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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:59 AM
Original message
Is free verse legitimate poetry?
Or must a poem follow strict guidelines for meter, if not rhyme?
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. Sure it is
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving

hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,...


http://www.frostyland.com/ginsberg.html

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. It's interesting though that that poem has a fairly strict rhythm
I mean it's not just words piled randomly. There's a beat to it, so to speak. Paul Fussel said the same thing about Whitman's poetry. It has an unconscious meter that he rarely breaks from, even when his lines swell with lists of words and phrases.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Oh, Free Verse Definitely Has a Rhythm
it's just an organic rhythm as opposed following strict guidelines.

Most free verse is awful. It's very easy to abuse. But some of the best poetry is not meter-based -- Stevens, Eliot, Dylan Thomas:
We live in old chaos of the sun
Or old dependency of day and night
Or island solitude, unsponsponsored, free
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail whistle about us their spontaneous cries
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness, and the isolation of the sky, at evening
Casual flocks of pigeons make ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

http://www.poemhunter.com/p/m/poem.asp?poet=6687&poem=2...
Or this:
Never until the mankind making bird beast and flower
Fathering and all humbling darkness
Tells with silence of the last light breaking
And the still hour is come of the sea tumbling in harness....
Will I let pray the shadow of a sound
Or sow my salt seed in the least valley of sackcloth to mourn
the majesty and burning of the child's death....

http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~richie/poetry/html/aupoem1....
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. What makes a good free verse poem a good poem?
I'm asking these questions because the last poem I wrote, for my wife on her birthday, was difficult to write, though it followed no arbitrarily imposed structure. But even though it took me all day, it feels less than a poem. I don't write poetry regularly, and even though I enjoy reading some poetry, I don't read it regularly enough. I feel like I haven't earned my poetic license.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. I Don't Know of any Simple Formulae
but to me, poetry should have a distinctly different voice. A lot of free verse sounds like spoken prose.

Good free verse is condensed language. It's filled with images. It triggers remember sensations and dreams. The up-and-down flow of the words is more important than in conversation. You're not expected to respond. More like someone is trying to hypnotize you.

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non sociopath skin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
2. Yes my brother I know ...
... The rest might not, but I have treasur'd every note,
For more than once dimly down to the beach gliding
Silent, avoiding the moonbeams, blending myself with the shadows,
Recalling now the obscure shapes, the echoes,
the sounds and sights after their sorts.
The white arms out in the breakers tirelessly tossing,
I, with bare feet, a child, the wind wafting my hair,
Listen'd long and long.
Listen'd to keep, to sing, now translating the notes,
Following you, my brother.

Yup. Sure sounds like poetry to me ...

The Skin
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Bouncy Ball Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
6. Heck yeah it is.
If it isn't, then a whole hell of a lot of good poetry just got thrown out of consideration.

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rbnyc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
7. It is,
however, one's free verse is likely to improve if one has practice in writing formal poetry.
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Dora Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I second that motion. eom
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Dora Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
8. All poems have their own chains
I've seen and written metrical verse that seems completely "free." As well, I've seen and written free verse that's obviously bound by some kind of metrical or stress/weight requirement. Sometimes it's about sound, sometimes it's about stress, sometimes it's "good enough for jazz."

All poems wear chains. Bling.

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skygazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
10. All poetry follows some sort of meter and rhythm
When I was in college, a creative writing teacher I had started us out on poetry by having us write a perfect sonnet - 14 lines, iambic pentameter, strict rhyme scheme. It was, I thought, a good way to do it as it taught us structure and rhythm. That's not something that goes by the wayside when you write free verse. It's certainly legitimate poetry and it does follow its own rhythm, set by the poet.

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