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Free verse poems have no defined set of rules or patterns that need to be followed while writing the poem. There are so many free verse poem ideas, and this article is all about learning how to write free verse poems and know about the most famous free verse poems.
What Is a Free Verse Poem?
Free verse is an open form of a poem, which in simple terms means that there is no set length or determined structure to the poem. Since there is no rhyme scheme and no pre-determined metrical design or pattern, free verse poems do not follow any rules. Many free verse poems are so short that these poems do even resemble poems.
During the early 20th century, a group of individuals who termed themselves as Imagists wrote some spare poetry concentrated on concrete images. These poets did not use any obscure symbols or abstract philosophies. Many times they also let go of punctuations. “The Red Wheelbarrow,” written by William Carlos in 1923, is an example of a free-verse poem. This poem can be categorized as free verse based on the Imagist tradition. The poem has only sixteen words, and in these sixteen words, Williams gives us an accurate picture, confirming how vital it is to capture small details. Other free verse poems successfully express powerful emotions using hyperbolic language, run-on sentences, rambling digressions, and chanting rhythms. Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl,” written and published in 1956, is perhaps the best example of a free-verse poem about love. This poem was written following the tradition of the 1950’s Beat Movement, and the poem is of nearly 2,900 words. This poem is special because it can be read as three extraordinarily lengthy run-on sentences.
Highly experimental poetry can also be written as free verse. The poet may concentrate on word sounds or images without paying any attention to syntax or logic. Mystical by Rose H. Plane is a beautiful free-verse poem about nature. The poem has extraordinary word arrangements.
Critics state that since free-verse poems do not comprise any meter or rhyme, these poems are glorified prose. However, free-verse poems have their undeniable charm.
How to Write a Free Verse?
A free-verse poem may seem to be one of the easiest poems to write. However, writing a free verse poem can be challenging. The best way to write a free-verse poem is to associate the rhythm of the subject with the rhythm of one’s natural voice. A normal poetic voice is metrical and lyrical, with pauses and accents as predominant as those written with stringent classic forms of verses. One may wonder what the elements of free-verse poetry are. Free-verse poems differ and do not follow a strict set of elements. Some elements of free-verse poems are rhythm, strophes, strophic rhythms, stanzaic patterns, cadences, or rhythmic units.
1. Select a Subject and Start Writing About It
Try and write down all that you feel about the subject. Get it all out. The trick here for the poet is to try and stay true to the rhythm.
2. Go Through and Study the Rough Poem
A rough read helps ensure that you have not missed writing anything. If you feel that you have missed adding a simile, metaphor, stanza, or line, go ahead and add it.
3. Ensure to Read the Poem Aloud.
Free verse is nothing but a rhythmic dance with words and voice, so keep reading the poem aloud, check the order of lines, and ensure that the flow has been maintained throughout the poem.
4. Editing and Proofreading
The next step is to move through the poem with an editor’s pen and ensure that you have chosen the words that provide the perfect cadence and accent to the poem.
5. Read the Final Draft Aloud
Keep reading the poem aloud until you feel that it flows like water and you can feel the poem from within. Once this is completed, you are sure to have written a beautiful free-verse poem.
Best Free Verse Poems for Children
Life is nothing but a fairy tale with no rules to follow. Free-verse poems are just like children who live in a world of their own. Following are some of the best free verse poems for kids. These poems are beautiful and creative yet simple to read.
1. Follow The Moon by Marie Tully
“I followed the moon,
Or did it follow me?
I turned a corner;
It was still there, you see.
I tried to trick it.
In the shadows I hid,
But the moon kept on watching.
That’s what it did.
A cloud passed before it.
Now was my chance,
But the stars in the sky
Never could lie.
I walked on through the night.
The moon followed me home,
Or did I follow the moon?
I don’t quite know.”
2. Zig-Zagging by Kelly Roper
Zig-zagging down the road
Trying not to stray over the center line
Or hit a curb
Or break an axle
Or flatten a tire
Or wind up in the next surprise sinkhole.
Driving in Toledo is not a sport
For the timid or the sane or the under-insured.”
3. Real Silence by Atticus
“I longed for real silence
the kind you can’t find
but stumble upon
in some cabin
on a lake without a moon
where you hear the cigarette burn
and the candles flicker
and your mind dances alive
to the symphonies in the black.”
4. Up Above by Becki B
Sits our nanny
In her rocking chair,
She’s smiling down upon us.
It’s nice to know she’s there
Her star is shining brightly.
We find it every night,
The big one in the middle above our house at night.”
5. No Celebration by John P. Read
“What’s the point of celebrating
When the ones you loved have gone?
It’s only the beginning of another year,
Another year of struggling alone.
Nothing new will happen.
Nothing old will ever change.
The past has left its scars.
Now only old memories remain.”
6. Autumn by T.E Hulme
“A touch of cold in the Autumn night—
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer.
I did not stop to speak, but nodded,
And roundabout were the wistful stars
With white faces like town children.”
7. The Pool by H.D.
Are you alive?
I touch you.
You quiver like a sea-fish.
I cover you with my net.
What are you—banded one?
8. Risk by Anais Inn
And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
9. You Took The Last Bus Home by Brian Bilston
the last bus home
i still don’t know
how you got it through the door
but you’re always doing amazing stuff
like the time
when you caught that train
10. Angels by Mary Oliver
You might see an angel anytime
and anywhere. Of course you have
to open your eyes to a kind of
second level, but it’s not really
hard. The whole business of
what’s reality and what isn’t has
never been solved and probably
never will be. So I don’t care to
be too definite about anything.
I have a lot of edges called Perhaps
and almost nothing you can call
Certainty. For myself, but not
for other people. That’s a place
you just can’t get into, not
entirely anyway, other people’s heads.
I’ll just leave you with this.
I don’t care how many angels can
dance on the head of a pin. It’s
enough to know that for some people
they exist, and that they dance.
Free verse is not mandatorily difficult to interpret. Various contemporary poets have written free-verse narratives using the language of general speech. Ellen Bass’s “What Did I Love” is one of the best free-verse poems about life. The poem could be considered prose if it were not for the line breaks.