Quotation by Howard Nemerov

Valery ... said that prose was walking, poetry dancing. Indeed, the original two terms, prosus and versus meant, respectively, "going straight forth" and "returning," and that distinction does point up the tendency of poetry to incremental repetition, variation, and the treatment of different themes in a single form. Robert Frost said shrewdly that poetry was what got left behind in translation, which suggests a criterion of almost scientific refinement: when in doubt, translate; whatever is left over is poetry, whatever gets through is prose. And yet even to so cagy a definition the great exception is a resounding one: some of the greatest poetry we have is the Authorized Version of the Bible, which is not only a translation but also, as to its appearance in print, identifiable neither with verse nor with prose in English but rather with cadence compounded of both.
Howard Nemerov (1920–1991), U.S. poet, novelist, critic. "The Protean Encounter," Reflexions on Poetry and Poetics, Rutgers University Press (1972).
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