Hooray For Free Verse!

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"Free verse (from the French 'vers libre'), also called open form verse, is distinguished from traditional versification in that its rhythms are not organized into the regularity of meter; most free verse also lacks rhyme" (Hamilton 239).

All I can say is...HOORAY!  "I'm free to do what I want...any old time..."  Now I'm sure that the Rolling Stones did not have free verse in mind when they wrote that song but I felt that it was appropriate.  :)

Hamilton says "lacks rhyme" like it's a bad thing.  Read my previous entry on what to use in place of rhyme.  "Not organized into the regularity of meter"?  Not a problem!  That is what enjambment is for (they used to call me the Queen of Enjambment in my Creative Writing class).

Now, a lot of people argue that anybody could be a poet by writing free verse and that it takes actual skill to write contrained poems.  I agree that it takes A LOT of skill to write sonnets, sestinas, haikus, etc.  However, I disagree that anybody could be a poet by writing free verse.  You cannot just write anything down and call it poetry.  You have to give meaning to the words in other ways besides meter and rhyme.  That can be difficult too!  You have to be very particular about your word choice and you have to find another means to make your poem flow.  I sometimes think that they do not give free verse poets enough credit.  Just because they are free of the confines of structured poetry does not mean that they do not pay attention to what they write.  I consider myself primarily a free verse poet and I go through drafts and drafts before I even let other people read my poems. 

So, today we are paying special tribute to the underestimated free verse poets. 

For those about to free verse, we salute you!

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