What Is Prose Vs Poetry

What is Prose vs Poetry

Prose and poetry are two types of writing that have similar yet distinct elements, and are both used to express creative ideas. Prose is standard writing that is composed of sentences and paragraphs, which are usually written in the form of narrative or descriptive essays. On the other hand, poetry is written in its own distinct style with a focus on metre, rhyme and the use of literary devices. Both prose and poetry are creative forms of writing that employ distinct innovations and techniques to bring about a desired effect.

The structure of prose is characterised by its standard form of written language, relatability, readability and logical flow. Often composed as stories, essays or biographies, prose mostly follows a traditional structure as it is intended to be understood by the readers. It is often thought of as more informative than expressive, yet many great authors have used descriptive and experiential language to create an intimate understanding of the world around them.

In comparison, poetry is seen as more expressive than informative, as it uses the art of rhyme, alliteration and metre to convey ideas. Poetry is often used to tell stories or express emotions, and is composed by creating verses that use imagery and representational descriptions. Poetry relies heavily on literary devices such as metaphors, similes and personification to communicate its purpose and allow the reader to interpret its meaning.

In today’s literary world, both prose and poetry are powerful forms of expression. Prose is used to explain and document the world around us, and provides us with the foundational knowledge and understanding of our environment. Whereas, poetry is able to use language to explore the inner depths of emotion and can allow us to tap in to feelings we never knew we had.

Although both genres are creative and intended to evoke a response, they use entirely different techniques to communicate their message. Prose is written in a structured and straightforward way, while poetry employs its use of rhythm and rhyme to attract readers and give the work a lyrical quality.

The primary difference between the two styles of writing is their intended purpose. Prose is mostly intended to convey a story or facts, while poetry is meant to provide us with an emotional or creative experience. Prose has its own set of literary devices, such as anecdotes and allusions, but its structure and style are kept within a certain range. Poetry is a more complex and fluid structure that allows for freedom in its metre and rhyme, and is often used to explore the depths of the human experience.

Different Aspects of Writing

The purpose of prose and poetry varies, but both styles share the same goal of conveying ideas in the most effective and meaningful way possible. Prose is used to explain and document facts, while poetry is used to explore emotions and evoke an experience in the reader.

In prose, the purpose often lies in the narrative or story, while poetry’s power is in its lyrical quality. Prose is usually composed in an informative and linear structure, whereas poetry can explore beyond the conventional structures of writing and understand the power of allusion, metaphor, and symbolic imagery.

While there are plenty of common similarities, the main difference between prose and poetry is the way they tap into the reader’s emotions. Prose is usually written in a straightforward way, describing events, stories and characters without attempting to evoke an emotional response. Poetry, however, relies heavily on lyrical structure and the use of literary devices to engage the reader.

Moreover, prose often does not employ rhyme or metre in its formatting, therefore it does not seek to form a musical quality or melody. On the other hand, poetry’s main strength lies in its rhythm and use of repetition, designed to engage the imagination and tap into readers’ emotions.

Understanding Language

Language is the main tool used in both prose and poetry to express ideas and depending on the genre; each will employ varying strategies in order to convey its purpose. Prose is composed in a conventional way and mostly composed in the form of narrative, biography or journal. It takes into consideration the reader, and allows for the logical flow and understanding of ideas. Poetry, however, merges language with rhythm and metre to combine the logical content of the poem with the musical importance of rhythm and form.

The meaning of language is also examined differently in both genres. Prose explores the literal meaning of words and how they connect to create a linear story whereas, poetry focuses on the symbolic and metaphoric meaning of words to explore a variety of ideas and deepen understanding. Poetry invites readers to interpret meaning and is the perfect tool for expressing feelings and emotions.

Furthermore, each genre is written in a different style and tone. Prose is usually written in third-person, while poetry invites readers to explore the world of the poet in a more personal and intimate way. Poetry is usually written in a lyrical and passionate tone, whereas prose is composed in a descriptive or conversational style.

Creative Writing

Both prose and poetry can be used for creative writing and are effective when used for the same. Prose is great for developing stories, creating characters and exploring themes. Poetry is able to communicate more intricate and personal experiences, allowing readers to feel a connection to the poet’s words.

Though both genres will require some level of creativity from the author, prose is thought of as more of a controlled way of expressing ideas. It does not require the same attention to detail as poetry does and is often more accessible for novice writers. Poetry, on the other hand requires more technical knowledge of literary devices and creative strategies in order to effectively convey ideas.

Both forms of writing can be successful when used effectively. The choice of genre is dependent on the type of material the author feels best suits the purpose of the work. Prose is perfect for communicating factual information, while poetry provides an avenue for exploring emotions and perceptions.


In many ways, prose and poetry are interconnected. Each genre often borrows techniques and ideas from the other, depending on the author’s desired effect. Prose can be infused with poetic devices such as alliteration and imagery, while poetry can be composed in a narrative style.
In general, poetry and prose are two distinct genres of writing that use different strategies to convey ideas. Though their differences may seem stark, in many ways, both are highly intertwined and can borrow from one another to create unique and powerful pieces of work.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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