Prose writing

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J M Y Simpson (Letters, 18 October) criticises Allan Massie for saying that “prose is translatable as poetry isn’t” and cites a scholarly list of poets to prove it.

He has misread Massie’s statement, which does not say “… and poetry isn’t”, but “as poetry isn’t”. Massie, as always, is absolutely accurate.

In any language prose writing follows a very specific formulaic discipline. Poetry would lose all its point, all its beauty, if it did the same.

Peter Laidlaw

Edinburgh