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Poetry organized according to the cadences of speech and image patterns rather than according to a regular metrical scheme. Its rhythms are based on patterned elements such as sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, rather than on the traditional units of metrical feet (see metrical foot). Free verse thus eliminates much of the artificiality and some of the aesthetic distance of poetic expression. It became current in English poetics in the early 20th century. See alsoprosody.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on free verse, visit Britannica.com.