Poetry ‘vs’ prose. This is a real dichotomy.
Poetry is a manifest of written language in abstract form of a persons thoughts (in the broadest of senses) and I just don’t get it.
We have the ability within all languages to describe and write what we feel in the most eclectic, descriptive and in-depth prose. We can detail exactly what we mean, when we mean it, how we mean it and still leave room for human imagination to question and make up its own mind as to what is written.
Poetry in the other hand, from a personal perspective, is a purely self indulgent guessing game. Poets, write in an undecipherable code of pentameter and meaning about subjects than we can only begin to grasp after a thought intensive forensic investigation.
Prose, can engage a reader, it is not bound by rules of metre, or language, it is a free form.
poetry is the opposite.
Does anybody else favour one form of communication over the other?
@earthfirewater, Poetry for sure. While it is sometimes difficult to discern the writers original meaning for himself/herself, it allows the reader to interpret it however they wish. Two people who read the same poem and get different messages are both correct. The authors usually assume that their personal message will be lost on most, but I assume they appreciate when others can get whatever meaning applies to them best in their lives.
I much prefer prose as well. Besides being simpler to understand, write, and get your intentions across, I like that its implications are shown by the words which are chosen, instead of being left up to the thousands of interpretations of different readers. At the same time, I feel like a master of poetry can show their emotions and feelings in a much more complete way since the medium is no longer limited to words.
They’re incomparable arts. As dissimilar as modern art and theatre.
There’s a key to understanding and respecting poetry: realize that not a single word of poetry is superfluous. Same may go for prose but in poetry every single word has equal weight. The next time you read a poem replace certain words with synonyms. Say its beautiful, replace it with pretty, alluring, gorgeous, handsome. You’ll see how it can change the entire form of the poem and change how you read in the future. I don’t want to use the term acquired taste but really dig into a few different poets and find their styles and that will help. Jump from Dickinson to Lord Byron back to Ginsberg an up to Billy Collins. Force feed it for a bit.
Adding to the previous post, poems are actually not up to multiple interpretations. They are absolutely meant to be understood in a single way. Perhaps it can evoke something different in the reader but by no means do they have multiple interpretations. That’s what makes poetry so damn difficult!
Not all poetry is as abstract as you make it out to be. But I suppose that depends on how much you can connect with it. Although poetry and prose are both forms of art and communication they serve different purposes. Prose is primarily narrative while poetry can be an almost direct glimpse of how another person views the world. Yes, there may be an intended interpretation but the reader is free to add their own meaning to a poem. That’s what I love about poetry – there’s sense of freedom. Not only in your interpretation but also in the poets style of writing. Poetry can be incredibly aesthetically pleasing. Don’t read it with the expectation of gaining profound insights or whatever (which sometimes can happen) but rather read it like you look at a painting. Admire its beauty. Observe. Welcome it without prejudice.
I’d recommend William Blake: “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
It depends on where your coming from. I like both poetry and prose and I see no contradiction between the two.
Do you like symphonies or do you prefer jazz?
@earthfirewater, “and still leave room for human imagination to question”
That’s the problem with poetry. It’s a process of the human mind’s poet that will never, stop, he will probably continue writing about it, probably he wouldn’t, it depends on what goes on with his life, if it sounded like a genuine poetry – it most probably was. It was for the poet, himself or herself.
Take a look at every poet you ever heard of, read of or have seen. Why is history praising poets to be even written in school books for everyone to learn? Because they were true to themselves, and by being true to themselves, they were an example idiots thought it would be a good idea to teach but not be like them, not be like themselves.
Allow me to use an analogy (allegory). Poetry is much like musical ability, some’s got it, some’s don’t. (colloquialism)
As in musicianship, there are generally two extremes, dominant right brain, or dominant left brain, aka lateralization of brain function. There is music ability that is strictly intellectual, or learned and acquired, and there is music ability that is so called “natural.” This means the artist feels or senses music more physically than mentally. Improvisation is generally right hemisphere dominant. However there is of course, a cross-current patterning at play; a simultaneous interplay between reasoning and sensing.
Poetry is like that, in my opinion. It is a mixture of intellect and emotion, rhythm and stanza. It is this admixture that is the premise for the 19th century ‘tone poem.’ Poetry is far more than the meter, it is often visually evocative, as a tone poem is thematic. It is an artform.