A group of verse lines forming a subdivision of a poem, the length of this unit being determined by the development of the sense rather than by a formal stanza pattern. Long narrative poems in blank verse or heroic couplets are often divided into paragraphs of uneven lengths, the breaks being indicated either by indentation (as in prose) or by spaces. Some shorter poems like Matthew Arnold's ‘Dover Beach’ are also composed in irregular verse paragraphs rather than stanzas. The subdivisions of free verse are necessarily non-stanzaic and are therefore also usually called verse paragraphs. Some critics have claimed that a stanza or even a complete short poem like a sonnet should be considered as a verse paragraph, but this usage loses the valuable distinction between the terms. See also stichic, strophe.