Opinion ~ Is prose poetry?

I think that the answer to the title question should be very clear and easy to give by anybody who has a minimum tangency with the literary world. No. Prose is not poetry, just as poetry is not prose. We can have prosaic poetry, or poetic prose, but in the end they are two distinctive forms of writing. And it’s good that they are like that, because we need both of them.

Caleb Murdock  says that “Prose and poetry are two sides of the same coin.” I tend to agree with him, because both use the same basic essence of expression – the word. The history of literature teaches us how in time these two came to coalesce, each borrowing from the other specific elements and techniques of using the language, but eventually they remained organically different.

Now, we all know that the basic difference between these two is related to the nature of their final purpose. According to wikipedia, Poetry is (from the Latin poeta, a poet) 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, while Prose is the most typical form of language. The English word ‘prose’ is derived from the Latin prōsa, which literally translates as ‘straight-forward.’

But this difference is more beautifully described by Wu Qiao – “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.”


3 thoughts on “Opinion ~ Is prose poetry?

  1. A very worthy explanation of the differences between the real and the most beautiful surreal use of language, my dear poetess! I agree and love the quotes…smiling at you, Tai x

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