The Sheer Ubiquitousness...
#1
... of free verse.

It seems the internet is awash with nothing but these days. I'm reading some, and some makes sense and is thought-provoking and beautiful (e.g. Eliot's The Waste Land, Lawrence's Snake, but for the most part modern free form means do as you like without any discipline and call it poetry. Why else the internet plethora? Because it's (apparently) easy?

Extract from Asphodel (Williams) (yards of it):

The sea alone
with its multiplicity
holds any hope.
The storm
has proven abortive
but we remain
after the thoughts it roused
to                                            How is this solitary word on a line explained?
re-cement our lives.
It is the mind
the mind
that must be cured
short of death's
intervention,
and the will becomes again
a garden.


This is what I'm not getting, and why I believe so often across contributions, these single words and staggered forms give licence to some of the most appalling crap. If acknowledged poets can write one word on a line, then, it seems, I'll litter mine with the same.

My attempt at free verse based on real-world experience:

Verbal diarrhoea
oozing
down
the
page.


The current all-embracing trend of free verse is putting me off that form, especially when such a lot is a disjointed stream of consciousness littered with meaningless and arbitrary broken lines.

Grateful if someone could explain how to read e.g Asphodel with its single-word lines and choppy delivery. I don't want to give up on this form... yet.

Cheers.
feedback award A poet who can't make the language sing doesn't start. Hence the shortage of real poems amongst the global planktonic field of duds. - Clive James.
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#2
Take a super structure, standard sonnet, cut off some beats here, add some beat there, change rhymes to intentionally not rhyme and it essentially reads like free verse. Only maybe twice as much work went in, and it still probably reads like crap.
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#3
(01-21-2021, 02:02 AM)CRNDLSM Wrote:  Take a super structure, standard sonnet, cut off some beats here, add some beat there, change rhymes to intentionally not rhyme and it essentially reads like free verse.  Only maybe twice as much work went in, and it still probably reads like crap.

Not that I'm seeking 'confirmation bias'... but just watching Biden's inauguration and listened to Amanda Gorman (essentially the US's first poet laureate.) Yes, it had a rap beat (wasn't expecting that), but impressively read and moving.

Hmm. Confused [dot] com.

Thanks for replying. Still researching.  Thumbsup
feedback award A poet who can't make the language sing doesn't start. Hence the shortage of real poems amongst the global planktonic field of duds. - Clive James.
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#4
(01-21-2021, 02:48 AM)John Wrote:  
(01-21-2021, 02:02 AM)CRNDLSM Wrote:  Take a super structure, standard sonnet, cut off some beats here, add some beat there, change rhymes to intentionally not rhyme and it essentially reads like free verse.  Only maybe twice as much work went in, and it still probably reads like crap.

Not that I'm seeking 'confirmation bias'... but just watching Biden's inauguration and listened to Amanda Gorman (essentially the US's first poet laureate.) Yes, it had a rap beat (wasn't expecting that), but impressively read and moving.

Hmm. Confused [dot] com.

Thanks for replying. Still researching.  Thumbsup

The old saw is, blank verse is tennis without the net; free verse is tennis without the ball.  But follow that thought a bit:  tennis without the ball can be terrific if the "players" make all the moves (perhaps with "whop" and "boink" sound effects), then get into a heated argument over a disputed (imagined) line call.  It takes a lot more for free verse (I'm still rubbish at it quite often) and knowing all the rules of forms, rhyme, etc. without ostensibly following them.  Air tennis is vey easy - much easier than tennis with net and ball - to do badly, but when it's done well it's a higher art where whacking balls over the net is just sport (like flawless iambic pentameter with decent rhymes that just doesn't sing).

Hope that helps your research  Big Grin
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#5
The 'technique' of writing rhymed verse that scans appropriately is trite, about as much of a challenge as solving a pair of simultaneous equations is to a maths graduate. That's because we are mostly all educated today, and can spell our names.
The issue is not free verse per se (because it's perfectly easy to write bad poetry in free verse just as it is easy to write terrible poetry in rhymed verse) but bad writing.
About Amanda Gorman's piece - as a poem, it's terrible. But apt for the intended audience, no doubt.
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#6
As far as asphodel goes, the small portion you selected, it looks like they wrote in lines of three words each, and then adjusted the lengths to emphasize specific words. The 'to' could be important as it's directional. I'm probably not going to try and read the entire thing to see if my theory holds up
Peanut butter honey banana sandwiches
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#7
I read the whole poem, and found the pattern of the lines to be a hindrance in reading. I think it's overdone. The poem itself is splendid.
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#8
What do you mean by verse?
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