How to Write Free Verse Poetry

Free verse is a unique form that gives the author way more freedom than verse poetry like sonnets or ghazals.

Free verse is a unique form that gives the author way more freedom than verse poetry like sonnets or ghazals. It is perhaps the most popular contemporary form of poetry. If you have never written it, these prompts will help guide you. It is a hard form to write great prompts for. We could have gone with the traditional “Write about what makes you sad” or “Write about something joyous” but there are hundreds of those out there. So, in order to bring some novelty to the form, we are asking you to craft your own free verse poem based on a poetry fragment. You may include the fragment as part of your poem, or just take inspiration from the content and craft your own. Collaboration is such a fun part of creating art, and what better way to celebrate it than with these prompts?

Rules of Free Verse Poetry:

  1. There are no rules! Go crazy.

Benefits of the Form:

One of the primary benefits of free verse poetry lies in its flexibility and openness to diverse expressions. Without the constraints of rhyme and meter, poets have the freedom to explore unconventional ideas and emotions, allowing for a more authentic and direct connection with readers. Free verse liberates poets from the rigidity of traditional forms, enabling them to experiment with line breaks, imagery, and rhythm in innovative ways. This form encourages creativity and self-expression, fostering a sense of uninhibited artistic exploration. Furthermore, free verse allows poets to mirror the natural cadences of everyday speech, making the poems more accessible and relatable to a wider audience.

Challenges of the Form:

Despite its liberating aspects, free verse poetry presents unique challenges to poets. Without the structural guidance of rhyme and meter, it demands a heightened sense of precision in choosing words and arranging them on the page. Poets must rely on their internal sense of rhythm and musicality to create a harmonious flow within the poem. Additionally, the absence of formal constraints means that poets need a deep understanding of the nuances of language and imagery to convey their intended meanings effectively. Crafting a powerful free verse poem requires a delicate balance between spontaneity and meticulousness, as poets navigate the fine line between unstructured expression and purposeful artistry. Furthermore, because free verse lacks the comforting structure of traditional forms, poets often grapple with the challenge of maintaining coherence and unity within their work, making the crafting process a journey that demands both creativity and discipline.

Prompt 1 – Her Kind of Love

the kind of love he was
scared of was the kind of love
you find making small talk
over yogurt in the grocery
store. it was the kind of love

Prompt 2 – A Date With van Gogh

Her voice sounds like she’s speaking
through a fan when she whispers.

Prompt 3 – Feeding the Birds

I’ve never wanted to be anything other than myself
except for maybe

Prompt 4 – A Long Walk East

The birds gossip to one another
as I walk back from the farmer’s
market, whispering to each other that

Prompt 5 – The Fate of Winter Moths

sitting on the stoop,
concrete sodden with
the chill of late

Prompt 6 – Neighborhood Images

Bricks build up
monoliths in a dead
and brown yard

Prompt 7 – That’s Enough

I’d walk again through icy rain
to eat a chicken salad sandwich on
the world’s driest bread with you
just one more time

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Sam and Corey started Poetry is Pretentious to demystify poetry. More importantly, their 5th grade teacher told them they couldn’t go through life as a team. 18 years later they’re here to prove her wrong.


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