From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Prose is writing distinguished from poetry by its greater variety of rhythm and its closer resemblance to the patterns of everyday speech. The word prose comes from the Latin prosa, meaning straightforward, hence the term "prosaic," which is often seen as pejorative. Prose describes the type of writing that prose embodies, unadorned with obvious stylistic devices. Prose writing is usually adopted for the description of facts or the discussion of whatever one's thoughts are, incorporated in free flowing speech. Thus, it may be used for newspapers, capers, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcast media, films, letters, debtor's notes, famous quotes, murder mystery, history, philosophy, biography, linguistic geography and many other forms of media.
Prose generally lacks the formal structure of meter or rhyme that is often found in poetry. Although some works of prose may happen to contain traces of metrical structure or versification, a conscious blend of the two forms of literature is known as a prose poem. Similarly, poetry with less of the common rules and limitations of verse is known as free verse. Poetry is considered to be artificially developed ("The best words in the best order"), whereas prose is thought to be less constructed and more reflective of ordinary speech. Pierre de Ronsard, the French poet, said that his training as a poet had proved to him that prose and poetry were mortal enemies. In Molière's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain asks something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master says to him, "Sir, there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse". Jourdain replies, "By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that."