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I am pretty ignorant about poetry. I went through the usual English classes in High School, and well, I don't remember all that much. I remember more from Latin class—scansion, meter, and such. After all these years, it's something I really haven't delved into on my own.

There are a few people here who know quite a bit about poetry, though. So I thought I'd pose a question:

What does "style" mean in poetry? Seems to mean something different from style in prose, e.g. and author's "writing style" in a short story vs "epic style poem".

Here's the context:

Friend: I'm currently working on figuring out parts of my writing style. Specifically, my form and how it falls between structured (like sonnets or quatrains in aabb or something) and free verse. I'd like to know how people define form and what they think structured is/what free verse is.

Me: There is much more written about this than I can tell you. What I do know is style doesn't mean form--poets intentionally choose a form. Check out Jorge Luis Borges essays/interviews about poetry

Friend: How you describe style?

Me: In poetry, style means things like Lyric, Descriptive, Narrative. "Style of poem" means "type of poem". There is also the general "style of the author", which is similar to what style means in prose. Some variations of poetic style have a conventional structure or form. A sonnet is a poetic style that has a certain structure. So, I think for type/form/intent, you can say "poetic style". And then for diction, metaphor, imagery, tone, etc. we can say "writing style".

Then I looked around on the web for a bit, and felt that my characterization wasn't quite right. How would you clarify this--and how do you usually see "style" used in the context of poetry?

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