Note from Erin: Next book club meeting is Sept. 3rd, so check out THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork. Pat, thank you again for leading these poetry discussions! And Happy Birthday!! P.S. All formatting mistakes are mine.
Welcome to the fourth in our series on poetry. This will be our final week at looking at famous poems before we try and write poetry of our own. The last type of poem that we’re reading is the free form. Almost all modern published poetry (within poetry circles – don’t count Halmark Cards) is written in free form.
The one thing to remember about free form is that anything goes, except for one thing. There cannot be a pattern to the poem. Rhyming is discouraged also, but not forbidden. Free form is also the most difficult poetry to write, and still have it sound like poetry.
I hope you enjoy these three selections. Try to identify the tropes of poetry within each poem, if there are any. Harlem, by Langston Hughes, could be considered a lyric poem, but there really is no pattern there, so I included it in this week’s blog.
When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer by Walt Whitman
When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Harlem by Langston Hughes
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?
in just- by E. E. Cummings
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old baloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and