Vers Libre (157 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


Vers Libre (French for “free verse”): a kind of free verse which constantly alludes to, approaches and skirts around metrical form (in English, usually iambic pentameter) without quite embodying it. In this passage the italicized lines are iambic pentameter and the lines that follow are in vers libre:

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow …

Groves, Peter Lewis. "Vers Libre". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2007
[, accessed 21 October 2016.]