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My Poetry Experiments with Free Verse

I started writing poetry in 2011. My intention was not to dabble in verses where rhythm and syllable are involved. There can be reasons behind writing poetry, not limited to expressing your feelings but widely many would claim it as a reason. Every mind has its own rational bend, it could be poetic in nature too.

I also started for same reason and most of times reasons came rushing to me widely based on state of human affairs. I choose free verse as a medium though as my thoughts flowed in my poetry, it became difficult for me to ignore slight rhythm to it. Thus, in some sense my first poetry book "Straight from Life" consists of work under uncategorized poetic form.

In my second work "Our Times," I still insisted on reasons behind various actions and emotions of human life and the effects we become interested in but I kept rhythm out of focus. This work is solely a free verse. Though I do not want to dwell on people reaction to my poems, I wanted to know about the quality of my work.

I read on internet this passage:

In my words after grasping the meaning of free verse.

Free Verse: The essence of free verse is in reading through it consistently as thoughts flow from verses to reader's mind without any problem. The use of rhythm is not required but the content should be understandable.

It provides complete freedom of expression. Though there are chances of loosing the sensitivity of theme but an impartial view and honest attempt can deride these setbacks.

Free verse is like "Tennis without a net" to Robert Frost and to me, "no sailor to forest tunes (writing free verse) while failing to get warmth by its fires, I plant a new sapling rather than mere surviving the cold."

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Tennis without a Net

Robert Frost famously opined that writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net. Like many other admirers and practitioners of formal poetry, Frost saw in free verse an excessive glorification of freedom over structure. The effectiveness of Frost's and similar criticisms is evident in the tendency of free verse's admirers to explain at length why the idea of free verse does not authorize a writer to spew out prose, chop it into lines a few inches wide, and call it free verse. Critical treatments of free verse routinely include a passage lamenting the apparent tendency of free verse to inspire bad poetry; such passages echo a centuries-old tradition of critical laments about popular poetry and music, so I do not feel confident reserving free verse the place of bad poetry's singular muse.

The dominance of free verse in contemporary poetry does, however, create the possibility that writers will employ free verse reflexively, without considering the possibilities that more formal poetry might create. Carl Sandburg wrote in 1942, "Once a college student spoke his anxiety about whether to write his poetry in rhyme or not. The best I could do for him was the advice: 'If it jells into free verse, all right. If it jells into rhyme, all right.'" Sandburg, who wrote free verse and to whom Frost's tennis metaphor may have been directed, also offered an eloquent response to Frost in the same article:

  Recently a poet was quoted as saying he would

  as soon play tennis without a net as to 

  write free verse. This is almost as though a 

  zebra should say to a leopard, "I would 

  rather have stripes than spots," or as though 

  a leopard should inform a zebra, "I prefer 

  spots to stripes."

  The poet without imagination or folly enough 

  to play tennis by serving and returning the 

  ball over an invisible net may see himself 

  as highly disciplined. There have been poets 

  who could and did play more than one game of 

  tennis with unseen rackets, volleying airy 

  and fantastic balls over an insubstantial net, 

  on a frail moonlit fabric of a court.

A free verse poem by Robert Frost

‘Out, Out—’

By Robert Frost

The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws know what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all was spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!’
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened to his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.



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