Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Amateur free verse November 8, 2010

Filed under: Commentary,Poetry,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:39 am
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Putting on the English teacher hat…

(Free verse: poetry without rhyme scheme or rhythm.  The following poem is a tirade against bad free verse.  It is not written in free verse.)


When crafting lines of poetry
Please choose your words most carefully.
If you must vomit onto the page
Clean up all the boring beige
Only the best words should be saved
Everything else, please deftly raze.
Leave your message in a poignant turn
Not lost amid the dross and worms.
In poetry, now please don’t pout,
the best is left,  when you toss out!


Do you think a poem about it will make my students more inclined to do it?

No.  Probably not. 

I hate rambling, self-gratifying, free verse poetry.  I wrote a lot of it as a teen, and it was very cathartic.  Not everything we write is  worthy to be shared.  (In the effort to avoid hypocrisy, let me take this opportunity to apologize to the young men who were forced to endure those horrendous, cathartic poems:  I was young.  I was stupid.  Please forgive me).  Let us remember that even free verse should be edited for the most beautiful, evocative, powerful language we can create!  There is power in brevity!

I think I may make a poster that summarizes this idea even further:

Use the best, the perfect words

Don’t bury them beneath the turds


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