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Writer's Room => Kidlit Genres => Topic started by: carrots on May 26, 2018, 01:45 PM

Title: poetry defined
Post by: carrots on May 26, 2018, 01:45 PM
While substitute teaching yesterday, I sat in on a junior high STEAM class, during which the English teacher reviewed information on narrative poetry. (They've read and analyzed several classics and are preparing to write their own.) She gave detailed instructions for completing a graphic organizer and a nifty handout from Scholastic to visualize the plot. Anyway, in the midst of her lesson, she reminded students of the difference between prose and poetry. This is what she told them:

prose=the best words in order

poetry=the best words in the best order

There's more nuance, of course, but I was taken by the simplicity of her definitions. What do you think?

Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: JFriday on May 26, 2018, 02:27 PM
I think it's too simplistic. Any good writing is the best words in the best order, both poetry and prose. I don't think you can boil it down to something that short and pithy.

But obviously there is a difference. Poetry is a different type of package than prose. Having said that, though, when I write a story (prose), I always try to use the best words in the best order, just as I do with poetry.

Adding: I did try to spell out the difference, but my brain is too tired and I gave up. :hiding
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: Pons on May 26, 2018, 03:35 PM
I think she's missed the mark. I have read breathtaking prose where the words are in the absolutely best order. I have also read junk poetry, where the words have been tortured into a weird sort of order. I know there are good and bad examples of both prose and poetry: I'm not trying to say one is bad and one is good. It's just that her definition isn't right. (IMHO)

Poetry is a condensed form of communication that involves figurative language (and often meter) to convey its message. The tendency today to take a prose sentence, chop it up onto different lines, and call it poetry curls my toes. :)
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: carrots on May 26, 2018, 05:28 PM
JFriday and Pons, I think you're both SO right.

When I look down at my latest PB manuscript in prose, I laugh over all the arrows and stars and cross-outs - evidence that I am forever trying to put those best words in their best order, whatever the form. We all are.

Borrowing from pons, I think this is the definition to use:

good writing=the best words in the best order
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: Pons on May 26, 2018, 05:51 PM
good writing=the best words in the best order

 :like

Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: Vijaya on May 26, 2018, 05:55 PM
Pons, I agree with everything you said.


Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: JFriday on May 27, 2018, 07:41 AM
Yep, Pons and yep, carrots. What you guys said.

Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: annemleone on May 28, 2018, 02:58 PM
That definition of poetry is from author Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who wrote "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

As a middle and high school teacher, I've often started a poetry unit by asking my students to define poetry. It's a great exercise to both get a handle on what poetry is, but also all the amazing things that it can be.
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: carrots on May 28, 2018, 04:19 PM
That definition of poetry is from author Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who wrote "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."

Aha! I had no idea!

Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: phil-smith on June 25, 2018, 01:41 PM
Another great definition of poetry vs prose is: "poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking" - John Wain, British novelist
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: carrots on June 25, 2018, 02:41 PM
Another great definition of poetry vs prose is: "poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking" - John Wain, British novelist

Brilliant! Thanks, Phil!!!

 :carrot
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: JFriday on June 25, 2018, 05:03 PM
That is good, Phil!
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: Pons on June 25, 2018, 05:50 PM
The thing is so many definitions seem to make prose sound inferior, and I don't like that. Well written prose can literally take my breath away.
Title: Re: poetry defined
Post by: phil-smith on June 26, 2018, 09:17 AM
Hi Pons
I agree...with that in mind, I do think that walking is great and does sometimes "take your breath away"...walking and dancing are just two different kinds of movement...but both can take you somewhere else....