Poetry as a craft can be challenging because it takes the form of verse, rather than prose. Verse operates much like music, in that rhythm and meter deliver meaning through a structure the artist deliberately chose. So not only are you interpreting language through nuance and tone, the meaning itself is nuanced based on form and subtlety. Prose is simply the normal, common way of communicating, devoid of lyrical meter or poetic structure. Both these forms can elevate our worldly experience, the difference though, lies in the how. To truly engage the verse style, one must do the legwork to follow the meter and rhythm as the author tonally intended. For prose, in order for the reader to enter the fictional illusion, they must simply give their imaginations over to the author, plot(s), and characters.
The form does indeed affect the subject-matter. Page 358: "And in any criticism of poetry, of course, it seems natural to judge primarily by the ear. For in verse the words--the sounds of words, their associations, and the harmonies of sound and association that two or three words together can set up--obviously matter more than they do in prose. Otherwise there would be no reason for writing in metrical form." In the poem Orwell cites, the author uses archaic language to create a Saxon tone, one which, to him, aides in the emotional state he's going for. He views it as a "synthesis of of special vocabulary and social and religious outlook." (360) It sounds simple, but creating a particular tone like he did, as well as "lift an ordinary village death on to the plane of tragedy" (358) in twenty-four lines is impressive, especially since ten of those lines has one or two words. Prose style usually takes much longer because by definition it's not as concise. Prose has a lot more fillers, more interstitial devices, which over time build great equity, but even in terms of a short story, is much longer and bloated than a tight, efficient poem.
Verse poetry can certainly be more challenging to read, but the payoff can be no different in gravity than prose. Verse poetry's demand of legwork on the reader is somewhat egotistical indeed, though the focus it requires certainly brings a payoff in the end. Thus its involvement of the intellect to tease out social outlook, meaning and origin of nuance, conveying only what is necessary to the author for driving the particular meaning they have in mind forward, makes verse poetry a microscope of experiential phenomena. The long narrative arcs which prose is tended toward builds a larger, fuller world, with a myriad of phenomena which all require certain nutrition (words, words, and more words). Sometimes it's not so good to enter a full world though. Sometimes we need to just focus intensely on particular things; things often missed in our lives and relationships.
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