On the one hand, the invention of free verse made it possible for geniuses such as William Butler Yeats, T.S. Elliot, Wallace Stevens and Thomas Hardy to explore and harvest a fascinating literary space previously uncharted. On the other hand, and because of its apparent lack of constraint, free style may have also marked the slow death and collapse of poetry as a fine art: just look at much of what passes for "poetry" today.
However you may feel about free verse, though, it is hard to deny Walt Whitman's brilliance, which we get to celebrate today (this being his birthday) with a short excerpt from his famous poem "Song of Myself," read by none other than Darth Va... I mean James Earl Jones
Go ahead and contradict yourself, Walt, it's your birthday :)