What Is Free Form Poetry?
The art of free form (verse) poetry can be seen throughout history in many writers who craft words into poems. To define such an art would be to say:
Free form poetry is the act of words that have no adhering confinements to a plan, layout or rhyming structure. A pattern or composition may arise in some lines but this is not a condition that defines free form poetry.
When creating such art, the mind can ease out the flavour of a story, a journey or a gesture that defines a moment in reality. Be free in the architecture of purpose and form words that paint a picture, define a sequence of the unnatural order and deliver something the world has never seen before.
That is the purpose of free form poetry, it can only be constricted by the realms of your imagination.
How Do I Create A Free Form Poem?
There can be many ways to start writing in free form poetry. Initially, you need to think about what it is you want to write about. Think of a feeling like love, a subject like politics or maybe a memory of a close family member. That’s your starting point, so, write it down. For this example, let’s start with love.
Just writing the word down can help fire your mind into a state of creativity.
Who are we writing about? is it a person? are you trying to define love? Will the poem be a journey or tell a story? I’m going to choose a journey. Don’t worry about giving your poem a title. Personally, I wait until the poem is complete and pick a sentence from the poem or give it title depending on how I feel afterwards.
Here is a poem about two people walking together and falling in love.
Title – We Walked
We walked between the valleys
We walked over the hills
We felt the lush of the soft butterflies – dancing through the azure skies,
All while falling in love with each other’s eyes.
We walked through the cerulean meadows
We walked into the lost fields, hidden between the chattering ghetto’s
We could smell the fresh air
That fell into our love-drenched lungs.
We feed each other words of wisdom
Made up by our tongues.
We held hands and spoke about our mum’s
We kissed for a moment under the dying tangerine sun
We remembered the time
When life was just intoxicating fun.
We walked until it was dark
We walked through the children singing in the park
We walked until our feet began to perish
On the stones that filled the floor and the heavens.
We hustled through the cornfields
Sneezing pollen back into the lands.
We made it home
We put logs on the fire
We were silent but listened to the crack of the seasoned wood
While sipping red wine
In a time that we could.
This poem started with the thought of how two people meet for the first time. New couples tell each other their stories, smile at each other and create a bond that can last forever. This poem is also very descriptive and helps the reader walk in the shoes of the couple. Using words like azure, cerulean, tangerine and crack can be seen as vivid connecting words. These words can also help the poem seem or sound more beautiful when spoken out loud.
You can see here, I have developed a style where the poem falls into four sentences for each verse. You may have other ideas or want to join the whole poem together, this is completely up to you as a writer. Here is a list of variables you may want to consider when writing free form poetry.
- The length of the poem – short or long
- Some verses can rhyme but don’t have to
- Will you use some grammar (no grammar) or be really precise with your grammar?
- Are you telling a story, defining feelings, going on a journey or something else?
- Does your poem make sense? Does it have to?
- Are you being descriptive or letting the reader fill in the gaps?
- Will you add graphics, art, photography or freehand drawings to your poetry?
- Can you arrange the words to create a picture?
- Why should anyone read this poem – does the title pull anyone in?
An Good Example Of Free Form Poetry
To a Poor Old Woman
munching a plum on
the street a paper bag
of them in her hand
They taste good to her
They taste good
to her. They taste
good to her
You can see it by
the way she gives herself
to the one half
sucked out in her hand
a solace of ripe plums
seeming to fill the air
They taste good to her
William Carlos Williams – 1883-1963
William was a poet who loved to write in the style of free form poetry. Your interpretation of this poem may be very different to mine, however, I find the poem very descriptive and I love the way he repeats parts of the sentence. What is he trying to tell us here?
‘They taste good to her They taste good to her. They taste good to her’
(Is this a bite out of the plum and she takes three bites?) The use of the word solace, makes the final verse tell you of the times she was in – hardship yet comfort. A small powerful poem that paints a scene that becomes timeless. Also, notice how the poem does not rhyme but if you speak the poem ‘out loaud’ it has a beautiful poetic cry. This poem provokes taste and feeling, while commanding a sensory of thought; through the gentle motion of articulation.
I hope this article gives you more control and helps you define your next free form poem. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. I love to hear poets, writers and creators feedback, positive or negative.