Guide to Literary Terms Questions and Answers

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Define blank verse. Then write two lines of your own in blank verse.

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McKinstry Rose eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Blank verse is quite simply poetry written with a standard meter but no specific rhyme scheme.  When someone listens to blank verse being read, it generally has a sing-song sound or recognizable rhythm.  Free verse, on the other hand, has no standard rhyme or meter (see Walt Whitman).

Shakespeare is often credited as the master of blank verse, and if you study any of his plays, the majority of each play (excluding prose portions to show common or low-class speech or couplets, etc.) is written in blank verse.

In regards to writing your own two lines of blank verse, do not rhyme the end words, and make sure that you "clap it out"--in other words, both your lines should have the same number of syllables, and if your professor wants exact blank verse, the accentuated syllable of each word needs to be the same in each word (i.e., iambic pentameter or other specific meters).


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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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     Blank verse is another term for unrhymed verse with a regular, rhythmic meter, usually iambic pentameter. It is the closest form to the English rhythms of speech and therefore is closely associated with English narrative and dramatic poetry, especially that of Shakespeare. It is different from free verse, which does not necessarily have any specific rhythmic meter. It comes from the French "blanc," with the need of "something to be filled in." It was first coined by the Earl of Surrey, Henry Howard, but had previously been used in the Italian Renaissance. 

I never thought that I should see
A look of love in her blue eyes

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