near Vancouver, BC, Canada
"Why not say a short story, a novel, or an essay is finite."
Because I wasn't talking about them. Separately they are finite.
"literature is not."
Well that depends. That which exists or has existed as a body of work is finite. That which is to come is possibly finite but I doubt it. (Hope springs eternal and all that)
My point was that a poem does not poetry make. Verse is not necessarily poetry. Any form is simply a form and absent the art it is at best a craft. What I mean is that the poem is on the page. The poetry is not. It is what the poet and audience create. A poem is finite. Poetry is not. It is not material.
If a poem is written:
I hated bugs
I would deny that was art, or poetry. But it is a poem.
If I wrote it as a single line of verse:
I hated bugs but slugs I dug
it is an even poorer poem but is not poetry.
I completely concur that line breaks and any other device or form or element does not make a product poetry. It may be an example of craftsmanship or charlatanship.
"And why haven't you considered the distinction between verse and poetry -- a distinction that I'd just as soon do away with because most people just don't get it ( see the confusion between poetry and 'poetry' above. )"
Because I didn't think I needed to. Verse is a device or a form element or simply a category of literature. It is a good non-judgmental term for all the confusion surrounding what constitutes poetry etc.
"If any one of these two types of writing are more "free" of form, it is prose, hands down. "
But no less a form. ex. It requires a grammar and punctuation more rigidly held than verse.
"It is free from any metrical consideration (other than paragraphs, chapters, etc). Poetry may not care what form you use... but it cares very much that you use a form."
Absolutely but I never said it didn't require a form to manifest itself (wooo.. poetry as an entity...)
Form is enforced even down to the basic units, words. But just because I have a car and drive a car doesn't make me a car. Just because poetry is invoked by words doesn't make the poetry words. Or the words, poetry.
"All poetry is metrical in the sense that it can be versified. "
Not true. At least not as absolutely as that. Haiku, for example, may not follow any recognizable meter. It may only have a natural but unrepeated rhythm because of its shortness. Iambic haiku would be possibly but not the norm.
I should define what I mean by form. Sorry, I forgot to do that. Form is the interface - the manner of communication - and includes the physical attributes of the poem: shape, style etc as well as presentation. It may be spoken, printed, concrete, free form or otherwise. Styles of poetry such as the sonnet or blank verse etc are part of form as you say. But it is broader than just "limerick".
"Wow, even writing that makes me realize that neither prose nor poetry are ever free of form. But form in my opinion does not restrict, it liberates and brings a sharpening of the nebulous. "
"Poetry is concrete."
Only if you define poetry as the form it has. I differentiate there. So I'll have to disagree and say that a poem is concrete. I'd agree with that. It's like saying it's finite.
"The simplest definition of poetry is "metrical writing". This is totally accurate.."
Metrical? No. Haiku is not necessarily metrical. But it has rhythm, which is far more complex than meter.
But even there, rhythmic writing is not enough to qualify. Otherwise "cat bat drat fat hat mat" would be in. In my opinion it requires two other elements. Poetry is the achievement of art through language, rhythm and form. If you drop out one or more element you will not achieve poetry. Leaving them all in is no guarantee either. But these are the primary elements. That's another topic though.
Poetry is the achievement of Art
through language, rhythm and form.
Poetry is the art of Achievement
through language, rhythm and form.