Friday Fundamentals for Solid Writing Habits: Free Verse Initiates a Poetic Writer

There are enormous rippling benefits to those who read poetry and try their own hand at this art. The free verse poem – which has no required form and no rhyme scheme – is a great way to begin thinking like a poet. The free verse poet has autonomy.

It is important to note that poetic thinking alone taps a part of the brain that can evolve into eloquent, original, and poetic speaking. You do not need to be a known poet to glean its influence. In addition, one can apply this gorgeous language to all writings, even a small note, or an electronic correspondence, not just an officially formulated poem. Poetry has changed, but it is still fully alive, and we can be grateful for that!

Poetry has traditionally been structured with specific forms.

Traditional poem form challenges the poet to come up with beautiful, fluid language that also fits into a formulaic rhythm and rhyme scheme. Sonnets, Villanelles, Haikus, Limericks – all of these require the poet to not only design a glorious gown, so to speak, but to also size it perfectly.

Free Verse, on the other hand, allows a loosened garment, which can be belted here or asymmetrical there as the poet sees fit.

This does not mean the form of the free verse poem is a non-issue. It just means the poet decides on the new form, a nontraditional line-up of decisions. My favorite free verse poets are Elizabeth Bishop. Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes. Songs from this Earth on Turtles Back is a wonderful collection of free verse Native American poetry, and it is fitting for their intuitive, natural culture.

Free verse poems are laid out as they are supposed to be read.

Finish each line when you want a slight pause. Finish each stanza for a longer pause, and perhaps when a thought or an image requires a moment of focused consideration, before moving forward with more.

New poets can write full sentences, or not, but they might be wise to break that one sentence into several lines, allowing the reader to appreciate a word or a phrase on its own, with emphasis on the language and not just on meaning.

Poetry, like dancing, is supposed to be fun.

Poetry is not always about getting to the end to understand a whole message. It is undoubtedly supposed to be experienced bit by bit as well. We pause again and again to notice the power of a single word, or the playful way the poet strung those words into one line.

A free verse poet may use their intuition over their intellect. This is why it changes how we think. We begin by dancing as an individual on the dance floor – relaxed and naturally rhythmic. Once we get into our own groove, we can learn the dignified waltz or sensual tango – which are more thoughtful forms of the art and work best when the dancer is ready for a conforming challenge. 



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