This week: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme Edited by: El-Fyn
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Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down. ~~Robert Frost
Well, it's a badge of honour for any self-respecting poet to be criticized by Auberon Waugh. But in a lot of ways my poems are very conventional, and it's no big deal for me to write a poem in either free verse or strict form; modern poets can, and do, do both. ~~Andrew Motion
|According to Merriman-Webster, poetry is: writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm That said, there are numerous schools of thought as which is better - rhyming or not. Personally, both are just fine. Aside from rhyming poetry, there is, of course, 'rhymic' poetry which still employs meter but doesn't necessarily 'rhyme.'|
Rhyming poetry goes back to the dawn of speech. Long before writing, there was 'telling story' to keep family histories straight, to tell of glorious conquests, and to remind of epic failures. The stories were passed down ... family to family, generation to generation, tribe to tribe. Rhyming was used because it made the stories easier to memorize, and easier for the people to remember. In this way, the stories, or histories, if you will, remained basically intact.
In times past, then along with the spoken histories that told of battles and leadership, of great loves and greater losses, people began to write down these words so they could be passed from one to another by those who could read to spread the tales to a wider degree. The listeners were able to remember the rhyming sequences only now, there was added a rhythmic beat, the metrics that furthered the inclusion of the audience.
As more and more people were exposed to the spoken, oral histories, poems, plays, the 'best' parts, the choruses, the remembered and repeated were the parts that rhymed.
Then books and typed pages were easily accessible. The written word let the reader read privately thus they would then form their own private responses to what they read --for the good or bad. Then, suddenly, poetry didn't always rhyme. The initial need was no longer as important. Forms became the 'thing' and while metrics -- meter and beat-- were still employed, poetry changed, not necessarily evolved, but took a few steps sideways.
From roughly Walt Whitman forward, free verse became more popular. T.S. Eliots The Waste Land mixes free verse with blank verse and rhyming verse, Blank verse was a bit of an intermediary as it was strongly controlled metrically (usually in iambic pentameter) versus free verse which was not constrained by rules of rhyme and meter.
More time passed and then all bets were off. Forms, end rhymes, interior rhymes, non-rhyming, with or without metrics --everything was up for grabs.
Schools of thought exist, with rabid followers on both sides of the divide. Then, there are those who are comfortable on either side of the stream, will happily mix and match and sometimes even in the same poem.
On the writing side of the coin, there are the rhymists, the formists, the free stylists, and the 'whatever fits the moment'-ists. All are perfectly fine. In a way, sort of like genres of poetry. We each have our styles we prefer to read or write!
When I feel a poem 'coming on' - the form or style - rhyming or not - seems to adjust itself to the 'what' of what I'm writing. Perhaps a line rises into consciousness as a rhyme ... or not. It is usually that first line that chooses which way the poem will proceed. For me, at any rate. Sometimes, I am writing and I have to use a specific form or style. Then, my brain needs to conform to the rules of the game.
I asked some folks here at WDC what their thoughts on the matter are.
DRSmith commented on his referring verse:
I tend to find it more entertaining as it offers the reader a literary way of dancing through prose. If well-written, words easily flow off the tongue, often committing to memory certain phrases while stimulating imagery and theme with a beat and clever use of words that would likely survive for ages within one's mind... "I think that I shall never see... once upon a midnight dreary... Jack and Jill went up the hill..." you get the drift.
Monty - a rhymist above all thinksanyone can write anything if: : You can do anything if you but try, Be like the eagle, set your sights high.
Some, who didn't want to be quoted, spoke of liking the freedoms they associate with freeverse, being able to paint the poem into existence or enjoying the sheer fun of plying with the words without the constraints of making a poem rhyme.
Valid points all!
So, I posit that it is merely a personal preference -- what one likes to read and/orwrite. There is much to be said regardless of the process employed.
| ||HEARTACHES (ASR)|
Lost my wife last December 2020 Writing this to her.
#2250478 by Monty
| ||Gypsy Girl (E)|
All of my life, I've always felt like I had a gypsy soul..
#2280877 by BB
| ||The Cowboy Way (E)|
I was born country, and this country's what I love...
#2280880 by BB
My all-time favorite rhyming poem that I've written.
True title is My Grandmother's Grandfather's Trunk
#947871 by El-Fyn
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DRSmith says: BINGO!!!
"I used to think telling someone that a phrase or poem was 'well-crafted' was a compliment. But it wasn't as much so as I thought at the time, because I didn't say why, didn't show the writer what about it was so 'well-crafted' --such as what stood out and why it all fell seemingly into place so well. I've since learned to give examples - good and bad (when appropriate) that shows the reasoning behind my thoughts. This then gives the poet/writer, a solid place to look at."
Monty comments: Am satisfied with all things about poetry.
Anna Marie Carlson adds: Thank You for your thoughts about reviews. I do my best to encourage authors to continue on with their work. I write from my own experiences. I listen to what has been said and learn from them. Not all stories have the appeal to some writers because it may not be exciting enough to hold someone's interest. I have been told that my writing is a bit boring. It's what the audience is looking for, which is hard to determine at times.
AmyJo - NaNo Rebel says: Informative Letter From the Editor. I plan on adding some more info into my reviews to explain my likes/questions or why I get it or not. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and to help those who are trying to give reviews.
Question: I am seeing all manner of styles of poetry; is there a reference that tells about the different formats, with examples? Thanks.
Great idea for a newsletter!!!
Beacon-Light writes: I like to see free verse poetry because I can write what I want and I have to get in the moment of writing a poetry meaning, I have to write when I'm either upset or happy about something. That's what I mean. I like your newsletter and it gives a lot of good info on reviewing and poetry.
JCosmos adds: great advice inspired me to try reviewing daily. so far I have not but I probably should. I do a lot of reviews on Fan Story and on All poetry but not here for some reason.
Good time to start! Reviews on WDC are a big part of the entire experience!
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