What is Free Verse?

Verse is a term with many uses. It can be the set of words that maintain a cadence and that are subject to a certain measure. It is important to note that poems have the lines as their first ordered unit. Free, on the other hand, is one who enjoys freedom (which is not subordinated or limited).

A free verse, therefore, is a kind of expression of poetry that departs from the usual criteria of measure and rhyme. Although it is possible to say that it is similar to poetic prose and prose poems , free verse has the particularity of maintaining the traditional typographic location of the verses, that is, the indented lines, so that at the visual level it is not possible to relate it to the rest.

Free verse is characterized by its irregularity and its variable length. This mode of expression emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in opposition to the tenth, the sonnet and other forms prevalent in the field of poetry. Although the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy does not recognize it, it is possible to use the term versolibrismo, a neologism, to refer to the use of this form of expression in the creation of poetry. Those who write in free verse pay no attention to stanzas, although they may segment their verses into similar units. It is important to emphasize that, although the rhyme, meter and accent are not fixed, the poet continues to take care of musicality. In addition to its broad historical development, free verse reached its peak in surrealism, creationism, ultraism, and other avant-garde trends. Its authors bet on the reiteration of syntactic elements and the use of different rhetorical figures, such as metaphor . It is important to note that some of the bases from which free verse tried to depart, such as the aforementioned rhyme and meter, predominated in this form of expression until the last decades of the 19th century. In other words, the mission to tear down those walls to introduce the world to a new way of making poetry, and of understanding it, was not exactly easy. A clear predecessor of free verse is the silva , which emerged in the 17th century, which can be defined as a metric series that is constructed from lines of eleven or seven syllables, and with free consonant rhyme, although some lines may not rhyme. The silva gave Baroque poets great freedom in composition, as it allowed them, albeit implicitly, to avoid structuring in stanzas.

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Continuing with its characteristics from a structural point of view, we can say that the form of free verse is less rigid, as it seeks to reflect the naturalness of oral expression, tracing the rhythm of inspiration and expiration in the outline of its verses. of the writer. It is common to find the name Walt Whitman in this context, as he was the first of the world-renowned poets to experiment with free verse. In his particular case, he favored the so-called verse, inspired by the semantic parallelism typical of the Psalms and Prophets of the Bible. In addition to Walt Whitman, we can cite many, many great artists of the word who at the time dedicated their efforts to this form of expression, and in this group we find Emily Dickinson , Charles Baudelaire , Anne Sexton , Rubén Darío and Jules Laforgue . On the other hand, it is important to point out that much of current poetry is based on free verse, as we are at a time when the message is more valued than the structure.

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