Writing generally goes beyond putting pen on paper and scribbling words. First reason for this is that words are usually not just words. They carry a lot of weight in their meanings, so they have to be properly thought out. Next, and the focus here, is that writing is an art form that can be projected in multiple ways. There are set rules, formats, and structures that make up your write-up. Hence, it is presented in different ways depending on the desired outcome. There are two common ways that a write-up can be presented. The first is prose which is generally how our articles and everyday writing is presented. Prose comes in clear straightforward language and is usually written in paragraphs. The other is poetry and it is how our poems and songs are presented. It involves a lot of word play and is usually written in uniform stanzas. Here are the core differences of prose and poetry.

1)      Form

Prose is written freely and is usually only arranged by means of sentences that then make paragraphs. It is how our everyday written work comes up. It is in our newspapers, stories, blog posts, and so on. Prose is said to be in natural or original form as that is majorly how we talk. Poetry on the other hand is usually written in lines and bars that are made into stanzas and it has aesthetic qualities that force deeper meanings. Prose is generally freehand while poetry requires more thought in terms of organization.


2)      Rhythm

One of the clearest dichotomies is in its rhythm. Prose goes on and is read plainly. However, poetry is required to have a certain melody to it. The goal of prose is to pass a message as it is, while poetry usually is an expression of one’s thoughts. It seeks to excite, chastise, or peek into the reader’s emotions. Hence, it requires the extra dab of creativity that is its rhythm and sound.


3)      Use of words

So many times, poetry is abstract. As such, its use of words and language is much more dramatic and metaphoric. Certain words in poetry are used as connotations and might not even mean anything at all – just as long as it sings right and gives the reader an idea of what is being said. In prose, however, words used can generally be looked up as they have clear denotations. As far as the amount of words used are concerned, prose has no pre-set limits and is left to the perusal of the writer. However, poetry is required to be short and concise using a limited amount of words.


4)      Writing Rules

Finally, prose requires the basic grammar rules of English. You have to start every sentence with the first word in capital letters, your punctuations are to be correct, and other rules such as concord need to be borne in mind. In poetry, there are no rules of such. You can choose the shape of the piece, use different cases to emphasize your point, and even skip the use of punctuation marks altogether.


These are the main differences. However, creative writers would realise that one too many times, these rules or differences are not always set on stone. Creativity makes its own rules. For one, poetry can be written in prose format using rhythmic words. In fact, a good number of our modern creative stories come in sharp, concise form, and use abstract words to paint the desired picture. The idea that prose is dull is also greatly flawed. New-age creative writers have their prose sounding like Shakespearian poetry. While certain people have called the point where prose and poetry meet as “Prose poetry” (referring to poetry written in prose, and having poetic similarities of imagery and emotional power), the truth is that writing can come in whatever form required by the writer for the benefit of the reader. Your entire memoir can be written in poetry if you so dare. The end justifies the means and everything else is just noise. Note that taking risks in the style used, requires a level of skill. Professionals might just need to have a look at your work to ensure that the final output isn’t a beautiful disaster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *