Traditional forms work by making the form of the final poem (its unique formation) a variation of the ideal form. Think of the sonnet frame and then of the form of any sonnet; it differs from it, while demonstrating it at the same time. Free verse and Olsons Projective Verse were reactions against that.1 The form of the free verse poem develops as it is formed, the better to register the minds thought or the bodys movement, it is often said. It may be improvised or carefully constructed, but in both cases (and in combinations of them, of course) the line whether short or long, visually scattered or in paragraph blocks becomes the unit of the poem. For a long time, free verse remained the most radical technique in the toolkit of the formally inventive poet and it certainly hasnt been rejected as a look at Harriet Tarlos anthology The Ground Aslant will show.2 Indeed, despite its thematic focus upon rural landscape, even a flick through its pages will demonstrate the vitality and variation of visual forms in page space, to use a more accurate way of phrasing these things. In this chapter I make reference to available books, anthologies and online works, which I hope you will follow up from the bibliography.
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