Friday, 2 November 2012

No Line In Between

There is no line between prose and poetry. What is prose? What is poetry? DON'T look it up in the dictionary, I've tried. It just comes up with something stupid like: Prose is plain, ordinary, dull writing, and: Poetry is a form of writing where special intensity is given to the expression of feelings. Seriously? Poetry can be plain, dull and ordinary, and prose can have special intensity given to the expression of feelings. Can anyone actually define what poetry and prose is? Everyone's definition is different from each other's. They are never going to be the same.

Today in class, we were supposed to compare prose and poetry and write down the differences. I can write the differences between a poem and an essay. I can write the differences between an essay and a vignette. But between prose and poetry? I was stuck with this one. Actually, I didn't even know the meaning of prose before this lesson. And I still don't.

As I said earlier, no one can define poetry or prose. So how can you compare them? how do you tell if a piece of writing is a poem or not a poem? And if it's not a poem, is it a prose? All these famous poets can write literally anything and pass it off as a poem. But if someone ordinary writes something and says it is a poem, they get judged and told off that it's not a poem, it's a prose. But how do they know? It's a poem to the writer, right? So you can't tell them off that it's a prose.

To me, poetry and prose are the same thing. The forms of writing within these two categories might not be, but the categories are the same. There shouldn't have even been a line of differentiation in the first place. And I don't get it. Poetry has only one style of writing in it: Poems. But prose has everything else: essays, vignettes, biographies, etc. Why are they comparing ONE style of writing with the rest?

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