Modern Poetry: written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure, rhyme or aesthetic embellishment, such as in newspaper articles, literature, and etc.
Traditional Poetry: literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm, with a focus on aesthetics. This is also referred to as "Verse."
To illustrate this further, here is an excerpt from Moliere's play, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, wherein Monsieur Jourdain asked for something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master replied that "there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse," for the simple reason being that "everything that is not prose is verse, and everything that is not verse is prose."
In Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Third Populist Manifesto, Modern Poetry is Prose, (But it is Saying Plenty), he writes that most modern poetry is prose. What I want to emphasize here is a phase that I coined, and which I stand, by regarding modern poetry (Prose, Free Verse, Open Verse, etc.) and traditional poetry (rhyming, metered verse): "It is not a matter of merit, but one of preference."
During my highschool years, I happened upon a book on Method Acting by.Anton Chekhov in which he instructed the actor to think of someone they liked or thought they understood. They were to be that person by imitating every observable nuance characteristic of that person. He concluded that the actor would not only understand why they liked that person,but that they would like them even more after they performed the exercise. I tried it, and it worked.
Then Chekhov said to think of someone the actor didn't like or didn't understand, and to apply this exercise with that person as the subject He said that this would illuminate not only why the actor didn't like the person, but promised that the actor would also realize a new affinity with, and understanding of, the subject. Wow! Point made.
Anton Chekhov was instrumental in opening my mind to giving prose a try. I started with the works of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. I studied his prose, imitated his focus and form, and pretended to be him for perhaps a month or so. I learned a great deal about prose in the process, and the apprehensions I had about prose slipped off like loosened shackles. Here is an early example of my pros from Echoes, Neo-Victorian Poetry:
There is a pattern upon the land
Following no pattern at all.
Rubies, diamonds, emeralds and jade
Adorn every rhythm of man,
Showing a canopy of stars as pale
Above their silent brilliance.
Though clouds and fog may briefly
Obscure the witnessing of heavenly stars,
“Tis a vapor of many forms
Could put an end
To the lights of man.
An unexpected discovery that I made while "being Ferlinghetti" was the profound revelation that I am not a prose writer, anymore than I am that person I learned to like under Chekhov's tutelage all those years ago. Though I can play the part now and then, I am me, and my home base is firmly rooted in traditional poetry. My esteemed siblings write prose.