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Free verse poetry: An artistic visual

Free verse, alos called open form verse, is distinguished from the traditional versification in that its rhythms are not organized into the regularity of meter; most free verse also lacks rhyme.
Hamilton, Essential Literary Terms (226-246) -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

Many people think that writing poetry in free verse is the easiest way out. After reading Hamilton's definition of the term, I realized that that this is not the case. Because of their lack of any set meter or rhyme, poets who use the open form of free verse must come up with creative ways to add meaning to their poems. In closed form poems, poets can use the meter, rhyme scheme of their selected form to enhance the meaning of their words, but in a free verse poem the poet has no previosly set form to rely on for this. Instead he has to depend on his own creativity, using the division of his words, sentences and lines to convey additional meaning to his carefully chosen words. In this way, free verse almost becomes a form of visual art, as the poet creates a poem that not only contains meaning in its words, but also in the visual layout of these words.

Comments (3)

In my opinion an additional drive behind free verse poetry that makes it just as meaningful and valid in the literary world as structured poetic works is the way in which it is read aloud. Though we do not always have the luxury of having the author recite the work.

I agree with your comment as free verse as a visual art, but is that implying that it must be performed in order to truly be understood. If I hand you a free verse poem is it going to hold the same amount of meaning and convey the same things as if I had performed it for you?

To my ear rhyme makes sense but this world we live in doesn't. This is why i prefer free verse. I feel rhyme is perfectly valid but also representative of a simpler time. Plus the rhyming superstars of our time are the hip hop singer songwriters. If Shelly was alive today he would probably hang around 10cents and Eminem.

This poem below i wrote a few years ago. I believe that you not only will understand it, but see that it simply works, and both those qualities make it valid.


These moments that measure us collect as dust
on our furniture and fittings
from the decay of our skin.

You can lift our weight with strength of your breath
And lose us in our rooms
blow us gently into a line of light
and we will perform an individual dance -
tattered flakes of tissue proof celebrating
despite gravity’s incorruptible hold.


Never was here:

poets must have trouble writing haikus


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