference Between Poetry and Prose

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      Poetry is language spoken or written according to some pattern of recurrence that emphasizes relationships between words on the basis of sound as well as meaning. This pattern is almost always a rhythm or meter. This pattern may be supplemented by ornamentation such as use of both rhetoric and prosody. Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of its apparent meaning.

      Prose, on the other hand, is the most typical form of language. The English word ‘prose’ is derived from the Latin prosa, which literally translates as ‘straight-forward.’ Prose is the form of written language that is not organized according to formal patterns of verse. It may have some sort of rhythm and some devices of repetition and balance, but those are not governed by regularly sustained formal arrangement. The significant unit is the sentence, not the line. Hence it is represented without line breaks in writing.

      Poetry is a form of written or spoken word that is done in a pattern that puts emphasis on the sound and rhythm of the words as well as the meaning. Poetry often involves rhyming, alliteration and other methods of artistic ornamentation. When poetry is written, it is often done with line breaks to indicate a change within the pattern. In prose, the emphasis is on the meaning of the words without any ornamentation or pattern although it may use literary devices, such as alliteration. There are no line breaks and prose follows many standard grammar rules related to punctuation and capitalization. Prose also relies on paragraphs and chapters for structure. According to Wu Qiao (1109) -

“When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn’t change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one’s life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation.”

      Poetry is art in itself. It is a rhythmical type of literary composition that usually serves to excite the readers. Either written down or spoken orally, poetry is characterized by an imaginative and attractive expression of one’s thoughts, usually in an elated manner. It is metrical, which means that poems are metered or structured. Poetry also observes a sense of pattern that puts into consideration the words that connect each other, either in terms of sound or original word meanings. That is why readers often encounter rhyming words in poetry. These rhymes act, not just as mere ornaments, but also help convey the overall meaning of the piece. In addition, poetry is represented in lines, and not sentences, and that is why one can quickly distinguish the lines one, two, and so forth, for the entire piece. On the other hand, prose is quite ordinary; no wonder it is regarded by many as the most typical language form. Because of this, prose is observed in many areas of writing, most especially in newspapers, magazines, and even encyclopedias.

      It is very similar to poetry in the sense that it can either be written or spoken, but without the metered and structured quality of its counterpart. Prose is characterized by being simple, common and not that expressive. Often, it is even regarded by literary experts as a dull form of expression. It is more informal, and that is why readers find it a little disorganized to read. There may be slight rhythm and repetitions in the prose, but these are not significant enough to be noticed. The sentence is also considered to be its basic unit, wherein there are no line breaks, like observed in poetry.

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