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Form Poetry vs. Free-Verse

What Are Your Thoughts On Form Poetry?

A blank page stares at you. What will you write?


I wrote my first original poem in 2014. I remember how good it felt, and how much I could not wait to write the next. It was a poem about beauty and love.

I find it unbelievable today, but I applied form in writing it. I applied figures of speech, a rhyme scheme (simple), and I believe alliteration, and consonance too.

Ps: I will share my first-ever poem someday ๐Ÿ™‚

What is form in poetry?

Form is style, perhaps in the most basic sense. I believe that style is an extra to the ordinary. So, think rhyme, length (line and stanza length), devices, among other “extras” to make a poetic form.

My story

For the next two years (2014 & 2015, and part of 2016), I found form irresistible. I loved using rhyme, alliteration, consonance, and repetition. I enjoyed trying out existing forms and, over time, tried mixing up form poetry with free-verse.

I then found free-verse quite appealing. I love it even more today. I love how it allows my ideas to flow with no restrictions, no “governors”. Some ideas must be put down hot, raw. I love how free-verse makes that possible.

Form slows me down. Sometimes, for hours, it confuses me. I love the challenge, but sometimes, I wonder why all that time? I could perhaps put down a few free verses before slowing down with form.

What are your thoughts on form poetry?

What about free-verse?

I love the rhythm that form creates. I love the musicality in such poems. The readability (for performance-sake). I love the structure. I love the complexity and how a piece can appear simple when you read or view. I love how much I learn when I try and perhaps write form poetry.

But still, I would choose free-verse any time. I could take a few minutes to collect my thoughts and write. When I do, it feels magical. It is raw. I love how raw looks, reads, feels.


Share your thoughts on form/free-verse poetry in the comments ๐Ÿ˜€


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Categories: Poetry

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Benie Langat

Benie is a poet and fiction writer, living in Nairobi, Kenya. He shares thought-provoking discussions, and occasionally does spoken word poetry and plays. Benie is also a freelance content and article writer. A dreamer, he realizes a world of possibilities through stories and explores life in poetry.

10 replies

  1. Hello Benie,
    Nice post! I love form poetry and have more trouble with free verse poetry, ironically. I do a lot better with rules. Is that weird? I also enjoy crafting with words and finding things that fit, solving a puzzle so to speak. My favorite form is Terza Rima, which is Italian, I believe. If you ever want to read any, let me know!
    Happy Writing!
    -Aurynanya

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello, Aurynanya,

      I am happy you liked this post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts โ˜บ

      I have never looked at form poetry as you do. Rather than weird, I find it interesting! I love your idea of solving puzzles with words and believe form can indeed create beautiful patterns.

      Terza Rima is new to me and am so interested in reading & learning more. Besides that, what other 2-3 forms do you like?

      I have been learning about and trying Ghazal, Sestina, and Villanelle, but have not come up with anything I feel confident to share ๐Ÿ˜„

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Benie,

        I need to do more research on other forms. I fell in love with Terza Rima and have written quite a few of them. Here is one of them:

        PASSAGE

        Smoky spirits swell, silently into the nighttime sky
        Flameโ€™s flicker, feverish and fast from the funeral pyre
        Red death reflections on the sacred river nearby

        Memories and moments burned up in a blaze of fire
        Flower blossoms and branches burning bright and warm
        Treasures and trinkets to travel with and gold coins for the toll youโ€™ll require

        Friends and family gather, saying goodbye, as witnesses swarm
        A blazing glow guiding you to a promised afterlife
        The soul of the dead is released from their physical form

        Sparking into a world without struggle, sadness and strife
        One could almost feel the moment they depart
        Time extinguishes the embers of a passionate and painful life

        I gathered a pocketful of your white-hot ash to save apart
        And still, there is nothing that could ever replace your flame and your fiery heart.
        ______________________________________________________________________

        There is some good background/crafting information on Terza Rima here on this link:
        https://classicalpoets.org/2017/01/05/how-to-write-a-terza-rima-with-examples/
        I would love to see what you come up with eventually!

        Do you have any links to share with me about some of the forms you are interested in learning more about?
        Also, do you have any advise about free verse poetry? I am so lost without RULES.

        I did write one thing that was kind of free verse but I’m not sure how good it is… you can find that here:
        https://www.deviantart.com/aurynanya/art/Between-You-and-Me-874774034
        -Aurynanya

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Beautiful! ๐Ÿ˜
        How I loved these lines:
        “One could almost feel the moment they depart
        Time extinguishes the embers of a passionate and painful life…”
        And I loved your last line โค

        Thank you for sharing Terza Rima! I will learn, try, and share what I come up with. I, too, would love to see what it will be ๐Ÿ˜„

        So, I recently started learning the three, Villanelle, Sestina, and Ghazal forms, which I came upon here: https://writers.com/what-is-form-in-poetry. The article has more forms, I just found the three interesting. I hope to learn more…

        In the past year, I shared a few forms I learned. Some include Etheree (Simple, Stacked, and Reverse Etheree) and Nonet

        Advice about free verse… Perhaps just write whatever comes to your mind. However disorganised it may come out… Write it. Do not judge. Whatever length it will be is okay. You can give it time before editing, which could give you a new or better perspective. However it ends up is always entirely okay, because there are no rules ๐Ÿ˜„

        Thank you for sharing your free verse! I will let you know what I think

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Both form poetry and free verse are equally powerful and each have their place. I prefer free verse myself simply because I have personally not learned an effective way of writing with structure.

    But there are 2 other aspects to poetry that are often overlooked that can be quite useful tools. That is rhythm and formatting.

    Rhythm in poetry is trying to read (or better yet, speak) each line in a rhythmic pace so its almost musical. Start each line should start on the first beat. Doing this opens the door for shorter lines to have much more punch (see https://patrickssmithauthor.wordpress.com/2021/10/04/two-dark-paths/ for an example where I have 4 one word lines as an example).

    Formatting can also help build emphases of the subject matter, or be used as a second voice in a poem. I remember in school reading a poem about a grass hopper jumping and the formatting of part of it was the line “and up” repeating but shifting to the left and up with each iteration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Patrick. The two are indeed powerful! I find your information on rhythm and formatting quite insightful. I would love to learn more about the two.

      What forms of poetry do you like? Have you written any? If so, please share a link โ˜บ
      And what do you think about challenging yourself to try something new?

      Like

  3. If you don’t know Colleen Chesebro, she has a community of poetry writers, you would enjoy who write mostly syllabic poetry. I enjoyed your post. Thanks for following my blog, Always Write. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marsha. I didn’t know about Colleen Chesebro until now; I appreciate your recommendation and will pay her a visit. I am happy you enjoyed my post! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

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