So what strongly distinguishes poetry from any linguistic thing? I tell you that is the strengthening and familiarizing with form and structure, not freeing and unfamiliarizing for "originality".
I’d like to know how you feel about what goes inside the box. I believe that your staunch support of structure is missing a few things which weaken your point. There are thousands of other elements used in poetry besides meter and rhyme, and I’ve not seen you touch on those things, yet. Maybe it would help clarify your stance, not sure?
You don’t really believe that all great poetry has a “set-in-stone” structure, from within to without, do you?
I’d have to argue that the various tools of culture and language require freedom and fluidity to creatively separate poetry from typical vocabulary. Or else, our late great poets wouldn’t have used such tools as: kennings, epithetical/ elision metaphors, intonations, allusion, slant rhyme, assonance, alliteration, and varied lyrical/metrical compounds that are free to be bent, invented and accepted into the fold of form. These things cannot ever be creatively static.
If the voice of a poem, alone, cannot be heard above and beyond the form, then the poet has failed to reach me, and thus gets buried among all the thousands of others that mistook form for the heart of their art. I wouldn’t put that much support into form without addressing what’s inherent inside the work. Things that are more responsible than form for making me see hear feel smell and taste everything or anything the poet is conveying.
Forgetting form but remembering great poets who established them, in my opinion, helps to create your point as well as destroy it if you think of poetry as being only a two-dimensional array of words.
Chaucer’s works are major examples of satirical undertones that freely moved in and out of his poetry with an ease among those that would have his head if he were any more direct. He used dapper form as a clever cloaking device for rebellion, testing the fibers of morality and politics and never seemed static on any account.
Wordplay is a word: And without the acceptance of linguistic repartee, strong amounts of irony, as well as sarcasm, poor Shakespeare would have given up writing.
Homer: The heroics would have been ripped right out of his epics if he wasn’t free to create characters that weren’t so much believable as heroes as they were interesting and memorable. The form is forgettable, but Odysseus will always be “the man of twists and turns,” who’s sure to awake to another “rosy-fingered dawn.”
Beowulf: This work drives me insane. I’m drawn to the Old English version aloud as if I’m under a spell. I not only adore the story but I adore the mistakes, which happens when Christians try to relate a Pagan character. That just adds to the mystery of the work. But yes, I’d have to state that Beowulf is the cream of the crop for me. The ultimate Wow in writing: The Heorot of poetry by which all other poetry dares to dance and celebrate without any fear, because Grendel and his mother are dead! Hey, I can be symbolic in my thinking, but my mind reels when I look closely at the arrangement of the words in Beowulf. The alliteration is like a serpentine chain, perfectly winding and unwinding the voice, theme, mood, and setting, everything inside the epic. The author had a choice of epithets or formulae to meet the alliteration and it had to work with the meter/rhythm to tell the story. How many people in this life could or would go through the trouble to try to master what’s already been mastered? They can only “simplify it” for comprehension, but can they possibly ever, in a million years, create anything but a shoddy imitation in regards to that particular work? I don’t know, but I’d be willing to bet the finished product would collect dust and rot without a single dog-eared page.
So there you have it. I’m in support of your structure, and the structure can be as varying in degrees as a hovel is to the Taj Mahal, but the structure itself can never be a fortress that closes off or presents a barrier to what has to move and breathe within. Such a structure is as good as an empty Cathedral, boasting superiority, yet begging for any kind of life to worship and believe.
My conclusion on form: What’s inside the box must reach out for me to appreciate it.
When you take away the importances of regulated and traditional/familiar poetic form and structure, as Free Verse, then all you have is wide and variable language again, without any strong poetic form or distinction.
Again, I think you’re viewing poetry as a two-dimensional thing. I urge you to look deeper.
When I look beyond the lack of form I still see free verse as having underlying structure, subtle and hidden, yes, especially when the author is exceptionally talented, but it’s there.
So free verse might as well be an oxymoron to me—another one of those fun things in poetry. Free to be any Verse. Verse is congruent to any method belonging to poetry, composition, lyrics, etc. Many may disagree, but this is what gives free verse a solid stronghold in my collection of poetry.
Ed’s point is supported by the authors of free verse. They stray from conformity without any “limitations or restrictions,” though the reader has their own. But free verse authors destroy this notion: “freeverse is strong because it doesn't have to follow any guidelines.” This is what I feel tears down the efforts of Freeversians. You can’t make something out of nothing.
Free verse must employ a method, even if it’s madness. There must be an underlying backbone or something that helps shape the verse, give it substance and meaning. The author is free to use any of the tools of verse and more, anyway they want, but to sling words out without even the slightest hint of an element-elementary to poetry is just fatal to the piece. We can argue all day long about what those elements are, but pick anything that strengthens the validity of poetry and create a work of art, not voiceless meaningless drivel on a page. I want to be able to picture something, observe any kind of a strategy, but mostly I want to be spoken to or hear the voice of the author from the beginning to the middle and the end, which is what yall are probably hoping for, yeah? Well too bad, I’m almost finished
The paper is not the only foundation upholding a free verse poem. If so, a sneeze could be a poem. Lint? Etc, and there’s too many great examples out there to reduce them to lint.
“Gustave Kahn claims to have invented the term vers libre” Wiki
Being that he was a symbolist, suggests that his very tools were symbolism.
Walt Whitman free styled his way into the books with lists, cataloging, rhythmic verse, contrasts, objects and settings that spoke, colors, scent, sound, and tastes that spoke volumes beyond what a lengthy novel would.
Emily Dickinson alternated between rhyme/slant rhyme and free verse, and I don’t feel that this ending stanza taken from “I Died for Beauty but was Scarce,” hurt for anything unrhymed. Such is life, and in the end we’re all silenced, but what an image of silence.
“And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.”
I do feel that free verse relies more heavily on capturing the reader within the first two lines than traditional verse. Compact talent compared to the epic? Yall decide. I know what I like.
My conclusion on free verse: It must capture me and pull me into the author’s world.
I wish for peace between thee and those that know no bounds for what goes up doesn't always have wings