ANALYSING FREE VERSE
Dian Fadhilawati, M.Pd.
Islamic University of
Blitar: East Java:
Intro to Literature Material (Semester 4)
What is Free Verse?
It is a modern form of poetry.
It doesn’t have rhyme or regular rhythm.
It doesn’t have a set number of lines of syllables
Free verse poets often use the following poetic elements:
Common Elements of Free Verse
Alliteration is the repetition of 2 or more
consonant sounds in the beginning of words in a
Rabbits running so very fast
In the field of green, green grass.
Sniffing for scents of snack time treats,
Hip pity Hopping on their happy bunny feet.
When carrots and other foods are found
The rabbits prance and pounce
O Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in
Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in
successive words. (
O The speaker of the poem is not always the poet.
O The speaker of the poem is referred to as the “voice” of
O Read carefully to see what attributes the voice has, what
kind of person is represented by the voice.
Theme is the central topic, subject, or concept of the
In finding theme of the poem you can do it by
answering the question, “what’s the poem about”?
A symbol is something that represents more than
For example, a poem might use newly fallen snow as a
symbol for a pure, pristine, untouched world.
Simile is figure of speech that compare two things that are
alike in some way (use like/as)
Example: cute as kitten
(comparing the way someone looks the way the kitten looks)
As busy as a bee
(comparing someone’s level of energy to fast flying bee)
Metaphors VS Similes
Metaphor is comparison between two things that
replaced the word or name for one object with
that of another (www.yourdictionary.com)
Metaphor doesn’t use like /as
Example: Juliet is the sun
Similes uses like/as to compare
Example: you shine like the sun
Onomatopoeia is the use of words whose sounds echo
Parallel Structures is the repetition of the same
words, phrases, clauses, or sentences
10 steps in Analyzing Free Verse
1. Read the poem to identify unfamiliar words. Then look them up.
2. Read the poem again. This time pay attention to what happens in
the poem. What is being described?
3. Focus on the voice. Is the speaker of the poem the poet or
someone/something else who has a specific slant on reality?
4. Focus on the images. How strong are they for you?
5. Focus on similes and metaphors. How do they help you understand
6. Focus on symbols. Do they give you additional meanings?
7. Reread the poem loudly. Try to Focus on its sound. Do you notice
alliteration, assonance, or consonance,? Although they don’t
contribute to the poem’s meaning, but they contribute to the
8. Focus on the theme. What is this poem about? Try to use as few
words as possible. You can write the theme down to one or two
words for example: life, death, motherhood, love, change, etc.
9. Focus on the poet’s approach to the theme. What stand did the
poet take? What was the poet’s “take” on the theme. Try to
describe the poet’s approach in just one sentence or two.
10. Reflect on the poem. Why did the poet take this approach to the
theme? Did it work? Do you agree? What makes you think that?
Gather evidence to support your interpretation. You will use your
evidence for your analysis of the poem
Whitman’s Free Verse
from “I Hear America Singing”
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the
deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter
as he stands . . .
Example of Free Verse
Sandburg’s Free Verse
Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work
I am the grass; I cover all.
And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?
I am the grass.
Let me work.
1.Choose I of free verse poems in www.teenink.com
2. Analyze the poem
based on the steps that you have learnt
3. Collect your work on our next meeting
4. Power Point format is
5. Do by yourself
Cheating and Plagiarism is not tolerated
Dian Fadhilawati, M.Pd.