Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Free Verse and Prose Poetry (Poetry-Writing Series Part 4 of 6)
Oftentimes free verse poetry is also referred to as blank verse poetry. Really, what this means is that the poem is free of rhyme, meter, and any type of metric measure or form (acrostic, haiku, etc). Free verse poetry allows for writing free-form and doesn't require rules or the concentration of word selection (calculating meter or syllables). Yet, free verse poetry does still adhere to lines, line breaks, and stanza but these elements are left to the discretion of the writer.
However, when creating free-verse poetry, poets must still adhere to a certain degree of self-discipline to carefully select word choices, line length, sounds and descriptions that will effectively tell the story or beautify an experience being conveyed within a given poem.
Most poets prefer free verse for the freedom to create without boundaries. Worrying about strict rules, guidelines and limited word selection can have a dire effect on one's ability to create. It's easy to get so caught up in technicalities and form that you forget, or lose inspiration, for the initial subject matter.
Many professional poets prefer to write in free verse because they feel that formed and metric poetry simply is outdated. I personally prefer free verse for it's allowance of uninhibited spontaneity. I have always struggled with the ability to maintain a creative flow while worrying about a set of rigid rules. I believe the creative notion suffers when rules are applied, specifically rules of metric and rhyme.
Though I do believe a poem can still be made musically beautiful, can still emit sound and rhyme, even without a structured form.
Prose poetry and free verse poetry are very much alike. Both forms offer a broad freedom of expression, and neither require form or measurement.
I have always considered prose to be poetry in paragraph form. Prose usually demonstrates flowery, poetic language written in proper sentence (and paragraph) structure. Prose-writing lacks the formality of poetry (lines, form, metric, etc) and reads much like common language or a direct flow of speech.
However, if you are familiar with poetry or poetic journals, you usually will find pieces of prose that was written by poets. A prose poem really merely is a piece of poetically decorated writing in paragraph form; full of description or the depiction of an event, memory, train of thought that is received much the same as a piece of free verse poetry would be.
Professionals have referred to free verse as verse poetry and prose as speech, yet when these two elements are combined, the term prose poetry is born.
As a poet and writer, myself, I believe that if you can write free verse poetry and have the common knowledge of sentence structure and basic writing, then you are well-equipped to write prose poetry.
If you are a writer whom writes short stories or novels, perhaps prose poetry will be less challenging for you than free verse poetry. However, if you are new at writing poetry, I would recommend that you begin learning to write with free verse simply because it will not stifle your original ideas and inspiration the way I feel metric and form poetry does.
Next in the poetry-writing series, I'll be briefly discussing spoken word poetry. Join me then!