Poetic Forms in Modern Poetry

On the internet, many poets use rhyme, and meter, and the old poetic forms. In the poetry journals, it’s all (or mostly all) free verse and the over-use of images for their emotional impact. (Thank you, Mary Oliver, for helping me realize that with your book, A Poetry Handbook.)

The question becomes, do the internet-posting poets use the old forms because they are not experienced enough to do otherwise, or does the internet, as a fleeting medium, meant to be read quickly, if not skimmed, lend itself to the old forms that were meant to be spoken, the most fleeting medium of all? (Personally, I would argue the latter.)

And do the poetry journal poets, the poets of academia, use free verse and much imagery because that is the next evolution in poetry, or because they have not read enough poetry in the old forms to know how to use it and how to use rhyme and meter correctly? (Mary Oliver would argue the latter, but I am not sure. Perhaps there is another answer.)

Another interesting point is that the easiest place to find rhyming poems today is in children’s books.  Is this an attempt to educate our children in an important aspect of our history and culture, or are children’s books the last refuge of the old-fashioned poet who can use rhyme and meter to write about sunsets?

I know this post is full of questions. I welcome your ideas and comments. Let’s start a discussion about the place of rhyme, meter, and form in modern poetry.

Leave a comment


  1. Thank you for this information/questions. I don’t know much about poem and I’m not even sure if what I’m writing is a poem. I am just sharing my simple thoughts. Peace and blessings to you :)

  2. Old Raven

     /  June 22, 2011

    This is a very interesting question! And article. The poets of academia have had significant exposure to the older poets/older forms as a art of their training. When I write it is always in free verse form. I do this because this is how the words come out of me.

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