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Updated by Rosalie Galvez on Mar 07, 2021
Headline for Poem And Prose - Difference Between Prose And Poetry Explained
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Poem And Prose - Difference Between Prose And Poetry Explained

Written creative work in any language that possesses an enduring value in both aesthetics and application is referred to as literature. With its evolution, there are no hard and fast rules to define what it is, and has transcended the boundaries of space and time with the progress in the means of writing and its propagation.

In literature, two things are the key to how literature is represented to the reader – form, and content.


Definition Of Prose

In a nutshell, the prose is a typical, ordinary style of writing. This deals with plots, structures, mood themes, points of view, settings, etc. in a variety of formats. This includes short stories, novels, novellas, articles, and many others. Even this article is a form of prose that is destined to convey information to the readers. This makes it a unique form of language. Grammatical sentences are arranged in a sequence that they become a part of one whole and in turn, sentences combine to form paragraphs. You will also find dialogues in it and maybe images to support the message, but this is not a universal practice. One thing is clear, there is no metrical structure in prose. This is a distinguishing feature that sets it apart from poetry.

This a great place for writers to write both fictional and non-fictional pieces. The techniques that are employed usually include heroic, alliterative, village, polyphonic, etc.

There is no limit to what prose can achieve with a variety of formats. Some of the most popular examples of this are:

• Fairy Tales

• Memoir

• Essay

• Short Stories

• Article

• Novel

And Many More!


Definition Of Poetry

Poetry is that format of literature that relies heavily on a complete imaginative feeling. A poet chooses appropriate language and selective vocabulary that are arranged in such a manner that comes out as a distinctive pattern in reading and reciting. There are two important concepts in poetry on which the foundation of poetry is built upon:

Rhyme – this deals with two or more words that have the same ending sounds. For instance, glass and class are two different words with different meanings, but they end with the same sound. A poet uses such words to evoke emotion and convey his thoughts forcefully and impressively to his readers and listeners.

Rhythm – this is created by combining a number of stressed and unstressed syllables in lines of a stanza for the desired effect. It is defined by the beat and pace of the poem and helps a lot in strengthening the ideas and message of a poem.

It is pure art, traditionally, that may or may not have any practical value to it. Usually, it uses an eccentric way to communicate something special with a reader, by choosing both stressed and unstressed syllables. Poets deal with a wide and diverse range of ideas and elements like moments, experiences, feelings, thoughts, etc.

The metrical structure of poetry sets it apart from prose that has no metrical structure at all. The main constituents of poetry are:

• Lines

• Couplets

• Strophe

• Stanza

There are many types of poems and the number of stanzas decides which type of poem it is. Stanzas are composed of verses or lines, that may or may not carry full thought or meaning outside the poem!


Comparison Of Prose & Poetry

Prose – It is a straightforward, mostly no-nonsense form of literature. Most of the time, a writer expresses his views and opinions in a clear and lucid fashion. There was a time when it was said that what is written and does not rhyme is prose. There are many formats in this category such as novels, short stories, novella, articles, etc.

Poetry – this form deals with a unique, symmetrical style of expressing thoughts using different literary techniques. There is more room for the writer to either beat around the bush or come forcefully to the point. It was said that whatever that is written and rhymes in poetry.

Of course, it is not a rigid meaning but it gives you a clear image of what to expect.

Prose – It is usually written in a straight forward vernacular. An author takes it to himself to explain the idea with a little gray area for the reader to explore.

Poetry – the language in this format is tuned to evoke emotions with decorative flowery phrases. Poets usually use techniques to make the readers draw more than one conclusion from poetry.

Prose – in this format, you will notice that a writer discusses ideas in a more practical manner. The focus is more on real, rather than theoretical considerations. When compared to poetry, it is pragmatic.

Poetry – there are abundant factors and elements in this format. Poetry is uniquely forceful in this way.

Prose – the emphasis of this practice is on the message and information that is to be conveyed to the reader. In some instances, there is no set rule on how to propagate the message.

Poetry – this is more about experiencing a thought or emotion. The structure is rigid and tightly-wound. A poet, generally, wants to woo the reader or listener by invoking the sensation through sensory and other references.

This is where the distinctive lines between these two formats fade a little.

Prose – the purpose of this form of literature is about conveying the information or the message. An effective piece of prose tries to evoke emotion and feelings in the readers.

Poetry – the main aim of poetry is still to amuse or delight the reader and evoke emotions in the reader with little no none practical value.

Prose – if you are looking for ideas in this format, you will find them in both independent sentences and paragraphs where a piece of information continues throughout and comes to an end when the piece ends.

Poetry – you will find ideas in this form of literature by reading the lines which are arranged in the stanzas and other poetical structures. There are instances where you will find ideas even in the name of the poem.

Line Break
Prose – there is no line break in this format.

Poetry – there is a line break in this format which is its main feature.

Prose – the ideas expressed in this form of literature can be reproduced by merely changing the arrangement of words or choosing different words. But the message remains the same.

Poetry – it is not possible to exactly paraphrase a piece of this format. Words are arranged in a rigid structure.


Key Differences Between Prose & Poetry

If you are overwhelmed by new terms and words to differentiate between prose and poetry, we will discuss some further contrasting differences between the two. This will give you more room to grasp key features and contrasting aspects.

Here is the rundown of some of the most common differences between proses and poetry:

• Prose is defined by the simple structure of sentences and paragraphs that lead to the completion of a unique idea. Contrary to this, poetry is that form of literature that is aesthetic and emotional by nature. Its effectiveness depends on multiple factors that should be done right for the perfect effect. This includes sound, cadence, rhyme, meter, etc.

• The language treatment in prose is straightforward and direct with an emphasis on the message or information that the writer wants to convey to his readers. Contrastingly, poetry employs selective words and creative language to evoke emotions in the readers or listeners, through rhyme and rhythm.

• Prose is pragmatic with stress on the practicality of the information with a universal appeal, most of the time. Poetry, on the other hand, is figurative and relies heavily on vocabulary and imaginative elements to convey the message, which is not clear, sometimes.

• Prose has the basic unit of sentences that are grouped to form paragraphs. This has usually an implied message that an author wants to convey to the readers. While poetry is written in lines that are coupled to form stanzas. There is a common trend in poetry where poets leave many things unsaid which readers can understand through reading between the lines. In this way, much of the interpretation of a poem and its meanings depend on the imagination of the reader.


How To Remember The Difference

Since there is a new form of poetry or prose which is aptly called prose poetry. This new form relies heavily on the breakless line structure of the prose. On the other side, it has abundant techniques and elements from poetry like alliteration, repetition, and other techniques to get desired effects in the readers or listeners.

So, you cannot classify these two in a rigid structure. There are tips and tricks to remember what is what, which still has some room for error.



Still, the easiest way to remember prose from poetry is by keeping several things in mind:

• Writing style is the key in both formats. The prose is written in an ordinary and straightforward way as opposed to poetry which relies more on the selection of words and selective language. The latter also has some distinctive patterns to stress some syllables.

• Prose conveys a message or a piece of information in the form of a narrative structure. Contrarily, poetry uses rhymes, rhythm, and literary techniques to evoke emotions in the reader. Keep in mind that both formats aim at engaging the reader butthe prose does it with the given information rather than the play of words.

• On paper, a piece of prose will look like a big block that would represent a paragraph. A poem has lines of varying lengths, based on the poet’s intentions and word structure.

Read more about Poetry