I have just read some poignantly honest poems written by high school students in a class I visited. In fact, I read these several times. Beautiful–even if they are about painful subjects! Isn’t it interesting how the beauty of poetry can touch the heart and let us look pain and tragedy in the face without making the written presentation intolerable. Perhaps that is why Shakespeare’s tragedies, with the aesthetics of iambic pentameter, have endured all these years.
Free verse has beauty in its form too—and often in its brevity. I know that the beauty of the free verse in Out of the Dust (Karen Hesse) made even the most painful parts of the story both more powerful and more tolerable for me. In free verse, rhythms are still critical; but young writers in search of a voice may find free verse, without the encumbrance of set rhythms with rhymes, particularly freeing.