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Free Verse


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French Verse

Free Verse - (from the French verse libre - free line or verse) is verse written without predetermined "rules" of rhyme or meter. It can be found as far back as the Bible. However in 19th century Europe, particularly in France a movement away from the "rules" of rhymed metered verse was given a name and spread throughout the poetic world. It could be a descendant of the 16th century Freie Verse.

One of the earliest, popular poets to embrace free verse was the American poet, Walt Whitman, whose explosive, energetic Leaves of Grass seems to claim "free verse" "as a medium for the American character". (I read that last phrase somewhere but now can't pin down the source to give credit. Being a fan of Whitman, I totally agree.)

"I am the poet of the body,
And I am the poet of the soul.
The pleasures of heaven are with me,
and the pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself . . .
the latter I translate into a new tongue."
             - - - Walt Whitman, from Leave of Grass, Song of Myself #21 L415-L419, 1855,

In free verse, the old "rules" are broken, the line itself becomes the only rule.The verse is strophic, not contained in uniform stanzas. It must breath, think and sound like the poet. The rhythm keeps time with the poet's own heart beat. To ignore its form is irresponsible. It may be more difficult to create a line of free verse than metered verse, the length, word choice and placement become an extension of the poet even more without the "rule" of predetermined patterns. With free verse it is up to the poet to create his/her own rules.

Freedom by Judi Van Gorder

On the coastal cliffs
shaded gray,
I look out to a blackened sea.
A spiny strata
fragments under foot
and a jolting

Needle pricks
of stinging wind press
upward into chest,
throat and face,
sour bile rises
like black tar boiling from the belly.
fall or fly. . .

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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