If you are from Canada or the United States and are reading this chapter, then you might almost wonder why it needs one of its own. Probably more than 95 per cent of contemporary North American poetry is written in what was once called free verse though the term is increasingly outdated and is often replaced with the broader open form. What is of interest to creative writing students and poets is the recognition that in other parts of the English-speaking world, such as Ireland and the UK, it is by no means certain that most poems are in free verse at all. This is because free verse has often been seen (incorrectly) as a foreign form, derived either from nineteenth century French practitioners of Vers Libre, such as Rimbaud or Laforgue, or Americans such as Walt Whitman somehow unnatural to the English poetic tradition. Many contemporary Irish and British poets enjoy writing in forms that tend to work better with some sort of rhyme or meter, and free verse neednt have those; it is almost like walking naked. Free verse can be quickly traced back, at least in English, to the King James Bible translation, where, for instance, the psalms sound like this.
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