Examples of Free Verse Poems: Famous to Original (2023)

Robert Frost once commented that writing free verse was like "playing tennis without a net." Free verse poems do not follow the rules and have no rhyme or rhythm, but they are still an artistic expression. They are sometimes thought to be a modern form of poetry, but the free verse type of poetry has been around for hundreds of years.

Examples of Free Verse Poems: Famous to Original (1) girl with kitten free verse poem Little Shelter Cat

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After the Sea-Ship by Walt Whitman

Known as the father of free verse, poet Walt Whitman created several free verse poems, including "After the Sea-Ship."

"AFTER the Sea-Ship--after the whistling winds;
After the white-gray sails, taut to their spars and ropes,
Below, a myriad, myriad waves, hastening, lifting up their necks,
Tending in ceaseless flow toward the track of the ship:
Waves of the ocean, bubbling and gurgling, blithely prying,
Waves, undulating waves--liquid, uneven, emulous waves,
Toward that whirling current, laughing and buoyant, with curves,
Where the great Vessel, sailing and tacking, displaced the surface ..."

Fog by Carl Sandburg

Explore Carl Sandburg's astute observation of a cat in fog through the poetic form in his free verse poem "Fog."

"The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on."

Free Verse by Robert Graves

Famous free verse wordsmith Robert Graves uses sporadic rhyme within this work; however, there is no specific rhyme scheme.

(Video) Free Verse Poetry

"I now delight
In spite
Of the might
And the right
Of classic tradition,
In writing
And reciting
Straight ahead,
Without let or omission,

In any little time
That runs in my head;
Because, I’ve said,
My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed
Like Prussian soldiers on parade
That march,
Stiff as starch,
Foot to foot,
Boot to boot,
Blade to blade"

Free Verse Ode to Birth or Rosebuds by Linda J. Wolff

Modern poet Linda J. Wolff describes her experience with death in her poem, "Free Verse Ode to Birth or Rosebuds."

"Sometimes I need to reach—deep like taproots
Burrowing through the darkness of hardpan dirt—

I would want to establish strength; root-like,
anchored in the hopes of solidity.

Forsake the contamination of instability.
Prove I’m the poet of each line of prose.

Who needs the weakness of low self-esteem
when your fingers can grip the heart ..."

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Harlem by Langston Hughes

You may notice that Langston Hughes' poem "Harlem" does include some rhyming lines. However, there is no set rhyme scheme, bringing power to the few lines that do connect in rhyme.

(Video) Free Verse Poetry // Poetry For Kids

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Howl by Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg elevated the art of free verse with "Howl," which made him the artistic voice of his generation.

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated ..."

The Return by Ezra Pound

Poet Ezra Pound not only uses free verse in his poem "The Return," but he also uses words such as "uncertain wavering" to create an off-balance effect for his reader.

"See, they return; ah, see the tentative
Movements, and the slow feet,
The trouble in the pace and the uncertain
Wavering!

See, they return, one, and by one,
With fear, as half-awakened;
As if the snow should hesitate
And murmur in the wind,
and half turn back;
These were the "Wing'd-with-Awe,"
inviolable."

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(Video) Free Verse Poems

i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings

Free verse poetry came naturally to e.e. cummings, who enjoyed breaking both poetic and writing conventions in all-lowercased poems such as "i carry your heart with me."

"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you ..."

Mirror by Sylvia Plath

Writing in free verse allowed Sylvia Plath to express unbridled and unstructured emotions, as seen in her poem "Mirror."

"I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over."

The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

The wild, unyielding imagery of T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" would feel too constrained within a set rhyme scheme and verse.

"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter."

Original Free Verse Poems

While these famous poets are well-known for breaking poetic conventions, they're not the only ones who can write poetry this way. Use these original free verse poems by poet Kelly Roper to inspire your next work.

(Video) Sunrise (A Free Verse Inspirational Poem)

Little Shelter Cat by Kelly Roper

Finding the perfect feline friend can be hard. However, sometimes, you just connect with the perfect animal. See how Roper weaves a tale in this narrative, free verse poem.

"I walked into the shelter and looked around.
Out of all the homeless kitties, you stood out like a beacon.
I picked you up, and you purred and snuggled sweetly in my arms.
It was like we had always known each other, always been together.
I filled out the form, made the donation, and took you home.
You're a little shelter cat no more. You're mine."

City of Potholes by Kelly Roper

Roper's language and line length in this poem mirror the random and jarring nature of city potholes.

"Zig-zagging down the road
Trying not to stray over the center line
Or hit a curb
Or break an axle
Or flatten a tire
Or wind up in the next surprise sinkhole.
Driving in Toledo is not a sport
For the timid or the sane or the under-insured."

An Ode to Coffee by Kelly Roper

For most, mornings are a stumble to the coffee maker. Roper expertly crafts the feeling of that first morning cup.

"Beautiful brown liquid steaming in my cup,
Becoming a muddy river as I stir in the cream.
The aroma that gives me courage,
The flavor that tastes like hope for a better day,
And the energy that renews my will to live.
Tomorrow morning we'll do it all again my friend."

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Be Free With Your Writing

Poets like to create free verse poems because they aren't constrained to a rhyme scheme, rhythm or meter. Discover your ideal poetry form.

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(Video) How To Write A Free Verse Poem-Poetry Tutorial

Jennifer Betts

Staff Writer

FAQs

Examples of Free Verse Poems: Famous to Original? ›

10 Classic Examples of Free Verse
  • Christopher Smart, 'My Cat Jeoffry'.
  • Walt Whitman, 'Song of Myself'.
  • Gustave Kahn, 'The Dying Lover'. ...
  • Stephane Mallarmé, 'A Dice Throw'. ...
  • T. E. Hulme, 'Autumn'.
  • H. D., 'The Pool'. ...
  • T. S. Eliot, 'The Love Song of J. ...
  • Hope Mirrlees, Paris: A Poem.

Who is the most famous free verse poet? ›

Walt Whitman is one of the most popular poets of all time, and Song of Myself, published in 1855, is one of his most iconic works. Walt Whitman is widely regarded as one of the main fathers of free verse poetry.

Who is famous for free verse? ›

Though the term was not used during his age, American poet Walt Whitman is often called the father of free verse. Technically speaking, free verse arose with the vers libre form, created in the late 19th century in France.

Is Rupi Kaur a free verse poem? ›

Their free verse poetry eschews difficult metaphors in favor of clear, plain language, and this accessibility is precisely what has garnered the new wave of "Instapoets" such a large and dedicated following. But in terms of sheer numbers, Kaur remains the most popular — and the most controversial.

Did Sylvia Plath write in free verse? ›

Although many of Plath's poems are divided into stanzas with the same number of lines, the lines themselves are composed largely in free verse – that is to say, there is no consistent metre (beat) across the lines. Rhymes, when they do appear, are scattered around the stanzas, without much regard for a rhyme scheme.

What are some examples of a free verse poem? ›

10 Classic Examples of Free Verse
  • Christopher Smart, 'My Cat Jeoffry'.
  • Walt Whitman, 'Song of Myself'.
  • Gustave Kahn, 'The Dying Lover'. ...
  • Stephane Mallarmé, 'A Dice Throw'. ...
  • T. E. Hulme, 'Autumn'.
  • H. D., 'The Pool'. ...
  • T. S. Eliot, 'The Love Song of J. ...
  • Hope Mirrlees, Paris: A Poem.

What famous poet wrote free verse? ›

Carl Sandburg, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Wallace Stevens all wrote some variety of free verse; the versification of Williams and Moore most closely resembles that of the vers libre poets of France.

Who is the king of free verse? ›

One of the earliest and most significant authors of free verse was Walt Whitman, whose Leaves of Grass, a volume of powerful and completely unrhymed and unmetered poems would forever change the shape of poetry, both in English and in other languages.

What kind of poetry is milk and honey? ›

Instapoetry

What type of poetry is milk and honey? ›

Milk and honey

Why is milk and honey so popular? ›

Yet 'milk and honey' is looked down upon as unchallenging 'Instapoetry' by some critics, popular largely due to following modern poetry's expected aesthetic. With its use of lower-case letters, abstract sketches, and free verse, I can understand the initial skepticism.

Is Lady Lazarus free verse? ›

Free Verse Tercets

Those are called tercets, and "Lady Lazarus" is made up of twenty-eight of them. The tercets themselves are made up of short, chopped lines with a fair mix of enjambment and end-stopped lines.

Does Eliot use free verse? ›

And as the so-called vers libre which is good is anything but 'free,' it can better be defended under some other label." What keeps memorable free verse from being free, Eliot suggests, is its constant vacillation between adherence to, and departure from, rhyme and regular meter.

What is a free verse poem? ›

Free verse poetry is poetry that lacks a consistent rhyme scheme, metrical pattern, or musical form. While free verse poems are not devoid of structure, they allow enormous leeway for poets, particularly when compared to more metrically strict forms like blank verse.

What is the most famous Limerick? ›

There Was an Old Man with a Beard” by Edward Lear

His famous limericks popularized the form.

Does a free verse poem have to rhyme? ›

At its simplest, free verse poetry is poetry without a set form, so it doesn't have a repeated rhythm or rhyme scheme.

Who is called the father of free verse *? ›

Walt Whitman, also known as the father of free verse was born in May of 1819 (Llanas p. 11).Walt Whitman is considered to be one of the greatest poets and journalist of all time. Mr. Whitman became famous for his form of writing poetry and the many different kinds of genres he would pick.

What is a poem with 4 lines called? ›

A quatrain in poetry is a series of four-lines that make one verse of a poem, known as a stanza. A quatrain can be its own poem or one section within a larger poem. The poetic term is derived from the French word “quatre,” which means “four.”

Why is free verse so popular? ›

Its popularity in the twentieth century developed initially from the desire on the part of certain poets to free themselves from conventional patterns which they felt, at least for the time being, had outlived their usefulness. Traditional forms were to be displaced in what was a century of displacement.

Does milk and honey make you poop? ›

Honey is believed to be a beneficial home remedy to alleviate constipation. You can be either taken raw or added to milk, tea or water. The results are more beneficial when you add honey, with warm water along with a few drops of lemon juice. The enzymes in honey treat constipation and stabilize digestion.

Why does Rupi Kaur write in lowercase? ›

Rupi's work is written exclusively in lowercase to honour her mother tongue, Punjabi. Punjabi is written in the Gurmukhi script, which contains no uppercase letters and no punctuation, other than the period.

How many poems should a poetry book have? ›

How Many Poems Should You Include? This is really up to you, but a print collection for a complete book of poems rather than a chapbook (a small, staple–bound book) can contain between 30 to 100 poems, depending on poem length. An average book of poetry would be around 70 to 100.

Is milk and honey free verse? ›

All of Kaur's poems in Milk and Honey are free verse. Free verse poems are defined as having no regular meter or rhythm, following no poetic standards...

Which is the best book to read? ›

Classic Novels to Read
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell. ...
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. ...
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. ...
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. ...
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. ...
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. ...
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. ...
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Oct 29, 2020

How many poems are in the sun and her flowers? ›

The Sun and Her Flowers (stylized in all lowercase) is Rupi Kaur's second collection of poetry, published in 2017. It is composed of five chapters, with illustrations by the author.
...
The Sun and Her Flowers.
AuthorRupi Kaur
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
GenreRomance
PublisherAndrews McMeel Publishing (US) Simon & Schuster (UK)
5 more rows

Is it good to eat honey before bed? ›

Honey helps your brain release melatonin, the hormone that your body uses to restore itself during sleep. This happens through a series of transformations in your brain: honey's sugars spike your insulin levels, releasing tryptophan, which becomes serotonin, which becomes melatonin.

Does raw honey help you sleep? ›

Additionally, honey may promote melatonin formation due to its possible tryptophan content (a precursor to melatonin) that both helps to initiate sleep as well as promote release of hormones that facilitate whole body recovery during sleep.

Does drinking milk with honey increase sperm count? ›

For infertile or sub-fertile men, a drink of honey added with warm milk is believed to improve considerable amount of sperm count. Honey is known to be rich in vitamin B, an essential substance for the production of testosterone.

Did Walt Whitman write free verse? ›

Whitman was in his early 30s when he began writing his cutting-edge "Leaves of Grass." Walt Whitman is often celebrated as America's finest poet.

What is a free verse poem? ›

Free verse poetry is poetry that lacks a consistent rhyme scheme, metrical pattern, or musical form. While free verse poems are not devoid of structure, they allow enormous leeway for poets, particularly when compared to more metrically strict forms like blank verse.

What is the most famous Limerick? ›

There Was an Old Man with a Beard” by Edward Lear

His famous limericks popularized the form.

Does Eliot use free verse? ›

And as the so-called vers libre which is good is anything but 'free,' it can better be defended under some other label." What keeps memorable free verse from being free, Eliot suggests, is its constant vacillation between adherence to, and departure from, rhyme and regular meter.

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