Sunday, April 5, 2009

Free Verse: Messy Room

“Messy Room“

-Shel Silverstein


Whosever room this is should be ashamed!

His underwear is hanging on the lamp.

His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,

And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.

His workbook is wedged in the window,

His sweater's been thrown on the floor.

His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,

And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.

His books are all jammed in the closet,

His vest has been left in the hall.

A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,

And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!

Donald or Robert or Willie or--

Huh? You say it's mine? Oh, dear,

I knew it looked familiar!


Free verse poetry is free from the normal rules of poetry. The poet may choose to include some rhyming words but the poem does not have to rhyme. A free verse poem may be just a sentence that is artistically laid out on the page or it can be pages of words. Some forms of free verse separate, or split, phrases and words between lines. Punctuation may be absent or it may be used to place greater emphasis on specific words. The main object of free verse is to use colorful words, punctuation, and word placement to convey meaning to the reader.

This form of poetry is incredibly broad in its definition and even more so in its practice. Using Caesura to end his lines and determine the flow of this poem Silverstein creates a situation in which an observer realizes the magnitude of his own situation. And, because he was oblivious to the truth that the “messy room” was his own he is able to most accurately discern the condition of said room. Using the free verse form he is able to better form this poem, not restricted by the normal bounds of poetic structure.

Imagism: This is Just to Say

“This Is Just to Say”

-William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably


for breakfast.

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold.

Imagist poetry is a seeming contradiction. It is concise and simple in the visual aspect as well as the literal meaning, but it is also quite complex in its "actual" meaning. Imagist poetry paints a concrete picture for the reader while expressing a deeper meaning.

his particular poem uses clean and succinct language to create a picture. At first glance this poem comes off almost as if it were a note left on the table next to the empty plum container awaiting discovery.

At first glance this poem seems like nothing more than a simple note, but after it is read the reader starts to notice the poetic feel of the words. The reader gets dragged in by the simplicity and swallowed by the complexities.

The language in this poem is very crisp, clear and to the point. There isn't a word over three syllables in the poems entirety and the poem itself is only 28 words. This poem is by right and by form simplistic in nature.

There is no tangible answer as to what this poem is pertaining to, many observations can be made and many questions can be raised. Is the poem about a love affair? Does the poem have nothing to do with love? Is forgiveness really what the speaker seeks? Is the speaker sincere in apologizing? Is the speaker self-righteous? Polite? Pleased? Good-humored?

"What Teachers Make"

-Taylor Mali

the poem

Due to the nature of these poems it makes the most sense not to read them but instead to see them performed. So, I have attached to this blog a video in which the artist recites his poem.

Slam poetry is a modern form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive poetry event, called a "slam", at which poets perform their own poems (or, in rare cases, those of others) that are "judged" on a numeric scale by randomly picked members of the audience. It can also consist of several poets performing without being judged.

I thoroughly enjoyed this poem and truly admire this form of art. Mali uses a very simplistic and repetitive language along with a very common almost musical rhyme scheme as his tools to show a passionate teacher and his response to ignorance. He varies his volume and pitch to delineate the immense amount of passion he has as a teacher. The plainness of his language helps to show his belief that teaching is more about passion and discipline than it is about actual intelligence. His less than subtle point is that making a difference is far more important than making money.