June 6, 2016
What Kind of Poet Are You?
I’m sure if you’ve dabbled in any kind of poetry writing, you probably started with silly little rhyming patterns like I did. But after awhile, you might have gotten brave enough to try something different like Free Verse, Blank Verse, or Haiku. I’ve tried my hand at all of them, but I still like the simple iambic pentameter style of rhyme.
Let’s take a look at the most popular styles of poetry. In today’s blog, we’ll look at Free Verse.
Definition of Free Verse
Free Verse is a form of poetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern. The early 20th-century poets were the first to write what they called “Free Verse,” which allowed them to break from the formula and rigidity of traditional poetry. The poetry of Walt Whitman (1819-1892) provides many illustrations of Free Verse, including his poem “Song of Myself.” Here’s a stanza from that well-known poem:
“Song of Myself”
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loaf and invite my soul,
I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.”
This poem is pages and pages long and quite impressive. To check the entire poem, go to:
One of my favorite stanzas is this one about a horse:
A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,
Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,
Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,
Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving.
His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,
His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.
I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.
I remember reading this poem, or parts of it, in high school, and I’ve always remembered this beautiful ode to the animal that I love so much. Years, later, I wrote my own poem about a horse and had the free verse published in a small poetry booklet, “Time of Singing” (Volume 27, Fall 2000; editor: Lora Zill) http://www.timeofsinging.com/index.html
When I saw his majestic muscular beauty
And delicate sleekness,
My eager heart stood still.
He pranced with such royal dignity
That my soul bowed,
A peasant before the king.
With proud neck arched
And tail obedient to the wind,
The snorting engine nodded.
His keen ears searched.
His fiery spirit traced my slightest breath.
My trembling fingers reached
Toward a trembling velvet nose.
And we both knew …
He was mine.
So, you see, if you have a passion about any topic, you could write “poetry.” Try your hand at it; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Feel free to send me via email attachment a sample of your work. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Next time, we’ll take a look at Blank Verse.
P.S. Time to register for the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. You won’t be sorry! If you’re a poet, you’ll want to sign up for award-winning Shirley Stevens’ work-in-progress seminar when you’ll work with Shirley on your poetry in a small class setting with limited enrollment.
Please check http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx for all the details. J
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