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Free Verse

February 14th, 2011 by NKatre in Uncategorized

As a consequence of the revolution in literature advanced by “free verse,” contemporary poetry has become what might best be named or described as poetic proseTM.  Despite the fact the title poem, “Optics,” in my book, Optics: The Mystical Poet’s Guide to the Science of Inner Sight, may be considered within this genre, poetry, for me, must still sing to be called poetry.  Correspondingly, poetry, I believe, is not read widely today because much of it fails to come to life in the reader.  Poetry is becoming ever more self-conscious, intellectual, and operates as a terse vignette with a point, and once one gets the point; there is no longer much point in rehearsing or repeating it.

Not since the appearance of T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland (if we overlook Allen Ginsberg’s Howl which signaled a movement [the Beat Generation] more than a formal structural shift in poetry) has there been a book of poetry that forecasts a major change in the way a poem is written.  While Eliot was not alone responsible for Free Verse (vide, Walt Whitman) and the revolution that terminated meter and rhyme in poetic lines, his book is remembered as one of its greatest and most famous examples.  My book, Optics, picks up the challenge presented by Vers Libre and demonstrates how a poem can be both musical and free, how it can have both rhythmic and melodic patterns and at the same time retain the creative, dynamic flow of meaning emanating from the lines of a poem without sounding contrived, predictable, or encumbered by the centuries-old tradition of meter and rhyme.  I demonstrate this development in form, both with poetry, especially “Sonnets To The Four Seasons” and also with the essay “The Melody of Poetry” (a poetics in brief)— in which I outline and explain how the sonnet can appear individually on the page as a post free verse poem, yet set within the stanzaic arrangement of a Shakespearean sonnet, but each one with the melody, harmony, and rhythm of one constructed with meter and rhyme.

One Response to “Free Verse”

  1. Melissa says:

    Your articles are for when it absolutely, positively, needs to be understood overnight….wonderful read.

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