It feels odd to be an apologist for a type of creative writing, but I feel like it needs to be said. A lot of people somewhat justifiably enjoy going after free verse poetry, and I am here to offer a defense, not just because I enjoy writing it, but because I feel like people are being a little unfair.

What is Free Verse

Free verse is poetry that does not adhere to any traditional poetry meter and rhyme structures. It has no set structure of meter or rhyme.

Some of the rage is understandable

A lot of people have some justification to be critical of free verse poetry. A lot of the hate directed at free verse poetry is directed at bad free verse or free verse poetry that does not really say anything.

I understand getting upset at free verse that is bad or boring.

Not as free as you think

Just because it is called free verse does mean that you can just go crazy and get away with anything if you want your free verse to be good.

You can’t just
hit enter at
random spaces in
text and think people
will buy it.

I guarantee that besides the people who simply dislike your writing, readers will be able to tell if you try and get away with nonsense.

There are a number of things that must be considered in free verse poems.

What is your image or your story?

Where should the line breaks happen?

You have to be concise, like with traditional poetry.

You have to edit and revise like any other type of writing.

Just because the form is more open does not mean you can get away with anything and expect it to work out well for you.

There is a craft to free verse.

Save the rhymes for music

I think that rhymes should be left to songwriters. If people are reading fiction, I don’t think rhymes are what people want. Readers want a story, they want the author to paint a picture with writing.

Apart from just having it as a concept that some authors use, I don’t know that fiction readers in 2017 and beyond want their fiction in verse. Why wouldn’t people want freer and hopefully more effective writing in the fiction they buy.

My last point is that structure can sometimes limit effectiveness. Freeing up the form that goes into a poem might make it where writers can use the word economics of a poet to more effectively paint a picture or tell a story with their writing that strict structures might constrain.