Imagine an artist in his studio in front of his easel, pallet in hand. He makes a few strokes with his brush, and then steps back to appraise what he has done. He approaches his easel again to brush another stroke of color onto the canvas. He stops, sets aside his paintbrush and pallet and walks over to the window to gaze out. He muses for a few moments before going back to his easel to continue his work. The painter uses color and brush to create his art. The poet is an artist as well, who uses his pen like a paintbrush to color in his words on the page the images he sees in his mind’s eye and to express his heart and soul in the form of a poem.
Poetry is one of the oldest forms of literature and by its very nature is difficult to define. It is hard to shackle poetry with a firm definition but the words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge say it well: “Poetry: the best words in the best order”. Throughout the ages, whether it is sonnets written by Shakespeare, the Song of Solomon from the Bible, the snippets of the Greek poetess Sappho, or the works of the poet laureate Kay Ryan, poetry has enlightened us, entertained us, and has evoked the quintessence of our human nature.
Free verse, or freestyle poetry is what its name implies; a “free style” approach to writing .What sets this mode of writing poetry apart from other forms is that it is free from rigid rules and patterns. Within freestyle the poet can let go and be flexible as he writes his poems because he isn’t concerned with a particular rhyming scheme or line breaks; rather he can focus on the pleasure of choosing the words to convey his ideas and emotions. How fitting this free style is to open the floodgates of creativity!
A freestyle poem is born of any strong emotion whether it is anger, frustration, joy, or love. This is the core of the matter, the way to bridge the heart and mind of not only the poet but also the reader. The poem can be as radiant and buoyant or as dramatic and intense as the poet himself at any given moment. Therein lays the uniqueness of freestyle. The act of spontaneously and recklessly pouring the words onto the page without thought of correctness and without editing is the essence of this form of creativity and, I believe, an aspect of art necessary for nurturing the unique and divine nature that lives within each of us whether we are the reader or the poet.