Academy Log: What type of verse is it?

Well, there 3 types of verse:

Rhyming verse is so called because — you guessed it — it rhymes. There are many poetic forms which are structured around a rhyme scheme; but, I’m linking to Nursery Rhymes because if you ever lose the taste for them then why bother with poetry at all?

Blank verse is poetry that does not rhyme and is written in iambic pentameter.

  • An iamb is 2 consecutive syllables with the emphasis on the 2nd syllable, iambic pentameter means you have 5 iambs (or 10 syllables) with the emphasis of a heartbeat (ta-DUM ta-DUM ta-DUM ta-DUM ta-DUM).
  • Most of the dialogue in the verse dramas of the 16th & early-17th centuries was written in blank verse, including but not limited to the works of Marlowe & Shakespeare.

Free verse is everything else, seriously.

  • Free verse is none of the above.
  • It does not rhyme.
  • It is not iambic pentameter.
  • It is everything else.
  • This type of verse was initially made “acceptable” by Walt Whitman when he self-published Leaves of Grass. (Fun fact: his contemporary Emily Dickinson did not read his book, because she heard it was scandalous.)
  • Free verse is now generally perceived as the most common type of verse being written today, particularly in America.

Looking over your collection of poems, what’s what? Figuring out the blank verse should really be the only finicky one; but, I know of at least one poem by Robert Frost that tricks you into thinking it doesn’t have a rhyme scheme even though it does.

Huh, know what? You should give each of these verse types a shot while thinking about everything you’ve already learned about form, and voice, and kind. Oh my!