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Free Verse or Formal Verse?


In my last post, I asked you to tell me about your favourite poems. Recently I’ve been going through a lot of “calls for submission” as a part of some work! I noticed many publishers mention that they only accept free verse or modern style and that do not accept poetry ‘with rhyming lines’, as if it were a terrible thing.

I have read a lot of poems in the last few months, partly because I had to learn them, partly because through all the studying (hah) I actually developed a genuine interest. From whatever poetry I have read, I think formal verse is just as effective a way to put across a message. Look around you, everything in the nature has structure; that should be enough to prove that structure has beauty too. The metric patterns, for me, give a sense of precision and balance to the poem. I don’t think that formal verse with things such as metre or rhyme limits your creativity, I actually think it challenges you further. The rules were there for a reason. While it is okay to break them when they seem like a cage around that particular poem, breaking the rules is neither the better way nor the only way to expression. I may be wrong, but every time someone says “poetry is freedom” and “poetry is expression, which is not bound by any laws”, I can’t help but think of all the greatest masters of poetry, right from the Bard, who used the rules and patterns and laws to express, and express a lot. A bias towards neither of the two types of poetry, formal or free verse: that’s what they mean by freedom.

In my three posts on poetry on this blog, I have made it a point to bash the poems found all over the internet, those which are generally assisted by glittery, romantic or dark, mushy, pictures of suicidal people. And, I do not like them: random difficult sounding words picked right out of a thesaurus, stringed together, deliberately avoiding any semblance of grammar do not automatically qualify as poetry.

But, as I was writing that right now for the third time, I realized for the second time how incredibly judgmental I was sounding and so I decided to actually tell you about one poetry blog that I regularly read and actually sort of love. Do visit! I’m sure there are a lot of great poetry blogs on the internet and I hope I discover more of them.

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3 comments on “Free Verse or Formal Verse?
  • Bookworm Belle

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