Poetry and prose are the two basic forms of writing in the English language. They are used at different times to achieve different goals. We will examine the difference between prose and poetry and when they are generally used.
Poetry is a work of creative writing that adheres to a structured meter such as iambic pentameter, though that meter may not always be readily apparent in poetic forms such as free verse poetry. Meter is determined by the arrangement of syllables that are stressed and unstressed. Poetry sometimes involves a rhyme scheme, though poetry forms such as blank verse do not. The figurative language of poetry is generally more lyrical, designed to evoke emotion through the imagery referenced or the rhythm or sound of the words using assonance, alliteration and consonance. Poetic form is arranged in stanzas, which may be very long as with a sonnet, or very short, as with couplets. There are many types of poems, each with their own rules for meter, rhyme, and subject content. Poem writing is popular, giving rise to the poetry slam. Generally, poetry is written to elicit an emotional response from the listener or reader.
Prose is a work of writing that does not contain structured meter and rarely involves intended rhyme. The language is usually more straightforward, everyday speech, though creative writing such as stories or novels may contain elements of poetry such as metaphors, hyperbole, figures of speech, symbols, and other literary devices. Prose is arranged in grammatical sentences and paragraphs and may be fiction or nonfiction. Prose is everyday writing that may be found in newspapers, magazines, books, and online, though it may take the form of a literary work that is every bit as eloquent as poetry. Generally, prose is written to inform, though it may also sometimes elicit an emotional response from the listener or reader.