Argument for Free Verse                                       Argument for Form

And then
you let it flow.
It’s easy-like, just think!
You write your gut, what aches down deep,
take off the chains of form, of rhyme, of beat–
write free! Get rid of rules that tell
you what to say in rhyme,
that orders feet.

yourself in form;
let rhyme yield memories.
Compose set-time to bring to life
the musicality of images.
Experience the thrill of sounds
that rush the wind with fire
of metaphors
and verse.

Throw out
ideas of form,
the last resort of those
who have no passion of their own —
those youth who haven’t lived or aged shades
still hanging on to dreams of art.
It’s time to break the rules.
with clout!

So bored
with this drum roll!
These cries of lazy minds
that choose to vomit words, then serve
up prose disguised as ugly poetry,
refuse to learn their craft, refine
their lines,  deride the skilled
with angry, strong

To praise
ideals in form,
hide –bound to metered rhyme
obscures reality. The scars
of life, the wars of hurt, the private angst
that teaches strength, that burns the soul
inflames our minds — become
the howl, the source
of rage.

To smooth
the furrows out,
reduce to essences,
extract the purest feelings with 
the finest words that spring from ironies,
analogies in praise, despair
or passion’s depths. The goal’s
to sing  and plumb
for truth.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 9.24.14 * All Rights Reserved
Both sides written in the © Quarrel Form (or Falling Diamonds) that I invented and am using as a challenge at dVerse Poets Pub for Meeting the Bar. The form begins and ends with 1 foot iambic. The subsequent lines increase by one foot iamb to whatever desired length of  iambic feet probably not exceeding eight and then decrease by one to a one foot iamb for the end. The only rhymes must be in beginning and end lines.

31 thoughts on “Free|Form

  1. ahh…I recognized your form right away, though you disposed of the centering feel of the diamonds. I like the back and forth and the use of italicized/straight font and alignment which offset the two sides. I think the use of the form with two different views works nicely…particularly with the added visual format.

    honestly, I could picture this as my own internal argument. while free verse has always been my go to, I have developed a certain love-hate relationship with form.

    • Thank you so much for this validation. This form is not really difficult to write. It’s pretty easy if you stick to shorter words except on the longer feet lines. What made this difficult was to choose my arguments. I, like you, feel as though I am on the edge of this argument. I began writing – thinking only to write free verse but rhyme always worked its way in. When I got connected with poetry online, I was asked to host form articles. That job has forced me to pull my work into meter, rhyme, repetition, etc. I found it is both freeing and constraining. Weird!

  2. oha… free versus form…. and both sides have good arguments… very cool gay… you managed to stay free even within the form here… great flow…looking forward to the prompt tonite…

    • Yes, I think if you are arguing two sides, it’s easy but one should keep the retorts to about twenty to thirty words (50 syllables) to fit in the design. I found it flowed naturally and choosing short words allowed the iambs to flow easily. Sometimes I had to check the thesaurus for a word with the right stresses. Have fun!

  3. Gee, I thought that it was just me, for nearly every time I get tangled up with feet, meter, counting syllables, forcing rhymes–I too often feel that I am swimming in swift water wearing heavy logging boots. I usually can get it done, but I long for the naked thrill of bare skin slipping through fast water like a dolphin, leaping out of the water when I feel the joy, the freedom take a hold of me.

  4. I am always conflicted with forms Gay but I do try to learn and master the craft ~ I like the style and dialogue between two sides, free form versus form ~ I must try this challenge again sometime ~ Great example and I am always learning from you ~

    • Thank you Grace. Sorry I couldn’t join your challenge. I’ve been down with asthma for the last two weeks, and as you know my friend is ill so we’ve been a lot in doctors’ offices. I loved the photography though.

  5. Ah.. yes.. I could feel the iambs marching down your lines.. and for sure I like both form and free, so I assume I’m in the middle there .. going from one side to the other.. I had fun with the form .. and tried to take two viewpoints.. I can tell it’s much harder to write meter in Swedish (there are much less words to chose from).. so with a thesaurus it’s like laying puzzle… 🙂

    • Looking forward to your piece, Björn. Iambs seem to be so natural to you. Yes, I had to check the thesaurus a lot to get the right length and right stressed words too. Made it a little challenging. I spent a fair amount of time writing arguments..they went on for pages as this is a topic everyone has spoken to. But I finally pared it down to 3 stanzas per side..working in debate (ish) mode.

  6. This is excellent, Gay. I really like the way you presented the arguments between form and free. I haven’t come up with an idea yet, hope to later in the day. You make it look easy, but I know it is not. An interesting form to try.

  7. Thank you Mary. It wasn’t the form that I found difficult for either of the two I’ve written, though I will say the diamonds are somewhat easier (though the continuous rhymes require preparation), but the subject matter and how to cull it to fit a readable size was challenging. Hope you’re able to join in, thanks!

  8. I did seem to understand the parameters of your invented form, Gay, but Blogger threw me for several loops; that & your so very specific use of rhyme, meter, & feet were not readily evident to me when first reading this fine poem; so I keyed mine off a fallacious misunderstanding of the form; but, what the hell, something new did emerge; hope you dig it regardless.

  9. hahaha nicely done…and i recognize the argument…i have made it a few times…lol…ah i can appreciate form…especially when it is one that kicks my butt…still working on mine…still working….

    • I met nearly all my requirements – I think it needs a bit more though. Looking to pump it a little if I can figure out how. We’re all working on this a little more I think. Thanks for the comment Brian!

  10. Did not have the time to address the intricacies of this challenging form. I like your subject. I find that the restraints of form especially when dealing with emotions is probably more effective than free verse. It seems to contain the intensity.

  11. I love the tit-for-tat of this piece and find it ironic that the argument against form is immaculately shaped within the form of this.

    As an iambic imbecile, I resort to syllable-counting and the seat of my pants. If it has no rhythmic elements when I speak my words, I cringe and try again. I still have much to learn it seems. Good thing you’re here to help me challenge myself. 🙂

  12. Very cool in that is full of spartan debate and perfect example for us; I just cannot seem to get in that opposite or argument mood tonight…am sure my iambic pentameter is way off and my poem doesn’t flow like yours 😉

  13. Love the arguments in this, as both sides make valid points. You make the form and the meter seem so easy, when for me they are so very difficult. Did not have time to address this challenge properly, so am hoping to learn from reading others and then make an attempt. Thank you.

  14. Wonderful play on words Gay…. Sometimes it should just be all about fun! Your words flew from the page like musical notes, regardless of intent! Admittedly I was looking for rhyme or form, though, on the “Form” (right) side of the page…. Still this was a wonderful diversion to my humdrum day – thank you

    • Well the whole poem was the form for the Quarrel. It’s written in iams starting with one foot and expanding to five before shrinking back to one where the one foot lines throughout rhyme. I kept that to each side in the actual “quarrel” of this poem.

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