Lesson 2: Structuring “Free” Verse

Lesson 2: Structuring “Free” Verse By the end of this lesson, you should be able to use line breaks
and stanza breaks to enhance the impact of your poem.
Models: “The First Dream” and “The Shrinking Sky”
Free verse:
Line break:
Stanza break:
End stop:
Poetry Lesson 2 Assignment:
Write a free verse poem of at least 10 lines.
Your poem must have at least two stanzas.
When you are finished, include an analysis at the bottom of the page:
In the analysis, explain why you separated the stanzas as you did.
Also, explain your rationale for at least two different line breaks.
“I ended line number ___ with the word ______ because…”
“I ended line 3 with enjambment (or an end stop) because I wanted it to feel unfinished
(or final), which goes with the meaning of that line because…”
and “I broke the poem into __ stanzas because the first one is
about_________________________, the second one focuses on _____________, etc…”
*Do not tell me that you broke your lines a certain way to make them ‘flow’ better. You
must be specific.
Your poem and analysis are due on Monday when you come in. Poems without an analysis
will be returned without a grade.
Optional Prompt: Consider the two models. In “The First Dream,” Collins reflects on the first person to
do something in history. Write a poem about a discovery. Maybe it’s your own, or maybe it’s about
someone else discovering something we’re all aware of now. In “The Shrinking Sky,” the poet
establishes a vivid, nostalgic scene in stanza 1 and plants a symbol. In stanza 2, he uses that symbol to
make a statement about the way he sees life. Write a poem that uses a scene (maybe from your past)
to establish a mood, then share your perspective through the symbol in stanza 2.