Free Verse – By Rachel Martin

I can’t tell you how delighted I am to write this post.

As you know, free verse is my favourite form of poetry.

I don’t know what you think but personally, I find it so liberating to write poetry of this kind.

Of course, to get a clearer idea of what I mean, you should first understand what free verse is.

So here are the main characteristics of free verse:

  • It is unrestrained by traditional boundaries and strict rules of poetry.
  • It does not contain any specific metrical pattern or rhyme scheme.
  • It tends to follow natural speech patterns and rhythms.
  • It doesn’t always follow rules of grammar.
  • It doesn’t use strict punctuation.
  • It therefore gives the poet more control over expression.
  • It can also take different shapes, truly unique ones.
  • But free verse still provides artistic expression.

Free verse can take many forms. There are no restrictions.

Read the following examples I have carefully chosen for you and tell me what you think:

Example 1:

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

(“Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman)


Example 2:

so much depends a red wheel glazed with rain

upon                        barrow         water 

beside the white

(“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams)


Example 3:

Buffalo Bill’s
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

(“Buffalo Bill’s defunct” by E. E. Cummings)


Example 4:

I now delight 

In spite 

Of the might 

And the right 

Of classic tradition, 

In writing 

And reciting 

Straight ahead, 

Without let or omission, 

Just any little rhyme

In any little time 

That runs in my head; 

Because, I’ve said, 

My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed

Like Prussian soldiers on parade

That march, 

Stiff as starch, 

Foot to foot, 

Boot to boot, 

Blade to blade,

Button to button, 

Cheeks and chops and chins like mutton.

No! No! 

My rhymes must go 

Turn ’ee, twist ’ee,

Twinkling, frosty, 

Will-o’-the-wisp-like, misty;

(“Free Verse” by Robert Graves)

As I told you, free verse can take a variety of interesting and original forms.

Views concerning free verse are however varied.

Some poets see free verse as the most difficult type of poetry to write as the poet has to find ways of expressing its meaning effectively without regular rhymes, structure and consistent meter.

Others see free verse as not really free as it still displays some element of form.

Still others don’t consider free verse as poetry at all.

Again, I don’t know what you think, but as for me, although I’m an advocate of correct grammar and structure, I know how free people can feel when unhindered by rules.

Anyway, free verse is the growing trend in poetry friends, so I think you should really really try.


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