Hello again everyone! Nearing the end of my time in France and I’ve been busier than ever with new and old projects. This and next week will contain the last of my poetry focused blog posts. Now I’ve explained two of the harder forms, leaving some other forms free to explore in the future, this week we will be hammering on the immeasurable form, or non-form we call free verse. This kind of poetry, as you may guess from its name cannot be approached like the last two forms so far.
Free verse is one of the most recent forms of poetry, born as blank verse it evolved, coming to light as we know it today in the early 20th century. Most notable users of this form include John Milton and T.S. Eliot. The reason I, perhaps a little zealously claim that free verse is of the 20th century is because there is a clear cut evolution to blank verse. A short list, by no means exhaustive will be described this week, these forms include; concrete poetry, beat poetry, urban poetry, stream of consciousness and sound poetry.
Concrete poetry focuses entirely on how a poem is displayed on a page, sometimes the words on the page can have a direct meaning on the poem, sometimes they have nearly no significance on the poem’s meaning, they are just there for display. It is a type of poetry which I, myself have only limited competence with, preferring more formal types of poetry.
Beat poetry is much more international, born in New York in the 1940’s, reaching its height very quickly, even today it is still going strong. Beat poetry focuses again on the aesthetic usually set in the city, many poems in this category feel as though you are pounding the pavements in the city, remarking on things that you don’t usually remark on in everyday life.
Urban poetry is the umbrella of many forms of poetry that focus on the everyday, but this on its own would be boring. Urban poetry is especially good at the technique of ‘othering’ making the everyday seem foreign or alien so that we become familiar with them all over again, touching or smelling these things for the first time, twice or several times.
The stream of consciousness is another form of poetry that is regarded by many as a very hit and miss branch. This type of poetry permits no editing, if you want the real deal, quite simply you can combine this with any type of poem or none at all. To describe it bluntly, you start writing and let your mind take you away with the poem, stopping once your train of thought has ended – thus you have a completed poem, for better or for worse.
The final branch of free verse I will mention, sound poetry, is the polar opposite of concrete poetry, its appearance on the page bears little or no significance, what is most important is the sound of the words and the image they conjure in the reader, or rather listener’s mind. At the moment this form of poetry seems to be in vogue.
There are no rules to writing Free verse poetry, so I can’t really make too many practical suggestions in devices to include in your poetry. And by this point, if you have mastered the other mentioned forms then you should probably need no suggestions in this. I would suggest, two things however, some forms in urban poetry often are written in the first person, having an inwards commentary or addressing the reader, they can blur the line between poetry and prose very often. Remember though poetry that you become too emotionally attached to may often not reach it’s potential, it is important to measure passion with technique in poetry.
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