Why do people like poetry? How is the enjoyment of poetry unlike the enjoyment of prose? How are poetry and prose alike?

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I think that the choice between poetry and prose might be dependent on the type of experiences one has had with both as a learner of both.  In my experience, students who have had awful times with learning poetry will most probably feature a negative or disparaging view of it.  Students who have had positive experiences with it usually embrace it.  I think that the choice might be a false one because there is a spirit of greatness that runs through both, but for students I think their preference is largely determinant to their prior experiences with either.  This becomes why the teaching of both in a competant manner becomes critical, especally at the younger stages where those impressions become dominant quite quickly with experience.

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I love poetry because it is succinct.  I love how a complicated topic is dealt with in so few words or lines, but that there are infinite ways to look at and interpret those lines and words.  I especially love it because it makes me think in ways that prose doesn't...I truly have to concentrate on every word and detect the meaning (because most words have mulitiple meanings and/or connotations) that the author intended.  It's like a puzzle, and I love puzzles!

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In most cases, I think people like poetry for the special use it makes of language.  Most poems are shorter than other forms of composition (novels, short stories, plays).  This naturally forces the writer to be much more selective/disciplined in his/her choice of words/symbols/images.  This level of craftsmanship, when tied with some of the conventions of poetry (rhyme, meter etc) where they are appropriate, creates what Coleridge calls "the best words in the best order."  This works in lyric poetry, in narrative poetry, and in poetry that doesn't always look like poetry.

Since words are the major tools we have for communication, using them with great skill represents one of our highest achievements.   In prose we get words used in their broadest application and enjoy them for the scope and breath of information they give us; in poetry we appreciate the condensation and craftsmanship that brings many of the same realities to us.

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Poetry and prose are alike in that they are both forms of written communication between writer and reader; both are intended to accomplish a writer's purpose (or sometimes several purposes), and both employ literary techniques. Writers of prose express themselves in sentences, whereas poets write in lines of poetry. Poetry (which may or may not rhyme) employs rhythm to a greater extent than prose, and rhythm in a particular poem may or may not fall into regular patterns.

Readers of poetry and prose enjoy these literary forms for somewhat different reasons, but both forms are enjoyed for the effective use of language. A particular poem might be appreciated for the emotion it evokes in the reader, but the same can be said for a good short story, play, or novel. People who enjoy poetry often love its sound techniques, the rhyme and the rhythm of it. A poem may also offer very vivid imagery within only a few lines creating a strong impact upon the reader.

People who love poetry may favor certain kinds of poems. Some poems (narrative poems) tell a story, while others, like those of the imagists, simply paint a picture. The one common factor in the enjoyment of poetry seems to be this. Those who love poetry love language and what can be achieved with carefully selected words arranged artfully in lines.

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