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What is a poem without rhythm or rhyme?

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Poetry without rhythm (meter) or rhyme is referred to as free verse. While free verse may contain rhyme, it is not a necessity of the poetic form. An example of a free verse poem is Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," which contains the lines: "All truths wait in all things / They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it, / They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon."

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Rhythmical or metrical elements might be present in free verse poetry; however, they are not formalized by the poet in the process of composition. The function of free verse is typically to afford the poet greater creative freedom.

When composing free verse, poets tend to select words for their cadence more than for their syllabic structure. Onomatopoeic words, that is, words that sound like what they signify, are common. Examples include "stop," "sip," "slurp," "thump," "hush," "shout" and "bang." Some other common characteristics of free verse poetry include alliteration and personification.

Some notable free verse poets besides Walt Whitman include William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Carl Sandburg. Other examples of free verse can be found in the Bible, particularly in the Psalms and Song of Solomon.

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