Poetry Writing Exercise #10: Free Verse

Discussion related to the topic Poetry Writing Exercise #10: Free Verse

Forum : All About Writing : Poetry Writing Exercise #10: Free Verse

Posted at: Aug 1, 2010 at 2:37 AM 
Free verse is poetry which does not take a specific pattern of either meter or rhyme. All the "rules" which you have learned for specific forms (iambic pentameter, rhyming quatrains, couplets, anapestic tetrameter, etc.) all go out the window.

This doesn't mean that free verse is without meter and rhyme; it simply means that the poet is striving to find a natural rhythm and sound of language. All that time spent working on specific poetry forms is extremely beneficial in discovering those natural rhythms and sounds, in the same way that a musician must be fluent in things like rhythms and scales before he can branch out into improvisation.

So if you aren't using specific meters and rhyme schemes, what exactly makes free verse? Well, a simple answer to that question is, you need to make sure you use all the tools in your poetic arsenal.

Remember all those exercises you did? Simile? Metaphor? Personification? Alliteration? It's time to put those to good use, because careful use of those tools is what can make a free verse poem stand out from the crowd.

Your job this week is to put together the tools you've learned in the last 9 exercises and write some free verse.

Posted at: Aug 1, 2010 at 2:46 AM 
Here are a couple examples of free verse on this site:

Sidewalks and Hallways
Notice that although the structure of the poem is very fluid (the stanzas vary in both number of lines and number of syllables per line) there is still a very strong iambic rhythm to the poem, with occasional variations. Also, the poem does include rhymes, though not at predicable intervals. In some cases, the rhymes are hidden within lines, as with shoe/do in the third stanza and by/eye in the fourth.

View of Mount Katahdin from Patten, Maine
If I was writing this one again, I think I would write it quite a bit differently, concentrating more on rhythm and the flow of words. But what makes this poem work is the extended metaphor/personification that carries through the entire poem: the picture of the mountain as a giant child huddled under a blanket.

Posted at: Aug 1, 2010 at 3:04 AM 

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Aug 1, 2010 at 10:55 AM 
Beauty and the Plain
You say that we belong together, and yet I can't agree
With beauty such as yours compared to the plainness that I am.
Still you say I've inter beauty just what's that suppose to mean
So I stay with all my doubts my uncertainties on hold
Waiting for you to tire of me and praying for you to stay

Posted at: Aug 2, 2010 at 9:49 AM 
Wild Blueberries


good thing I had a notebook with me when I went hiking this afternoon; I would not have remembered both of these otherwise!

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Aug 2, 2010 at 5:10 PM 
Verse in the Wild
I find it so odd that when I can't write them down
The lines come into to my head as gentle breezes
But alas once alone with my paper and pen they're
Gone forever, leaving my thoughts as empty as my page

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Aug 3, 2010 at 8:03 PM 
Tag Your it
The wind in my hair and the sand in my toes
I sit and watch while the tide play with the shore
Do they play tag if so who's it or do they frolic
At some other silly game? Ten thousand times
Ten thousand and many many more, repeated
for our pleasure, yet no one's keeping score

R. Wesley Lovil
Posted at: Aug 7, 2010 at 9:40 AM 
Busy Bee:
I watch you bounce from boy to boy
As though a bee collecting pollen
You know I love you but that matters not
Your poor heart fears to make a choice

Posted at: Aug 7, 2010 at 12:54 PM 
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