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Poetry and Prose, Can you tell the Difference?



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Poetry and Prose, Can you tell the Difference?

I can't understand the difference between Poetry and Prose, to me their just the same.  I consider Prose as just a form of Poetry, while others say on the contrary.  
But when you show them a piece of Poetry they'll say it's Prose and vise versa.  What is your take on this?

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JoeMilford

Of course! There is a major difference, technically speaking. However, these lines have been blurred by creative geniuses all throughout history. For example, during the French Symbolist movement, Baudelaire starting writing his "prose-poems" in SPLEEN AND IDEAL. These were tight lyrical paragraphs. Also, I would say that the Beat poets, like Allen Ginsberg, incorporated a lot of prose, "found poetry", and other prosaic literary objects into their work. On the other hand, there is lot of prose out there which is incredibly POETIC--I think that Cormac McCarthy, for example, writes prose like a poet. Still, when you see certain types or forms of poetry, it is easy to see that they are using their line breaks to distinguish themselves from prose.




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Martinsx1

Simply put, prose are novel while poetry are poems. The person who writes prose/novels is called a novelist while the one who writes poems is called a poet. This is the major difference between prose and poetry. The only similarity between prose and poetry is that they are both genres of literature.




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JoeMilford

Martinsx1,
I hear what you are saying here, but I have to respectfully disagree. I think that, especially in modern and post-modern experimental writing, that the two forms have been mixed together, in some instances, in a way that combines the power of prose and poetry into "one place". I listed some of the examples I was thinking of above, but I can also think of poetry that is VERY prosaic--for instance LEAVES OF GRASS, by Walt Whitman, and I am not trying to step on your toes here, but that is my opinion, and i love experimental works, especially of the 20th century.




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Kakashi2020

Very informative thanks. Basically poetry is characterized by distinct line breaks and it's typically shorter than Prose right?




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DenisP

I have to say that your posts are always really welcome here. It's nice to have someone around with such a vast knowledge of the literary world, as there is always something new to learn and be enlightened by. While I'm somewhat familiar with the differences, the blurred lines between the two formats really can be confusing sometimes. As a result, it's great to actually get some examples that point out the distinctions, so kudos to you!




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Martinsx1

As a literature teacher my profession, I can tell you that even though prose and poetry have the same root as among the 3 genres of literature, they are still different in many ways.

Prose happens to be a story either fiction or non fiction describing the an even that is written in chapters.
Poetry is a song or poem that is written in act and scenes.




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JoeMilford

Actually, I am also a teacher of literature, for 15 years now. I think that we just disagree, which is totally fine. I understand the genre differences between poetry and fiction--I am just suggesting that there are also hybrids of literature out there which combine both of these genres in unique and interesting ways. For example, here is a definition of a prose poem from the Academy of American Poets: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/prose-poem-poetic-form




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DarthHazard

This is actually the first time that I have even heard of the word Prose. It's weird that I was never taught what it was in my school. So it's just a normal story? Is it just a fancy way of saying story?




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aeon

A prose I think is typically straightforward without much more decoration in their sentence or paragraph, and a Poems is more on deep meaning words or more decoration and need to rhyme the words at the end of the sentence.




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Barida

The big difference between those two is that prose is all about writing novels and stories that is used to reach out to people that wants to read what we have written down, poetry is an entirely different case which is all about poems ranging from love poems. It is from poetry that we can get songs as well by trying to turn those poems into songs with beats.




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Kakashi2020

The word "Prose" comes from the Latin word "prosa" which was derived from the word prorsus meaning straight or direct, unadorned speech.




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Kakashi2020

There are Three kinds of proses.
Heroic Prose:
Writing based on Oral Traditions like Legends and fables.

Fictional Prose:
Based on Imaginate Writing like Novels, Short Stories and Parables.

Non Fictional Prose
Writing based on facts like Biographies, Autobiographies and Non Fiction Essays.




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gavinci13

Prose doesn't pay much attention with the rhyme and it usually easy to understand compare to poetry where most of the time it will take you to read it back again for you to fully decipher the meaning or the message of what the author is trying to convey with its audience. I think Poem is much artistic and it requires quite sometime to compose one since you have to be selective with the words you will use.




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Barida

You are right on this in the sense that prose is straight forward and by reading the novels and stories, you can get to understand what it is all about unlike what we have with poetry where even most of the words used are not easy to understand without reading much meaning into them.




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DenisP

While it may be a bit hard to tell them apart, there are definitely certain characteristics which differentiate poetry and prose. Then again, I learned about this in A.P English almost a decade ago so I might not remember things as accurately as I suspect.

Prose would generally be barely distinct from what would be considered "everyday writing." The language isn't very flowery, it is written in standard sentences and paragraphs, and it is just generally difficult to differentiate from regular writing.

Poetry on the other hand is used to express ideas in an artistic fashion, featuring more expressive and decorated language and is written in stanzas composed of lines. This is the easiest way to tell them apart.




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Kakashi2020

I still can't differentiate the two. I think, I'll just accept that Prose is just a form of Poetry and from now on I'll just refer to all as Poetry. There's really no accepted distinction to differentiate the two.




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MomoStarr16

The divisions between poetry and prose aren't clear, but there are some generally accepted differences. The language of prose is typically straightforward without much decoration. Unlike poetry that needs to be an ear pleasing word and the rhyming should be great.




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Corzhens

What I know about poems is the rhyme at the end of the line. Also, the lines are metered in terms of syllables like having 8 syllables per line of a 4-line stanza. But modern poems now are also using the lines but not metered anymore and rhyme is not a requirement anymore. This modern type of poetry is similar to prose which is actually an essay or a short story.




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Kakashi2020

It's very hard to differentiate Poetry from Prose there's no fixed standard being recognized hence poetry can be Prose and vice versa. Got tired of it I'm calling everything as Poetry nowadays.




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SiamSEO

Not my genres per se, but I guess when going to the very basics the difference is really in the length and writing style, poetry being noticeably shorter. But as with everything I'm sure there are instances where the difference is like a line drawn in water, and personally I don't really see any reason to get that hung up on genre anyways.




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Steve5

I'm not an expert on literary knowledge and stuff. But if you can see that the lines are more symbolic than literal, they're usually poems. Prose does use imagery, but not the way poems frequently do. Like when you read poems, they're very imaginative in the sense that you're almost being painted a complex picture of something. While prose is usually an artful means of showing a scene or event in a story.




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aecel

According to Encarta Dictionary, "a prose is a language that is not poetry: writing or speech in its normal continuous form, without the rhythmic or visual line structure of poetry. While poetry is literature in verse:literary works written in verse, in particular, verse writing of high quality, great beauty, emotional sincerity or intensity, or profound insight". So I guess they're different when it comes to expressing feelings, Poetry needs to put rhyming and emotions while a prose doesn't need to be poetic it can be just a regular style when creating a verse.




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Barida

That is a comprehensive reply that you gave up there which even a kid can be able to understand since it is all said in simple English. I have come to realize that poetry is all about the rhymes and verses which can be turned into songs unlike what we have with prose.




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amelia88

I honestly (and somewhat embarrassingly) never knew there was a difference between the two - I thought that prose was just another word for poetry.

Always glad though when I can learn something new about the written word, so I'm glad that I stumbled across this thread!




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EfficientNinja

Unfortunately, no. I remembered having this lesson in primary school but I forgot about it. I haven't had any practical use of the difference between poetry and prose and that may be the reason as to why I forgot and now I don't know their differences anymore.

I will have to Google their differences and I will get back to this thread. Poetry and Prose, Can you tell the Difference?




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ballyhara

Well, I'm not a literature teacher, but I do like to read, and I read all kind of genres. So, based on what I know so far, I can tell you one of the differences is that a Prose is our everyday writing, while Poetry is the one we reserve for a special feeling, like when you want to tell something in an very decorated, artistic way. The other big difference, is that we fix Prose in paragraphs, while Poetry is written in lines that brake in a particular order.




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Chinet23

Prose and poetry are different based on their structure. They are two kinds of Literature. Poems are written in lines and usually do not follow grammar rules and sentence construction. They have "poetic license" to depart from these rules in order to be more artistic. While prose are written in sentences and paragraphs like what we see on novels, essays and short stories. This type needs to follow rules. It can also be artistic by being descriptive but poetry tends to have more depth in terms of emotion.




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superlicca

As far as I know, prose has sentences that are organized in a paragraph. It is ordinary, simple and has no formal structure. While poetry is arranged into stanzas. It is more rhythmical, there is a pattern and words that connect to each other. In my own opinion, prose is easier to write compared to poetry. But poetry is something that you would want to read.




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romyter013

I think they only different on how to arranged the words and all that. Prose is like composed as a straightforward, complete paragraph with no breaks at all. Unlike poetry is more on pause, breaks and rhyming words at the end of the stanzas. And making simple poetry is my thing.




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stbrians

Prose is when you just write content without following poetry rules. It is like writing a novel. It may look poetic the way you arrange your work but without the making of poetry it remains to be prose.

Poetry is writing poems. They are written poetically with poetic expressions. Rhymes and rhyming words are used too. Poems follow a certain guideline.




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cmoneyspinner

When I was in high school ... many moons ago ... for our English class we had a book specifically for poetry and a book specifically for prose. I knew the difference then. Don't ask me now. LOL. Poetry and Prose, Can you tell the Difference?




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mhingnhormz

Poetry and Prose, Can you tell the Difference: For me you can identify the difference of the two, first simply by the way it was written. Prose was written into the paragraph form while the poetry is by stanza.




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