If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you might have noticed that I tend to write in free verse and I don’t use a lot of rhyme. The main reason for this is that I find rhyme can force poets to try and fit words into poems that simply don’t belong. In some cases it even leads to words being created completely out of the blue (which I don’t have a problem with per-say, but if you’re doing it to fit a rhyme scheme, you’re not doing it for the right reasons).
When I sit down to write a poem I try and hammer the first four lines out and then I let the poem take me where it’s going to take me. Then I go back and find the lines I really like, delete the rest and re-write the poem based on those. Each time I make an edit I read the whole poem aloud before moving on to the next amendment. I do this to make sure the poem sounds right.
I still use rhyme from time to time and I have written quite a few fixed form poems where a rhyming scheme has to be followed, but in my mind, rhyming should come last in the list of things you need for a poem. The top of that list should always be ‘what am I trying to say?’
You can of course write a nonsense poem if you want, but I’ve always found the poems that I like the most are the ones with a background to them. They take you on a journey with the poet.
I’m interested to hear what the other poets on wordpress have to say about this so I’m hoping you’ll voice your opinions below and chime in on the comments others have made.
Tell me, where do you fall when it comes to rhyming and poetry?
I assume Bath Spa University is a joke? I never know on Word Press.
No it’s not a joke. Why would it be?
sorry…I never heard of it before. I mean, it could be like Rub a Dub University. I just don’t get around any more…
No it’s a real university. Used to be the domestic science college originally, Mary Berry from the great British bake off attended it.
Thanks so much for educating me,
I only write what needs to come out, most of the time I just channel the emotions that need to come out, the ones I dare not speak of with anyone. Just like a musician play with notes, so does my soul plays with the words.
Does rhyme tend to come into your poetry much then?
Most of the time, but before I started writing, I often read a rhyming dictionary just to kill the boredom, I guess some words got stuck in my head. Strange, I know.
I write what I feel the words mean – no rimes… thanks for the post.
Thank you for the comment. Would you mind elaborating on ‘what I feel the words mean’?
Meaning… emotions are so powerful they do have the tendency to have run on words, if I think of words that will rhyme then there no emotion or feelings only words to fit…
I rarely manage to rhyme and am always quite surprised if I start to – rhymes are difficult to make subtle and less predictable. Alternate lines work quite well but my favourite is end & start of lines
I have to catch myself sometimes because I often find myself using the first line as the last line in poetry and I think I sometimes rely on that repetition to create a link too much. I think you hit the crux of the matter though, rhyming is difficult to incorporate in a subtle manner.
Personally I dislike rhyming poetry as it appears very childlike. My fave poet on WP is the Welsh Tala Vernon, and she doesn’t write in rhyme, but I think she uses assonance, here and there, but those who don’t know what assonance is would probably not know it. I read somewhere once that if you can only write in rhyme, then you are not a poet. I think it’s because even children, and non-poets can write in rhyme, but cannot write using assonance. Assonance comes from within the poet, it’s how the poet hears the poem, and that comes with experience, I believe. Anyway, I’ve probably offended all the rhymers now, but such is life!
I’ll admit I’m not a fan on obvious rhyme because it does have the pitfalls of sounding childish at times. I think you’re right about assonance though.
Yes, I should have said ‘obvious rhyme’, I think that’s what I’m referring too, when people write…’I was feeling bold in the cold, and the walls had mold’…that sort of thing seems to make me cringe. Anyway, great post, and quite brave really, considering all the rhymers on WP!!
I did wonder if I’d get some backlash but most of the comments have been from none-rhymers. It was the sheer amount of obvious rhyming that I was coming across on the poetry tag that made me what to write this post. I think it can take a lot of courage to realise that you can write poetry without rhyming if you’ve not been exposed to poetry without rhyme before.
I agree. The poet I referred to (Tala) is a mature (older) poet, and has lived life, and felt it, and sees it beyond the gloss. I believe most of the rhyming poets are very young, and have not yet grasped what poetry really is.
Do you have a link for Tala’s work? I wonder if she’d be willing the add her thoughts to the discussion?
Yes, her blog is https://talavernon.wordpress.com
Interesting…I almost never see rhyming.
Agree Carol. The rhyme scheme can take over the poem and leave its original purpose behind in the dust.
I finally gave up on rhyme when I realised just how hard it is to properly construct a rhyming poem.
More work than I’m prepared to put in. I prefer to follow the ideas ‘hot’.
Did you see one of the other responses to today’s prompt Dim? I think they managed to write a really good rhyming poem, something I’m a little envious of. However, I have found since writing this post that rhyme has been creeping into my poetry more. For the most part I still write free verse and try to do as you say, follow the ideas hot.
I love rhyming. It helps the poem go along and is often more meaningful and memorable
I like to rhyme in all my poems, but sometimes I don’t if they’re just little sentence stories
I find it depends on the skill with which rhyme is used. If it’s used well you’re completely right but if it’s forced then I feel like it can ruin a poem and make it seem almost trivial.
I would agree with you. We tend to use inappropriate words when we attempt to rhyme.
Yes, that’s what I feel. If rhyme is going to be used it needs to seem organic.
Sure, agreed. 🙂