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When Does Prose Become Poetry?

June 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 193

Whether a piece of writing is prose or poetry may be subject to a variety of opinions. I've been writing poetry for over 20 years but have only recently decided to publish some of my poems. And the responses from people who had never read my poetry prior to publication has been enlightening. One friend, a man I have known since we were small children explained that my poetry was too full of imagery and spirituality for him to write the review which I had asked him to do. In the message, he sent a long poem by Tennyson explaining that this was "real" poetry as it was a long epic poem about war-the poet leaves no doubt about his meaning.

Strangely, that poem read more like prose to me although the poet followed the rules of the 18th century poet that he was. The meaning was clear, there was no guesswork necessary about the meaning of this or of that phrase. I understood what my friend was saying to me and appreciated his candor but is a poem intended to lead its reader to a specific place either figuratively or literally? The main concern that my friend had about my poems was that the reader may not get to the place that I intended after reading my poems and that was why he declined my invitation.

Since that conversation, I have thought a great deal about the concern of my friend and realized that invariably, the reason that I sit down to write a poem are during times in which I am overwhelmed by intense emotion; and feel a compulsion to put that emotion into words. Most frequently, it is to poetry that I lean, rather than prose simply because the stanzas of poetry are an extremely efficient way of conveying wonder, gratitude, joy, grief or any of the myriad of emotions that we humans are imbued with. Where with poetry more like prose as in Tennyson's many words are necessary.

The concern of my friend; that someone may not reach the place I intended when I wrote the poem seems irrelevant to me when I write about universal feelings like loneliness and loss. Perhaps I should consider the feelings of readers while I write but I find that I am unable to do so.

Lin Wilder, DrPH is a former Hospital Director. She is a writer, on-line marketer and Partner in LLeads and Fast MLM Leads; business to business leads companies.

Lin suggests that you check out one of her latest books at Amazon, A Search for the Sacred.

Contact Dr. Lin at

Lin invites you to join her mailing list by sending a blank email to

Source: EzineArticles
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Prose Become Poetry


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Epic Poem


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Why Poetry

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