Poetry Vs. Narrative

I noticed several recent blog posts concerning poetry versus narrative.  In 2009 I responded to that question by a follower of my poetry:

Writing is a form of art.  Be it prose or narrative, the writer is attempting to communicate; no different than a painter using oil as a medium.

The concept of ‘painting with words’ applies to all writing.  The writer needs to move away from the ’structural’ restrictions so many adhere to; those external controls (i.e., format, tone) that restrict how ‘abstract’ our paintings can be.

Poetry facilitates the communication of feeling through visual perception to its maximum.  In other words, poetry, far better than narrative, allows you to choreograph the reader’s eyes across the page by the application of structure (word count per line, meter, verse, indentation, use of punctuation, or the intentional lack of punctuation, syllable count, rhyme, near rhyme, etc.) and word choice. Poetry is offering you a pallet of colors to paint feelings from. By the use of this choreographing you are not just imparting words, but invoking the same cues the recipient would get if he/she listened to you read it – your voice inflection – and watched your body language.

To illustrate my comment, here is a piece of narrative from an unpublished novel: (followed by the poetry example…continue reading)


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