"When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn't change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation." - Wu Qiao

Comparison chart

Poetry versus Prose comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartPoetryProse
Introduction (from Wikipedia) Poetry (from the Latin poeta, a poet) is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning. Prose is the most typical form of language. The English word 'prose' is derived from the Latin prōsa, which literally translates as 'straight-forward.'
Line breaks? Yes No
Use Typically reserved for expressing something in an artistic way. Most everyday writing is in prose form
Type of language Poetry tends to be more expressive than prose withy rhythm, rhyme and comparisons contributing to a different sound and feel. Prose is generally more straightforward, without much decoration.
Ideas Contained in lines which may or may not be in sentences. Lines are arranged in stanzas. Arranged in paragraphs.
Capitalisation Traditionally, the first letter of every line is capitalised, but many modern poets choose not to follow this rule strictly. The first word of every sentence is capitalised.
Appearance The shape of a poem can vary, depending on the intent of the poet. E.g. concrete poems are arranged in a certain shape. Large blocks of writing
Credits Wikipedia, QuizWhizz66 Wikipedia, QuizWhizz66

Prose vs. Poetry Definition

Poetry noun

  1. the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.
  2. literary work in metrical form; verse.

Poetry is language spoken or written according to some pattern of recurrence that emphasises relationships between words on the basis of sound as well as meaning. This pattern is almost always a rhythm or metre (regular pattern of sound units). This pattern may be supplemented by ornamentation such as rhyme or alliteration or both.



  1. the ordinary form of spoken or written language, without metrical structure, as distinguished from poetry or verse.
  2. matter-of-fact, commonplace, or dull expression, quality, discourse, etc.

Prose is the form of written language that is not organised according to formal patterns of verse. It may have some sort of rhythm and some devices of repetition and balance, but these are not governed by regularly sustained formal arrangement. The significant unit is the sentence, not the line. Hence it is represented without line breaks in writing.

Prose Poetry

Prose poetry is poetry written in prose instead of using verse but preserving poetic qualities such as heightened imagery and emotional effects. It can be considered primarily poetry or prose, or a separate genre altogether. While prose poetry in the West originated in the 19th century, it has gain more popularity since the 1980s.

Quoting Poetry vs Quoting Prose

It is normal to quote prose texts by indenting the quotation if it will run more than four lines on the page (this refers to from the left to the right margin, not to poetic lines). If the quotation is shorter, it may be integrated into the main text.

In writing about poetry, it is essential to indicate these line breaks when quoting a poem. The standard way is to indent the text. However, for short quotes under five lines it is conventional to integrate the quote into your writing and indicate the line breaks with a slash. For example, in the above limerick “an epicure dining at Crewe / Found a very large bug in his stew.” It is absolutely essential to indicate the line breaks in the correct format for the length of the quotation.

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