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keith in France


Posted Fri Jun 5th, 2009 5:11pm Post subject: Free Verse - does such a thing really exist?
I am puzzled by the concept of Free Verse, and having worked my way willingly, although occasionally stickily, through 'The Ode Less Travelled' I thought it best to consult the oracle.

I write for an American site called Helium; all good fun and quite rewarding. But part of the site's system requires writers to rate each other's work, and sometimes this is poetry.

For a long time my appreciation of poetry began and ended with Ogden Nash and Mr Milligan, and I cannot get my head round the concept of so-called Free Verse. It seems to me it is just prose broken into short lines. In order to make sense of it, one certainly needs to read it as prose, so why not write it as prose. What is the point? Is it simply a means to impress?

I should greatly appreciate a logical explanation, if such a thing exists on this subject.

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Maxx England


Posted Fri Jun 5th, 2009 6:14pm Post subject: Free Verse - does such a thing really exist?
Could it be alliterative? Or just requiring reading or speaking in a given rhythm? I know less than you.

The only way is forward. Now where's the bar?

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Posted Sun Jun 7th, 2009 10:05am Post subject: Free Verse - does such a thing really exist?
yes, for me I think its in the rhythms , sounds,smells , tastes of life the verse evokes ...take T.S. Elliot's "Prufrock", ...there's a great storyline in there of a certain era, social milleu and a woman whoannoyed his soul over a period of time, but the verse wraps these nuggets of public events in the private sensuous reaction of the man to the ,prose' of his life...

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Posted Sun Jun 7th, 2009 3:01pm Post subject: Free Verse - does such a thing really exist?
Does poetry mean nothing if it doesn't rhyme? Or isn't bent to syllable counted lines? Milton was made by his publisher to write a preface to Paradise Lost defending his position not to rhyme his epic poem. I should hope that attitudes have changed a little since then, where a great writer with a great lot of things to say, in a richness of language and content, doesn't have to justify him or herself for not conforming to a basic notion that poetry = rhyming.

The best way of demonstrating why poetry doesn't have to rhyme to be good is getting a GCSE class to write their own poetry. I think you'll find that the kids told not to rhyme their poetry will find something more of note to say, have more poetic a voice, than those forced to write in a rigid form. Those writing a sonnet will have too much trouble trying to find sensical things that rhyme to develop any meaning, and so you end up with a mess of thoughts that don't make any sense because they've been bent to an arbitrary notion of how long a line is and what sort of word it should end with.

Having said that, I think writers, especially poets, should learn how to use all forms. It is perhaps more important to learn how to use forms before using ones seemingly formless (that's how I learnt as a writer). Because that way you become more in touch with the nature of expression, and what the purpose of a poem is (to you). Now when I use rhymes and forms I do so because I want to, because it suits the content, not because I have to for a reason I don't understand. Equally I use blank verse when the occasion necessitates it.

mp xxxx


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Posted Mon Jun 8th, 2009 3:46pm Post subject: Free Verse - does such a thing really exist?
there's sometimes near rhymes, rhymes inside the lines, or rhymes at ends in free just doesn't fit any sort of form that was already made, and might not be consistent throughout. same true there with rhythm. free verse doesn't mean that the importance of sound is put second or means ...

written without using a strict rhyme scheme, but still recognizable as poetry by virtue of complex patterns of one sort or another that readers will perceive to be part of a coherent whole

that's on wikipedia, i'm not a writer or english major, but i think it's a nice definition.

if your only exposure to it is what you're seeing posted by users at a website, you might wanna go read some that's classic to get a feel for what it CAN be. the first time i read walt whitman, it sped up, slowed down, got into my bones. but i had no idea HOW.

(keep in mind i am NO expert on this subj...but) it wasn't till i started trying to memorize sections of him that i realized how many conscious choices of word, sound, rhythm, etc are made in every line. No person would just talk like that, no person would write an essay like that. Unless they're feeling unusually ecstatic!! mmmm....hmm.

"HELLO I'M TACTILE !" is an anagram of my name

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