free verse


free verse
free-versifier /free"verr"seuh fuy'euhr/, n.
verse that does not follow a fixed metrical pattern.
[1905-10]

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Poetry organized according to the cadences of speech and image patterns rather than according to a regular metrical scheme.

Its rhythms are based on patterned elements such as sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, rather than on the traditional units of metrical feet (see metrical foot). Free verse thus eliminates much of the artificiality and some of the aesthetic distance of poetic expression. It became current in English poetics in the early 20th century. See also prosody.

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poetry
      poetry organized to the cadences of speech and image patterns rather than according to a regular metrical scheme. It is “free” only in a relative sense. It does not have the steady, abstract rhythm of traditional poetry; its rhythms are based on patterned elements such as sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, rather than on the traditional prosodic units of metrical feet per line. Free verse, therefore, eliminates much of the artificiality and some of the aesthetic distance of poetic expression and substitutes a flexible formal organization suited to the modern idiom and more casual tonality of the language.

      Although the term is loosely applied to the poetry of Walt Whitman and even earlier experiments with irregular metres, it was originally a literal translation of vers libre (q.v.), the name of a movement that originated in France in the 1880s. Free verse became current in English poetics in the early 20th century. The first English-language poets to be influenced by vers libre, notably T.E. Hulme, F.S. Flint, Richard Aldington, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot, were students of French poetry. The Imagist movement, started in England in 1912 by Aldington, Pound, Flint, and Hilda Doolittle (“H.D.”), was concerned with more than versification, but one of its principles was “to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of the metronome.” Almost from the beginning, the free-verse movement split into two groups, one led by Amy Lowell and a more formal one led by Pound. Eliot's early experimentations with free verse influenced the loosening of formal metrical structures in English-language poetry. Carl Sandburg, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Wallace Stevens all wrote some variety of free verse; the versification of Williams and Moore most closely resembles that of the vers libre poets of France.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Free verse — is a term describing various styles of poetry that are written without using strict meter or rhyme, but that still are recognizable as poetry by virtue of complex patterns of one sort or another that readers will perceive to be part of a coherent …   Wikipedia

  • free verse — n [U] poetry that does not have a fixed structure and does not ↑rhyme →↑blank verse …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • free verse — free′ verse′ n. pro verse with no fixed metrical pattern • Etymology: 1905–10 …   From formal English to slang

  • free verse — noun uncount a type of poetry that does not have a regular RHYTHM or RHYME …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • free verse — 1908; see VERS LIBRE (Cf. vers libre) …   Etymology dictionary

  • free verse — ► NOUN ▪ poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular rhythm …   English terms dictionary

  • free verse — n. poetry without regular meter, rhyme, or stanzaic forms …   English World dictionary

  • free verse — noun unrhymed verse without a consistent metrical pattern • Syn: ↑vers libre • Hypernyms: ↑poem, ↑verse form * * * noun Etymology: translation of French vers libre : verse whose meter is irregular in some respect or who …   Useful english dictionary

  • FREE VERSE —    Japanese poetry has historically been governed by metric considerations based upon the tanka tradition. Free verse does away with the strict metrical structure of tanka, lending itself to the use of colloquial grammar and vocabulary. When… …   Japanese literature and theater

  • free verse — noun A poetic form divided into lines of no particular length or meter, without a rhyme scheme. Whitman uses free verse to achieve effects impossible under even the broad restrictions of blank verse …   Wiktionary


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