The Art of Poetry
Poetry may be defined as an art form that makes use of sounds and rhythmic forms to express an emotion, idea or event in a dense and unusual manner. Since it is one of the oldest means of expression, and one that is unique to man, many different definitions of poetry have been suggested, although none seems to have truly grasped its whole essence. The most widespread of these is to define poetry in contrast to prose. In other words, poetry is the expression of emotions and ideas in rhyme, in a way that is pleasing to the ear and impossible in prose. Yet that definition also includes doggerel. The main difference between that and poetry, is the depth of the former and the superficiality of the latter. For centuries, metre and rhyme have been seen as the defining characteristic of poetry. However, in the same way that these on their own are not enough to produce poetry, the 20th century has seen a large quantity of very successful free verse, containing neither. The question of where prose begins and ends has therefore become an important one. In prose, language is simply a means by which information is passed on, and words have no meaning outside that function. In poetry, the stress is on the words themselves as much as their inherent meaning. In other words, the way a thing is said is more important that what is actually being conveyed.