Poetry vs. Story

Before I begin the main content of this post, let me say ‘chill’. Because from now, hopefully, you will not have to face the influx of poetry here the way it had been in last few days 🙂

Next the ubiquitous (on this blog) disclaimer – this comes completely from personal experience. Please do not take any offense if it seems to be like an attack on your literary capabilities. It’s not intended to be so. To repeat, this is completely a personal experience.

I have always found writing poetry to be easier than writnig stories. Why easy or tough, I have not been able to write even a single real story till date. Whenever I tried writing one, it became more like a page from my diary than a story really. Why? The element of fiction was always missing. I ended up narrating my experience rather than writing a story. Now, that might be a good thing to do if you want to be an honest journalist, but not if you want to be a story writer. It’s not really a story-writing talent, if the fiction is missing from the story. There can always be inspirations – but describing a real incident as such (no matter how creative your language or expressions are) is journalism, to me at least.

Now, what happens with poetry? Isn’t some imagination, some fictional element required there too? This is where lies the beauty and easy thing about poetry. You can decide to separate the incidents from the idea and it will still be a poetry; in fact a better poetry than if you hadn’t made the separation. If you do the same with a story, it might become a poetic prose, but the fun of story is gone really.

That’s why I find it easier to write poetry. You do not have to own the incidents, the character, the inspiration for writing poetry. It’s supposed to convey idea and this separation eliminates the need of compulsory presence of fictional element. Of course, if someone is adept at putting fiction there, it is good. But even without that poetry, good enough poetry, can be produced.

IIML students would like to say – poetry is ‘GLOBE’ then 🙂

One thought on “Poetry vs. Story

  1. Since I am removing the Haloscan Comments, I am copy-pasting the comments I got on this post here.

    Yeah! If they say it’s a GLOBE, can’t they see the day part of any globe and relive it?

    Isn’t not a poetry is made of tiny stories in each line?
    Prem Piyush | Email | Homepage | 02.02.05 – 4:52 pm | #

    Prem: That was a light comment, as should be obvious from the smiley following it. Don’t make so much out of it.
    Jaya Jha | Homepage | 02.02.05 – 5:11 pm | #

    Poetry is easier to write than a story.
    Apurva | 02.03.05 – 10:26 am | #

    I would say, it is easier to produce something “looking like a poetry” than to produce something “looking like a story”. That is why everybody is a poet.. I know because I spent sometime collecting articles for Meander 😛
    abhaya | 02.03.05 – 11:14 am | #

    Arre Abhaya – Analysis par kee gayee meri saari mehnat par aise paani mat phero

    “Looking like Poetry” ke upar to poora Mahakavya likha ja sakta hai 😀 and both of us might have a fair share in increasing the thickness of that Mahakavya!!
    Jaya Jha | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 1:21 pm | #

    I still think Jabberwocky was better…
    Abhaga kii mehnat…
    linux-kernel-2.6.5-7.109.12-vd | 02.03.05 – 3:54 pm | #

    I do not know what “looks” like a poetry.
    If something appeals to me and is written with a poetic license, then it is poetry to me.
    But just because I cannot appreciate something written does not mean that it is not poetry…
    Apurva | 02.03.05 – 3:56 pm | #

    Perhaps, it is best to let it to the writer to decide what s/he wrote is poetry or not…
    Apurva | 02.03.05 – 3:56 pm | #

    Can anyone tell what constitutes a poetry? I’ve found it mostly with exaggerated form of emotional expression.
    In Hindi poetry, I mostly identify poetry by three means:
    a. some words get repeated (a form of exaggeration but one of the most important indicators) or the ending words in two stanza should be similar sounding (I forgot the technical name. perhaps simile)
    b. some words are kinda reserved for poetry
    c. I never understood some of the poetries (open to interpretation. can’t have that leverage in a story)
    Sandeep | 02.03.05 – 5:16 pm | #

    Ummm…..well, Sandeep, I don’t think poetry needs to rhyme. I, for one, hate people asking me why I don’t make lines rhyme.

    Poetry is a way of expression that plays with words, uses metaphors and subtlety to convey a message. Rhyming is what kids do…..
    Johnny Boy | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 8:23 pm | #

    Johnny Boy: I think it is like, first one only does rhyming. Then they realize that it is mere tukbandi and they wander into the domain of expressing freely and after spending sometime there, they find out that without discipline, there is no beauty in expression. And that is when real good and rich poetry is born. A lot of poetry is celebrated in critical analysis but only a small section of that is actually popular with the masses. Reason is that lack of this “fluidity” if I can borrow that word . Bachchan, Neeraj both are excellent examples of this.
    abhaya | 02.03.05 – 9:06 pm | #

    Jaya: I was replying specifically to Apurva. As such, I agree that the poetic freedom has no match. While writing stories in perticular, one has to remain bounded by the limits of “desh-kaal”. Moreover, writing big stories i.e. Novels is another thing all together. The amount of content that is needed in writing a novel is itself so enormous (well, Mahakavyas and khand kavyas are there but I think most of them stick to known historical and Mythological themes).
    abhaya | 02.03.05 – 9:12 pm | #

    Apurva: Consider this:
    “Hawa chali,
    chipkali ki taang,
    makdi ke jaale me,
    fansi rahi, fansi rahi, fansi rahi.”

    I have some difficulty in putting it in the same category as we put most of the poetry in. And about the poetic license, well author is none other than Agyeya. And compare this to “Maine aahuti ban dekha” by the same poet. Sometimes the kind of things they produced in Prayogvaad and Nayi Kavita took the freedom of expression a bit too far I think.
    abhaya | 02.03.05 – 9:17 pm | #

    Abhaya, totally agree with you. Most people do indeed start off with rhyming….the point is, you need to realize that there’s much more to poetry than rhyming…..limericks also rhyme, doesn’t make them poetry.

    As far as freedom goes, poetry gives you all the latitude possible to use metaphors. That’s why I like writing. I can speak of my life and deepest feelings without betraying them to the reader. yet, the reader can feel an underlying current at times. You convey an emotion, yet without ever explicitly mentioning it. That is beauty…..
    Johnny Boy | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 10:09 pm | #

    Jaya, I disagree with you on one thing. You say that in poetry you need not own anything. But the fact is, you do. More than in prose. Because unless you just write manufactured and contrived stuff, poetry has a habit of reflecting YOU.

    When I write, I just let my pen go free on the paper. I don’t think too much of the words…they flow. And that’s why you own poetry much more than you ever own prose….
    Johnny Boy | Homepage | 02.03.05 – 10:12 pm | #

    Abhaya: I would say that poetry encompasses a wide variety of writing styles.
    Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, and other poets of the romantic era wrote it in a style that is still used in most hindi films.
    TS Elliot belongs to the post-modern era and is very different.
    I would say that Gibran’s The Prophet is also poetry! Though people think it is prose-poetry.

    Check out this link —

    I think it covers the problem admirably.
    Apurva | 02.04.05 – 10:37 am | #

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