It has been said that "music hath charms to soothe the savage breast," but music as an auditory language does so much more than that. At its dramatic best, entirely by a progressively developing combination of melody, harmony, and rhythm (and with or without words), it can inspire and elevate the human spirit with visions of beauty and sensations of excitement, passion, and joy. Listening to music and reading-thinking about it can open up vistas of the imagination—of ways of experiencing and living—and express feelings and images that are often difficult to capture in words or the static arts such as painting and sculpture.


Far from being merely an occasional pastime or grace note in the grand arena of art, poetry has the potential to be uniquely important, indeed irreplaceable, in our lives. Poetry in what is called "the Great Tradition" of metrical verse (an underlying pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables artfully varied to yield distinctively "poetic" effects) has given countless generations the pleasure of the perfect integration of experience, language, and emotion—the paradigm of human awareness. Although poetry today is virtually equated with brief "free verse" (non-metrical) lyrics, the Great Tradition comprises forms (always metrical) such as the epic (Homer), sonnet sequence (Shakespeare), philosophical manifesto (Dante), theater masterpiece (Yeats), satire (Pope), patriotic tribute (Kipling), thrilling ballad (Wilde), and many others.


Prose is any form of writing that communicates academic or imaginative information, opinion, or analyses of ideas in a natural "spoken" and grammatical language fashion. Prose as art, however, "tells" fictional tales from short stories to long novels that open mental-emotional vistas for readers to experience ideas, places, and people (or other active "real" or fantastical creatures) in a condensed form with a beginning, a middle, and an end that constitutes a journey into an originally invented made-up world of a writer.