“I’d add that poems are often metaphorical or symbolic, and are structured by stanzas” — Alyssa
Alyssa posted this early on in the discussion, snd I think that it is a good example of the classes initial thoughts on poetry. Not many of us have much experience with poetry, but we knew enough from past readings that poetry usually has some common characteristics, like metaphorical language and a unique structure.
“Some poems tell stories. Some novels have lyric moments. Some plays have narrators. The point of having the conversation is to try and get at the essence of what makes these genres tick.” — Jason Coates
In response to similar statements, Jason pointed out that there is more overlap between genres than we would think, and that looking only at surface structures, we would not have a complete definition. We would have to look further.
“I would distinguish a poem from a novel or play by looking at the poetic features as well as grammar used in the poem. Novels are usually longer than poems and, in my opinion, they use descriptive language and actions of the characters to express their emotions. There is no set structure in poetry like there is for novels and plays (plot). Poetry can have different forms (some have structure, some do not, others have rhymes while some do not as well) using poetic features to describe the emotions behind the meaning of the poem.” — Catherine Fu
Catherine Fu added here that there are underlying structures that can help separate the genres, and that was plot. Narrative fiction relies on plot and conflict to keep it interesting, while poetry relies more heavily on emotion and form. Of course, there are many poems with plot, but I think that this part of the discussion is where we got closest to the main difference between poetry and other genres. While there are general formatting and content trends that were discussed, I think that looking to the deeper supports of the works has been the most productive.