There is a scourge that permeates our midst
Which we cannot so easily dismiss.
Elitists strive to elevate this curse;
A type of art most poets call free verse.
True poetry once rhymed and had some form,
A style evoking passion was the norm;
But now these attributes are deemed archaic
As it makes little difference how you say it.
To be successful and not called a bore
You must engorge your work with metaphor;
And that your subject matter’s less than drivel
Is not a matter over which to quibble.
So lose the punctuation, it’s too quaint;
And end a sentence where its ending ain’t.
Abstraction then becomes the end of means,
Depicting not what is but what it seems.
You dare not look on free verse with disdain
Or devotees will challenge your domain,
And ostracize each work that you create
As being shallow, mundane, or too late.
And so we hail the era of free verse,
And poetry could suffer nothing worse;
It really isn’t poetry…you see,
Let’s call it what it is… it’s prosetry,
It’s poetroseit’s esoteric claptrap!



Don Shook, wearing the many hats of actor, director, producer and author, has award-winning scripts, television shows, and theatrical productions in his bag of credits. Formally with NBC in New York, he performed at Carnegie Hall in Tom Booth’s opera “Gentlemen In Waiting”, announced on air for WNBC, and was part of “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. He also taught music and drama at Texas A&M at Commerce, Duncanville High School, Temple Jr. College, Greenville Junior High and Brookhaven College in Dallas. Mr. Shook has written five novels, four screenplays, an acting handbook and over a dozen teleplays and wrote, directed and produced three shows, in Branson, Missouri. He has conducted Masters Acting Workshops for Stage West Theatre in Fort Worth and at The Granbury Opera Academy in Granbury, Texas.

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6 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    The notion of free verse, he wouldn’t brook;
    at spotting such atrocities, Don shook.

    It’s not much comfort, but women’s magazines that publish verse tend to ask for meter and rhyme.

    I enjoyed your poem, but must confess I occasionally dabble in free verse. It irks me enormously however, when a poem is dismissed or made to feel somehow enfeebled because structure, rhythm and rhyme are used.

  2. Tonia Kalouria

    . . . Right on!
    I have a like-minded offering set for Feb. 28 I am told.
    True POETRY still rhymes and has some form:
    Prosetry does not. Great term!

  3. David Paul Behrens

    Many years ago, I received a response to an inquiry I made to a book publisher, who flat out told me “We don’t publish rhymed poetry.” Can you imagine that? Just think about how many of the greatest poets would be eliminated on that basis. It is mind boggling!

  4. Panagota Romios

    Hello! Thank goodness, you wrote this!, insightful into today’s poetry. The run from classical poetry is
    gigantic.I thought something was wrong with me.
    I have seen looney poetry styles that avoid classical poetry. There seems to be a trend to not think…but to please readers only. And no contemplative thought allowed. What a downer!

  5. C.B. Anderson

    Almost all the verse I write is free, which is to say that I rarely get paid for it. But did you know that traditional formal verse is also racist? This must be so because, to a large extent, it is part of the tradition of Western civilization. We have now been hearing that mathematics is also racist, not only for the reason just cited, but also because math generally involves a single correct answer.


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