Sunday, October 25, 2009

Prose vs. Poetry

In class the other day we discussed what Williams Carlos Williams thinks the difference between poetry and prose is. It was mentioned that Williams thinks that “poetry feeds the imagination and prose [feeds] the emotions”. I thought it was weird that Williams said this because I think that both poetry and prose can feed both the imagination and emotions. Williams’ parts of prose in Spring and All definitely fed to the imagination. Williams also said that poetry is a pure art, like music. I agree that poetry is like art, but I think that prose can be very artistic also. Just because prose does not have any meter or structure to it, does not make it any less artistic than poetry. Prose can be even more thought-provoking and full of imagery than poetry. I’m kind of confused about Williams view on prose. I feel like he does not give it enough credit, but on the other hand he uses a lot of prose in Spring and All.
He does say that both prose and poetry” move centrifugally and centripetally toward the intelligence”. I agree with this, but I found it strange because earlier in the book he said “only through the imagination is the advance of intelligence possible”. However, later he says that poetry is the “crystallization of the imagination” rather than prose. So how can both poetry and prose move toward the intelligence, when only poetry feeds the imagination, which makes the advancement of intelligence possible? (Maybe I’m just looking into it too much) I feel as though both poetry and prose are equally important in feeding the imagination and in the advancement of intelligence.
I also wonder what everyone thinks about Williams’s prose and poetry. Do you guys like his prose better or his poetry? Does his definition of poetry and prose fit with what he is writing?


  1. I think his definitions kind of work; however, his writing seems pretty disorganized and unclear. It almost seems as though he avoids violating his rules by not properly writing anything that could possibly violate those rules.

  2. I think that in Williams's case, except that he says otherwise, both prose and poetry have the essence of imagination that he stresses. Both his prose and poetry are strongly centered and focused on his ideas, so I think in actual practice, both styles are actually quite the same fundamentally, although their method of presentation is different.


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