Writing free verse poems
March 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm #107822
Alrighty, so! I’ve got this free verse poem I wrote, and obviously since free verse is free of both rhyme and meter there’s not really a “wrong” way to write it, but does anyone have tips on writing it, and/or critique for me?
Below is the aforementioned poem.
The Chess Match
“Checkmate!” you said.
I moved a pawn
In front of my king.
“Pawns can’t move sideways,” you said.
I shrugged and smiled.
“The pawn has an airplane.”
You looked at the board,
And captured both pawn and king.
“My rook has a laser beam,” you said.
I tapped one of your knights.
(You’re playing with black; me, white.)
“This knight is loyal to me.
My king gave her the kingdom.
You can’t kill your own color.”
As you studied on this,
With a flick of my wrist,
Your king was alone on the board.
But this didn’t phase you;
It rather amused you,
And my pieces, along with the knight,
Found themselves under the board,
Your king on a single square up above.
I flicked a lever,
And an iron cage surrounded your king.
“We’re at a standstill,” I said.
“You are trapped and so am I.
And yet, you cannot kill your knight,
You just smiled and your king pulled out
A cannon that fit in his hands.
A bishop of mine threw a rock.
It knocked your cannon out of reach.
But I watched in amazement
As it fell to the basement,
Falling onto your black knight, my queen.
“I cannot kill my own piece,” you said.
“But you certainly can.”
(Based on a rather unusual game of chess that a friend and I played over text messages. Like, this was quite exactly what happened. It started with me sending this “cheating at chess is more fun than actually playing chess” list of things like “oh look at that! While you went to get a snack, my pawns found Jesus and are all bishops now.” Then my friend and I literally played a game of chess but cheating XD He ended up winning by cleverly finding a loophole in my reasoning.)
- This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Livi Ryddle. Reason: Wow, I can't spell
- This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Livi Ryddle. Reason: Conciseness issues
“Enough! Be quiet! I can’t hear myself think! I can’t hear my teeth chatter!"March 1, 2020 at 8:37 pm #107836
@anne_the_noob14 Okay, that’s really funny. XD It sounds like something my sister and I would do.
Like you said, free verse is hard to critique (I find all poetry hard to critique, honestly, since it feels so personal and individual), but I will mention this one thing–in this line:
But this didn’t phase you;
I think you mean “faze.” 😛
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.March 1, 2020 at 8:54 pm #107839
@naiya-dyani *grins* It was so fun!
GAAAAAHH YOU’RE RIGHT DANGIT
Sorry XD I get aggravated at myself when I use the wrong homophone XD
And yeah, I get what you said about poetry being “too personal” to critique comfortably. I’ve had the same problem a couple times, even with some prose.
“Enough! Be quiet! I can’t hear myself think! I can’t hear my teeth chatter!"March 1, 2020 at 9:01 pm #107841
@anne_the_noob14 Hah, you should see me when I make bad typos. . . I get the puppy face of shame, because in my family I’m kind of known as the grammar Nazi. Although I’ve come to mind it far less on things like forums and IMs. Because I make plenty of errors on those things. Often on purpose. 😉
I enjoy doing free verse a good bit myself. When something just strikes my poetic mood, I usually lean more traditional poetry, but when I’ve got internal turmoil and need to spill it out on paper to God because my mind sure can’t do it (not that this happens frequently or anything. . .), I usually go free verse. Much easier to brain dump that way. Don’t have to follow conventions of poetry or prose. 😉
- This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Naiya Dyani.
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.March 1, 2020 at 9:05 pm #107844
@naiya-dyani *grins* My mom and I are, too! And yeah, I make purposeful typos as well 😛
Yes!! Exactly what I do! I’ll get inspired by the weather outside or whatever and write a sonnet, but then I’ll read a book with a bittersweet ending and write a free verse sob story.
“Enough! Be quiet! I can’t hear myself think! I can’t hear my teeth chatter!"March 1, 2020 at 9:11 pm #107846
@anne_the_noob14 GAAAAAHHH YES
I came home from watching I think it was called Overcomer–can’t quite remember, but it was that Christian movie with the boy that drowned–and it messed me up and I just went OKAY NOW I NEED TO GO TORMENT MY CHARACTERS TO GET THESE FEELS OUT
Unfortunately, I struggled and just ended up yelling to my sister over Messenger instead. 😛
Yeah, I wrote a poem recently about the stars after taking out the compost and it was fun because instead of it being about loving the stars I took a different twist on it. 😉 I sent it to my sister and she just responded with “oof.” XD
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.March 1, 2020 at 9:14 pm #107849
Oh my gosh, that’s funny XD And also not, cause #toorelatable… XD
“Enough! Be quiet! I can’t hear myself think! I can’t hear my teeth chatter!"March 1, 2020 at 9:16 pm #107852
Heh, at least my children were safe. . . for one night, at least. 😉
Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.March 1, 2020 at 9:26 pm #107860
“Enough! Be quiet! I can’t hear myself think! I can’t hear my teeth chatter!"April 12, 2020 at 4:40 pm #110111Emma Huckabee (Emma Starr)@emma-starr
@anne_the_noob14 Such a fun poem!! I liked the banter. ;P
For tips….free verse is, well, free. I used to think that meant that you wouldn’t use any poetry techniques in free verse, but now I realize that free verse really opens up my writing to use the full variety of tools.
I use free verse as an opportunity to ruthlessly cut out any unoriginal wording and really go for clean-cut writing.
I dwell on bringing out strong images by utilizing original metaphors and similes.
Powerful vibes/aesthetic and how the poem feels in your mouth are both important. Bringing in some alliteration and assonance assists with this.
Also, words that SOUND like what you are describing are so cool to work with: for example, words with sharp sounds like “clank” and “spike” and “crime” when describing a battle, and words with open sounds like “warm,” “marshmallow,” and “liquid,” for a mug of hot chocolate.
I hope some of that helps!
- This reply was modified 12 months ago by Emma Huckabee (Emma Starr).
Spreading God's love until I can see seven billion smiles. 🙂 https://sevenbillionsmiles.home.blogApril 12, 2020 at 10:53 pm #110119
@emma-starr Thanks! I had a ridiculously fun time writing it XD
*nods thoughtfully* Aah, I see! Yeah, that’s all helpful! I’ll see if I can work some poetic wording and sounds in 😀 Thank you!!
“Enough! Be quiet! I can’t hear myself think! I can’t hear my teeth chatter!"April 13, 2020 at 9:22 am #110124April 13, 2020 at 3:46 pm #110159Eitan@eitan
Very nice poem! I like it.
I do not write poems that much, but I’m studying now Biblical literature (which’s always free-verse), and it’s main uniqueness is in it’s use of parallelism between lines – it allows you to hide meanings in the lines without directly say them. Parallelism works best in free-verse, because you aren’t limited in your choice of words, you can describe things more freely.
For example, in Proverbs 10:11 – ”The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence”. The parallelism (contrast between the two lines) isn’t exactly opposite descriptions (life vs death), but it reveals deeper meanings and information about both the righteous and the wicked:
If one brings life, so the other brings death. If one is a liar and concealer, so the other is honest. If one is violent, so the other is patient and loving.
You can use that technique in your poems too, to use the free-verse structure and it’s advantages on other poems best.
You don't need to see the wind itself in order to hear the rustling leaves.April 13, 2020 at 3:59 pm #110162
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