While there is no difference that may be exactly defined between prose and poetry, there is a gulf between the prosaic and poetic as extreme limiting terms of tendencies in experience. One of them realizes the power of words to express what is in heaven and earth and under the seas by means of extension; the other by intension. The prosaic is an affair of description and narration, of details accumulated and relations elaborated, It spreads as it goes like a legal document or catalogue. The poetic reverses the process. It condenses and abbreviates, thus giving words an energy of expansion that is almost explosive. A poem presents material so that it becomes a universe in itself, one, which, even when it is a miniature whole, is not embryonic any more than it is labored through argumentation. There is something self-enclosed and self-limiting in a poem, and this self-sufficiency is the reason, as well as the harmony and rhythm of sounds, why poetry is, next to music, the most hypnotic of the arts. (Art as Experience)
For me, novels and stories can also be "poetic" in the sense Dewey delineates here. Indeed, my previous post was meant to illustrate exactly this claim (while abjuring the reflexive association of the poetic with "pretty words"). Too many works of fiction are content to be affairs "of description and narration, of details accumulated and relations elaborated," while too few attempt to give "words an energy of expansion that is almost explosive," to become "self-sufficient" in their effort to create "a universe in itself." To take Dewey's notion of "art as experience" a little farther: Too many novels and stories settle for describing experience; too few manage to become experiences in themselves.