"The Judgment of Paris" by Jacques-Clément Wagrez‘Free Verse’ by Clive Boddy The Society July 8, 2022 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 14 Comments . Free Verse Let us free verse from “free verse” while we can;A pile of branches does not make a tree,And fruit squashed on a plate does not make jam.While words strung down a page can never be,As eloquent as structured poetry. Let us free verse from “free verse” while we may;A canvas splashed with paint does not make art,Fine pottery is more than unturned clay,While breaking eggs alone does not bake tarts,So, let’s write verse that’s organized and smart. Let us free verse from “free verse” while we might,Though “free verse” may win many a critics’ prizeWe find the meaning empty or just slight,Disjointed words mean nothing to our eyes,Such poetry’s just prose in false disguise. . . Originally from England, Clive Boddy is a Yorkshireman currently living in Perth, Western Australia. He is a semi-retired academic and has held professorships in Leadership and Management. His numerous publications include two books on the effects of corporate psychopaths on employees, organizations and society; and a single book of poems called Poems of Love and Location. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 14 Responses Julian D. Woodruff July 8, 2022 On the whole I agree, Mr. Boddy, although saying “free verse” is prose in (false) disguise is giving it more credit than it sometimes deserves. Reply Cynthia Erlandson July 8, 2022 I really like this! It’s so… comprehensible (as opposed to some “free” verse). Organizing the verses in the way you did, using “can”, “may”, and “might” to end each verse’s first line, was very clever — and echoed in my mind “Gather ye rosebuds while you may”. I love all of your examples of bits and pieces of things, or messy and unfinished products, not coming together to make beauty or wholeness. They are both crystal-clear images, and extremely convincing metaphors. Reply Michael Pietrack July 8, 2022 A paragraph Chopped to bits And stacked vertically Does not a poem Make. Reply Michael Pietrack July 8, 2022 A pile of branches does not make a tree – perfect Reply Cheryl Corey July 8, 2022 You sum it up nicely, Clive. Reply Paul Freeman July 8, 2022 Good free verse is usually heavy on metaphor, imagery, alliteration, rhythm, and occasionally internal rhyme. It’s not randomly stacked branches at all. Look at Ted Hughes’s ‘Wind’, ‘Pike’, ‘Thistles’ or ‘Harvest Moon’ – if you dare! Unfortunately, free verse is usually pretty poor because most folk don’t know the rules, such as they are, and end up with those randomly stacked branches. Reply Joshua C. Frank July 8, 2022 Good one! Though I have to say, while I normally agree with you on free verse, my mother has written some beautiful free verse, using all tools of poetry except rhyme and meter. The problem is that the modern world has lost its standards in nearly everything, and so duct tape on canvas, a crucifix in a jar of urine, and incoherent crayon scribbles (I am not making any of these up!) are called art, and actual art is called stifling, derivative, and pompous. Reply Mike Bryant July 9, 2022 I like this poem a lot. It reminds me of another poem at this link: https://classicalpoets.org/2021/04/16/national-poetry-month-challenge-what-is-poetry/#/ This is the origin of free verse… “I have a new method of poetry. All you got to do is look over your notebooks… or lay down on a couch, and think of anything that comes into your head, especially the miseries… then arrange in lines of two, three, or four words each, don’t bother with the sentences, in sections of two, three, or four lines each.” –Allen Ginsberg, Letter to Jack Kerouac (1952) That ridiculous idea has spawned all manner of crap. And also plenty of poetry that identifies that crap, like yours does, Mr. Boddy. Joe Salemi took that quote as inspiration for this poem: Grab your notebook, flop down on a couch — Think of stuff that makes your soul cry “Ouch!” Burble out a few words (skip the grammar), Arrange the fragments in aphasic stammer. Real poetry is making a comeback. Reply David Whippman July 9, 2022 A skilfully written, enjoyable poem. I too tend to prefer structured verse, but with the reservation that some free verse can be effective. But what you say undoubtedly applies to a lot of the stuff out there. Reply Alex W July 9, 2022 While I like free verse, I still appreciate the skill required in rhymes works. Your metering of “eloquent” and “poetry” is particularly skillful. Reply Gary July 10, 2022 So true. I completely agree with your sentiments. Love the way you skilfully and ably illustrated the concept and gave us an example of well written poetry. Good work, Clive. Reply Gary July 10, 2022 I think there is nothing wrong in free verse poetry in itself. There have been a good few poets who have written some very good free verse poems. I think the main problem began when editors started to lower the bar on what was ‘good’ and started to gush over drivel. This of course snowballed. Also editors started to have a rigid mindset regarding what they would print. Free verse, itself had to be written in a certain way with certain content or it wouldn’t be considered, resulting in the effect of nearly every free verse poem written in the last sixty years sounding like it was written by the same person. I much prefer traditional formal poetry but think free verse is a valid poetry concept. The main problem has been the poor standard and the strangling of creativity and discouragement of poets finding there own voice. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 11, 2022 Clive, your ‘Free Verse’ poem (clever title) has it all – rhyme, rhythm, great poetic devices, and a message that speaks clearly and passionately. My firm favourite is formal poetry. Having said that, I have read some beautiful free verse. I only wish we lived in a world that wasn’t governed by those who dictate tastes and shut down anything that doesn’t align with the “current thing”, and by the “current thing”, I mean anything and everything the arbiters of art tell us to like. I think poetry should speak for itself and it’s speaking loudly and clearly on this site, which is why I love it! Thank you for your wonderful contribution. Reply S.A.Todd July 12, 2022 Good stuff Clive! Though I echo the sentiments of many already by saying that free verse can, if done well, actually be very worthwhile and impactful. To me, ability and intent come into it. I like to think of it in terms of music – it is one thing to be a person who can *only* play three chords on a guitar, and quite another to be someone who can *also* play a beautifully complex, finger-picked passage but who occasionally *chooses* to play three chord songs. The more broadly skilled player will always have that come through in their music, and I’ll bet that even their three basic chords will somehow sound better than the other guy. As with music, so with poetry. I think we can all tell when someone is only capable of doing the equivalent of a word-sneeze and hyping it up as as pure art, versus those who can quite happily produce in the classical style but sometimes choose to play around and experiment with imagery in a less formal way. – Steve Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.