Free verse does not necessarily equal freedom

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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 p.239)

So this sounds like an open ball game, right? Well, not necessarily so. Sure, you can write pretty much anything and say, "Here, this is a poem." In fact:

Here is a poem.

There, a free verse poem. Too bad it is pretty much a thoughtless nothing and therefore awful. It may be free from rhyme and meter, but a poet must still apply imagery and other such poetic devices to make up for the lack of rhyme and meter. Essentially, the free verse poem has to be either so good that it does not need to be confined by rhyme and meter, or it needs to be too good  to be confined by rhyme and meter.

Either is pretty challenging.


But context is important, too. I could be standing in front of sunset, or a bustling street scene, or someone's grave, or nothing special at all, and dramatically insist, "*Here* is a poem!"

The result would be an artistic statement -- a non-obvious claim.

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