I've just published a book – The Rhythm of it: Poetry's Hidden Dance – which offers a new insight into how rhythm works in so-called free verse poetry. The book is colloquial, not technical, guiding readers through the discoveries I made during the roughly 10 years that I puzzled over why “free verse” is not the same as “anything you would write as prose except the lines are shorter.” Instead, it may be the oldest form of poetry on the planet.
From my work as a piano tuner, I became immersed in the way musical scales are grounded in the natural proportions that result when small whole numbers combine with one another. Visually, the Earth itself does the same thing, with its myriad proportional geometries. Free verse also uses small whole number ratios in its rhythm patterns, therefore: free verse poetry is a way of sounding the geometry of the earth and the harmony of the spheres. It's language's most holy analogy.
My little book is beautifully illustrated by Imelda Almqvist, who immediately “got” what I was trying to do with proportions. It's published by Shanti Arts Publishing, an independent fine-arts press in Brunswick, Maine. I urge you to order directly from the publisher: https://www.shantiarts.co/uploads/files/stu/SULLIVAN_RHYTHM.html or through one of our local bookstores.
– Anita Sullivan