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Showing posts from February, 2012

Going organic: line break in free form haiku

This essay first appeared in Frogpond Volume 34 Number 3

Going organic: line break in free form haiku
Lynne Rees

The line is the fundamental structuring tool in writing poetry and understanding how and when and why to use it is even more essential in the writing of free verse[1] where neither poet nor reader has the guide of a predetermined metrical pattern or stanza structure. I remember the moment, back in the mid 1990s, when I suddenly ‘got’ line break, a real eureka moment that illuminated the correlation between form and content in free verse poetry.
Over the years I developed and refined my ideas about the structuring possibilities available to free verse poets but when, in 2006, I started studying and writing haiku, my, by now inbuilt, free-verse poet’s attention to form was more of a hindrance than a help. Line breaks that could be supported in a longer free verse poem were now shouting from the page. ‘Yoo hoo!’ they called. ‘Aren’t I a clever girl?!’ And no one likes a show off.