Poetry and Prose

Poetry and prose, whilst different disciplines, share common traits, and trying one can help with the other.

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Poetry can often be seen as this mystical thing that takes years of dedicated training and practice to get even somewhere close to a decent poem. At least that’s how I used to see poetry. Not that I really had any interest in poetry, to be honest. I was a writer, not a poet. But since getting involved with the poetry scene in Thanet I’ve come to realise something. Poetry is writing. Writing is poetry.

The same skills that you use to write that short story you can use to craft a poem (if that’s something that you would like to do). At its core, poetry is about crafting a story with your words. Yes, there’s a rhythm, and more rhyming that prose writing doesn’t usually contain, but with both disciplines all you’re doing is telling a story. They’re both about using words to illicit a response from the reader—or listener in the case of spoken word poetry—and I would argue that if you can write prose, you can do poetry; if you write poetry then you can do prose too.

Poetry, just like prose, gets better the more you try and the more that you expose yourself to that artform. You practice and you learn from others to get better at it. And, just like prose again, you have to find your own style before you can get good. My style for prose is, generally, very dark and disturbing. My poetry, which I write to be performed, is very sarcastic with a comedic tint. I started poetry doing what I thought poetry was; writing very emotive poems. This isn’t the only thing that poetry is and that’s important. Much like prose, to write well means writing what works best for you. If you want to write really emotive poetry about past loves, do it. If you want to write a poem about a talking fish, do it. Poetry is what you make it.

If you’re a prose writer, give poetry a go. If you’re a poetry writer, give prose a go. You can learn a lot from the other discipline to make your primary focus, if you have one, stronger. And practice is practice, no matter what you’re writing.

David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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