The Instigator
shakuntala
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
ModusTollens
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

free verse is just prose and not poetry

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
ModusTollens
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/2/2013 Category: Arts
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,090 times Debate No: 35218
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

shakuntala

Pro

This work points out
http://www.scribd.com...

Based on the definition of free verse it follows free verse is not poetry but only prose

http://en.wikipedia.org...
.
"In poetry, metre (meter in American English) is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse "
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"The word "verse" is commonly used in lieu of "poetry" to distinguish it from prose. Where the common unit of poetry, that is, verse, is based on meter or rhyme

A verse is formally a single metrical line in a poetic composition"

Free verse is usually defined as having no fixed meter and no end rhyme"

Thus free verse is not poetry/verse but only prose and those who write it are not poets as free verse is not in metre-which is the defining essence of poetry ie which makes a writing poetry

if free verse is poetry then there is no way to tell free verse from prose
also if free verse is poetry then the works Dickens or Tolstoy or any prose writer is poetry
and the telephone directory or encyclopedia are poetry
ModusTollens

Con

Poetry itself is not verse. As it says in the above quoted Wikipedia page, "The word "verse" is commonly, though incorrectly, used in lieu of "poetry" to distinguish it from prose." http://en.wikipedia.org... What this separation between the terms establishes is that although a formal verse is metrical, this requirement to contain meter does not extend to the definition of a poem. As a matter of fact, the definition of poetry is as follows: "Poetry is a form of literary art which uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language"such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre"to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning." http://en.wikipedia.org... Nowhere in this definition is metre made a necessary requirement of poetry. Instead, rhythm is more a key to the form. Even in the first essay my opponent quotes above, the author says, "Technically you can only call something poetry if it has structure i.e. metre or rhythm." If this author is correct, then writing with either metre or rhythm could potentially be considered poetry. Free verse often relies very heavily upon the rhythm of speech, and it is perfectly allowed to utilize other poetic techniques. Therefore, it is ludicrous to assert that free verse can be classified as prose merely because it lacks metre.

That said, the cited work by Colin leslie dean is badly wrong in saying that including either metre or rhythm is necessary to create poetry. The express use of the aesthetic qualities of language to evoke meaning is central to the definition of the craft. Consequently, any piece in which language is used to evoke meaning outside of the words themselves is poetry. The presence of line breaks changes the rhythm of reading speaking and is poetic in and of itself. In addition, repetition of words or phrases can be a poetic device that expresses meaning that is not held merely within the words themselves. In free verse, poetry is achieved by means in many ways dissimilar to other poetic forms; however, words are used both denotatively and aesthetically, and this is the essence of the poetic endeavor.
Debate Round No. 1
shakuntala

Pro

you say
"Therefore, it is ludicrous to assert that free verse can be classified as prose merely because it lacks metre."

so tell us what is the difference between free verse and prose
ModusTollens

Con

As I quoted above, the definition of poetry is: "Poetry is a form of literary art which uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language-such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre-to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning." This states rather clearly the difference between poetry generally and prose. In layman's terms, prose relies more or less exclusively on the denotations and connotations evoked by words to express meaning while poetry uses (either exclusively or in addition to denotation and connotation) secondary aspects of the act of typing words to evoke meaning. This is not merely metrical; it can be any aesthetic or symbolic quality that is outside of the direct meaning of the words themselves.

Free verse is highly rhythmic, and it is broken into lines. The positioning of line breaks are meaningful in many cases because it creates pauses in rhythmic structure that are not a part of prosaic, grammatical writing. Repeating patterns of words, punctuation outside the rules of grammar, and grammatically unnecessary repetition are all aspects of free verse that differentiate it from prose. Although free verse does use typical structural means to meet the definition of poetry, it heavily utilizes methods of making points and shifting meaning that are outside of the prosaic constraints of the meaning of words to make messages clear. As such, free verse is a separate form of writing from prose, and it is firmly within the poetry camp.
Debate Round No. 2
shakuntala

Pro

con contradicts himself
1)
you say
"As I quoted above, the definition of poetry is: "Poetry is a form of literary art which uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language-such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre-to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning."

note your definition of poetry includes metre
but free verse is not in metre
thus it cant be poetry

con gives a definition of free vere which prose can fullfill
2)you say

"Free verse is highly rhythmic, and it is broken into lines.."
but that can be prose as well

con does not answer my question
3) you did not answer my question
what the difference between free verse and prose

thus con has not refuted my claim that free is not poetry
ModusTollens

Con

In no way did I contradict myself. In the first instance above,the definition includes phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre as examples of the rhythmic qualities of language. To read that definition as saying that any of the three are necessary characteristics of a poem is incorrect. The essence of the poem is that it uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language that go beyond the direct meaning of the words. Metre is a method of achieving this, but it is in no way the only way of doing so.

The second quote of mine you give, "Free verse is highly rhythmic, and it is broken into lines," does not refer to prose. Of course prose is composed of lines; this is because paper is not infinitely long. It is, however, not broken into lines by specific and intentional line breaks, which is what I was clearly referring to.

Finally, I very clearly answered Pro's question. In round 2, my first paragraph clearly distinguished poetry from prose in a general sense, and then the second paragraph specifically distinguished free verse from prose and explained how free verse does fall into the poetry camp. Pro may not be satisfied with this answer, but I feel no need to reiterate a point already made clear. I shall leave it to the voters to decide whether I made my refutation sufficiently clearly.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
No worries, and thanks for your reading/voting!
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Correct! My apologies.

And, by the way, that is the kind of comment that a debater may appropriately make even _during_ the debate.
Posted by ModusTollens 3 years ago
ModusTollens
Wiploc, I'll just humbly point out that it was my opponent, Pro, who continued the debate in the comments. :-)
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Now, Con, now that the voting is over, is the time to make any additional comments.
Posted by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
Conduct to Pro, because con continued the debate in the comments. Con's points made in the comments should be ignored by the voters.

S&G to Con, because Pro's opening post was too hard to understand.

Persuasion to Con, because Con dealt very effectively with Pro's arguments, and Pro dropped all of Con's arguments.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
Pro has accused con of cheating in the forums. Due to drama, I shall not vote on this. http://www.debate.org...
Posted by shakuntala 3 years ago
shakuntala
con contradicts himself

he says
"
As I quoted above, the definition of poetry is: "Poetry is a form of literary art which uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language-such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre-to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning."
1)
note his definition says
"As I quoted above, the definition of poetry is: "Poetry is a form of literary art which uses....and metre-to evoke meanings"

note his definition says "and" which means poetry must include metre

but free verse has no metre so it cant be poetry

con says
"The essence of the poem is that it uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language that go beyond the direct meaning of the words. Metre is a method of achieving this, but it is in no way the only way of doing so.

there may be other ways of achieving rhythm but the definition of poetry specifically states that metre is the rhythmic structure of poetry

http://en.wikipedia.org....
.
"In poetry, metre (meter in American English) is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse "
http://en.wikipedia.org...
also verse is just another name for poetry and

"The word "verse" is commonly used in lieu of "poetry" to distinguish it from prose. Where the common unit of poetry, that is, verse, is based on meter or rhyme

note it again says
Where the common unit of poetry, that is, verse, is based on meter or rhyme
again
specifically states that metre is the rhythmic structure of poetry

4) con says

"Of course prose is composed of lines; this is because paper is not infinitely long. It is, however, not broken into lines by specific and intentional line breaks, which is what I was clearly referring to."

putting words into intentional line breaks does not make a work poetry
so is he saying if I break up the prose of a Dickens book into intentional line breaks, that then makes Dickens books poetry
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by wiploc 3 years ago
wiploc
shakuntalaModusTollensTied
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Total points awarded:14 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Enji 3 years ago
Enji
shakuntalaModusTollensTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con distinguishes free verse from prose by noting that the line breaks in free verse have meaning while line breaks in prose do not. Pro ignores this distinction claiming that Con never addressed the question, which is false. Arguments to Con.