Free Verse

I’m not really into poetry.  I’ve written a little bit of it, especially when I was younger; and I do read poetry occasionally.  But somehow I’ve never understood free verse.

What makes poetry poetic?  Personally, I’ve always thought of poetry as short literature with rhyme and meter, but free verse defies that.  I’d ask if the only criterion for poetry is format, but then there’s also “prose poetry.”  For those of you unfamiliar (you’re very lucky), the American Academy of Poets defines it this way: “while it lacks the line breaks associated with poetry, the prose poem maintains a poetic quality, often utilizing techniques common to poetry, such as fragmentation, compression, repetition, and rhyme.”

So what makes a poem?  Well, if you type “poem definition” into Google, it’ll tell you that a poem almost always displays rhythm and often includes metaphor, meter, rhyme, and a stanza structure.  Of course, a secondary definition says simply, “something that arouses strong emotions because of its beauty.”

With definitions like these, anything could be poetry.

So what do you think?  Is all free verse (and etc.) poetry?  Is only some of it?  None of it?


For further reading, here’s the article by the American Academy of Poets:

Here’s also the Google definition:

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