Updated: May 31, 2020
Labeling someone's poetry as "poetry" is actually kind of hurtful. Do they even know that there are different types of poems - not all have to rhyme? Do they know that poems are an expression of emotions from the poet? Are they blind to the fact that not all poetry is the same?
Free verse is a literary device that can be defined as poetry that is free from the limitations of a regular meter or rhythm and does not rhyme with fixed forms. Such poems are without rhythm and rhyme schemes, do not follow regular rhyme scheme rules, yet still, provide artistic expression.
I wasn't going to address the label, but my heart is hurt by the notion that my poems aren't real poetry. When in reality they actually fall under the Free Verse type of poetry. I have never been one to rhyme words or even really attempt it, words flow out of me and I record them in poem format. I actually prefer to write freestyle poetry because it gives me more creative freedom in my writing.
I know the label came from someone who looks at poetry and says, "This must rhyme to be a poem." Yet, I still feel an ache in my chest because I felt like my art was under a microscope all of a sudden. In an instant, I was being judged for the way I wrote my emotions and experiences. That isn't okay.
Poetry is not all the same; Poets are not all the same.
Before you call someone's poems - "poetry" - educate yourself on the types of poetry. You might actually learn something new. In this post, I am actually learning along with you. So, let's learn together.
"Did you know there are over 50 different types of poetry? Outside of upper-level poetry seminars or in-depth studies, we mostly tend to focus on seven common types of poetry. Popular poetry types include haiku, free verse, sonnets, and acrostic, cinquain, epic, ballad poems"
There are seven popular poem types, I am sure we have all written them at some point in time or at least attempted them. Let's be honest, some of those are difficult to wrap your head around and then sort your thoughts into that format. I'll tell you straight, I can't even begin to attempt a Haiku these days, though I did write one when I was in middle school. I really don't remember how I got through it because I have very little patience with specific writing guidelines. I like guides to a point, don't we all.
For now, I am going to tell you all about Free Verse or Freestyle poetry.
"Free verse poems the least defined. In fact, they're deliberately irregular, taking on an improvisational bent. There's no formula, no pattern."
No set meter
No rhyme scheme
Any particular structure
"Some poets would find this liberating, being able to whimsically change your mind, while others feel like they could not do a good job in that manner."
Robert Frost commented that writing free verse was like "playing tennis without a net."
Is the style making more sense now?
There are absolutely no rules or boundaries when it comes to writing in Free Verse. I think that's why I love it so much. There are no limitations to the wording, formatting, or length. I just write until I think I've got what I want.
Many famous poets write their poems in Free Verse.
From long-time poets like Robert Frost and E.E. Cummings to our generation poets like Rupi Kaur and Atticus, Free Verse is very popular in the writing and poetry communities.
The Road Not Taken | Robert Frost
Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet.
I Carry Your Heart With Me (I Carry It In My Heart | E.E. Cummings
Edward Estlin "E. E." Cummings, often styled as e e cummings, as he is attributed in many of his published works, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He wrote approximately 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays, and several essays.
Timeless | Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur is an Indian-born Canadian poet, illustrator, and author. Kaur rose to fame on Instagram and Tumblr through sharing her short visual poetry.
Milk and Honey (2014) & The Sun and Her Flowers (2017). Her work explores relationships, the immigrant experience, and sexual trauma and is considered to be at the forefront of Instapoetry.
A Poetry Reading & Q&A | Atticus | Love Her Wild & The Dark Between Stars
Atticus is a Canadian poet. His books The Dark Between Stars and The Truth About Magic became instant New York Times bestsellers. Atticus writes poems incorporating themes of love, relationships, and adventure.
In this video, he reads a few poems from Love Her Wild and The Dark Between Stars and talks about his poetry.
Looking through their works gives me a sense of reassurance that I am not alone in this style of poetry. That there are others like me and more to come. Because Free Verse stands as one of the seven most popular poetry forms and I hope you see why now. I hope this clears up the fact that poetry is poetry no matter the way it is written or presented. I am honored to stand beside some of the great poets of our time as I follow in their footsteps.
We are all unique in our own way, poetry is the way I express my differences.