Is Rhyming Poetry Out?

If Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, or any the other fine traditional poets of yesteryear, were alive today, he might not have the easiest time to get his work published in today’s markets. Why? Assuming there would be no other objection, like sentimentality, the strict traditional forms often placed more emphasis on form or structure than on the words. Inverted language (like reversing the natural order of subject/verb/object to object/subject/verb) to facilitate rhyme or contractions to accommodate the metrical beat or syllabic count is now considered contrived and archaic. However, keeping the important things in a predominantly free-verse world of poetry in mind, good rhyming poetry can be written today.

The biggest reason that “rhyming poetry” has fallen out of favor is that it is often forced and unnatural. Now throw in terrible metrical discipline (or a complete lack of it), which aggravates the sing-song “quality,” and the work will be on rapid express to the rejection folder.

So how is the rhyme issue dealt with? If the rhyme is not hard rhyme (like dove/love), but slant or half-rhyme (like wren/fend or ham/ban), or even consonantal rhyme (ruin/son), there might be a more natural feel to the rhyme. But that isn’t enough. The lines should not be deliberately end-stopped to facilitate the rhyme, but continued. To the ear, it will sound more like internal rhyme (but to the eye it will appear as some form of end rhyme). In a good rhyming poem, the reader might not even realize it is rhyming poem (until later).

What about the meter? A modern version of a traditional poem may preserve the structure and rhyme scheme, but the metric will be relaxed. It is wise to deliberately avoid a regular metrical arrangement, even though there might be passages of deliberate iambic tetrameter or whatever. But there still must be rhythm and flow. it’s like waves crashing on the shore. There is a rhythm, but the waves are not regular!

There are venues that do favor the so-called formal poetry (sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, etc.) such as Measure. And even other venues without a predisposition against these traditional forms or other rhyming poetry will publish them as long as they sound natural (and have the other things that make a poem a poem). For example, my poem, “Aurora in the Dawn” (Aurora in the Dawn Anthology, Aurora Wolf, August 2010), is a such a poem about survivors of a nuclear winter. The rhyme scheme, aabcc, is unobtrusive had I said nothing. I still like rhyming poetry. And no, rhyming poetry is not out. See for yourself:

Aurora in the Dawn

Sheer-black curtains the frozen tundra
and the lone white wolf ululates La Luna
hidden above the thick gray clouds.
And the stars, too, shed their drops
of light on the shroud of nimbus tops.

Remember the fire pinks, the honeysuckle,
the lavender and rose, the green and thistle
grass? Where have they gone? All gone
the skittering chickadees and warblers,
eagles, falcons, mockingbirds, no more.

There is no south to fly to for nuclear winter.
Tropical islands long since frozen, now under
pale glaciers floating in wine darkened seas,
no, just darkened. The sun had forgotten us.
So few of us left. It is cold in this loneliness.

But we warm by the fire and I hold your hand.
I kiss you. And I kiss you again. And again.
When I open my eyes, I stare at the gray,
waiting for the sky to tear, to shimmer dawn
and the hope of light, for the first shaft of sun.

89 Responses to Is Rhyming Poetry Out?

  1. Tamarind says:

    I do not agree with your statement that rhyming makes poetry forced or unnatural (though I admit it can sometimes happen) in my opinion it is more challenging to write a rhyming poem than free verse, and though it may not be quite as fluid, rhyming makes it beautiful.
    Perhaps I am too traditional or old-fashioned, but I find it very difficult to call something poetry which does not rhyme, has no meter, no structure and no rhythm.
    I suppose you will tell me that this is not the definition of free verse, but what I want to ask you is this:
    If you encourage no, half and slant rhyme, on the basis of them being more natural and flowing, are you not in danger of creating a new generation of poets who define poetry in no better way than it being a list of inspiring words and phrases, without any particular form.?
    I ask this for I can tell you from experience that people tend to misuse or overuse their freedoms, and because all the poems I have read today have almost made me lose my faith in human talent.

    Thank you for your above poem, is very beautiful, and the best one I have read today.

    • Thank you, Tamarind, for replying. I too would disagree with myself if I indeed said “that rhyming makes poetry forced or unnatural.” Fortunately, I did not say that. However I did say that forced rhyme makes the poem sound unnatural. This is a very important distinction!

      I never said or implied that rhyming poetry is not fluid! Fluidity is extremely important. I define fluidity as rhythm and flow. In a rhyming poem, that fluidity is often achieved by rhyme and meter, but that by itself may not be enough. It could still sound clunky, so syntax might be important to rescue the line. Like you, I feel that much of the contemporary poetry published today doesn’t even seem like poetry, but it is marked with impeccable rhythm.

      I put structure right up there as one of the key elements to a poem, so whether it is a traditional form poem (like a sonnet, ballad, or villanelle) or a free verse poem, there is structure. And besides the verification, one of the most important structural elements in free verse poetry is the line-break. When deftly handled, it is awesome.

      When writing a rhyming poem, I encourage whatever it takes to make it appealing to the ear. I am sorry, but forced rhyme will never do that. If you can use hard rhyme and make it sound natural, then do it. But I see all too often that novices will rhyme for rhyming sake and compromise what might be a good poem. Some hard rhymes are so cliche, it is a double-whammy to use them (face/grace; love/above; etc.) I like rhyming poetry and I write some rhyming poetry. The title of the essay was rhetorical, not declarative.

      Poetry does evolve with each generation. Some of the changes I like, others, I do not. I disdain most of postmodern poetry. I miss the lyrical verse. The anecdote isn’t poetry, but I see a lot of that today. But it is what it is. However, there will always be some venue that will try to preserve some of those things that we have held dear. And there are hundreds of journals out there that will appreciate rhyming poetry. I edit poetry for a couple of journals. I do not discourage form poetry as many other publications might, and I do publish rhyming poetry on occasion. (See Silver Blade at http://www.silverblade.net.)

      I am glad you enjoyed “Aurora in the Dawn” where I have demonstrated all those kinds of rhyme (including hard rhyme )

      • Tamarind says:

        You are right that it is easy for rhyming poets to sacrifice meanings for words,
        but If I had to choose between a forced rhyme and a senseless free-verse, I would pick the rhyme, luckily those are not the only choices.
        By the way, could you please give me an example of exactly what you see as a forced rhyming poem.

      • Sorry for the late reply, Tamarind. I meant to respond to it when I got home that night, but I frankly forgot. Then I got terribly distracted. Some of what I say below might be repetitios (my apologies for that), but some is “new” material.

        Indeed, there is a lot of “senseless verse” out there (both rhyming and free verse forms). I will read neither. Now, a poem might not be accessible, and it is this you might be talking about. I think poetry should be accessible. Deeper meanings can be layered in the poem and “everyone” should get something out of it if the poet has done his/her job. That’s part of the crafting process — clarity. Unfortunately, some poems leave me scratching my head wondering what was going on. I understand that part of the responsibility of “getting it” is up to me, but the burden is up to the author.

        There is some confusion in the Internet about what is “forced rhyme.” Disregard those that say forced rhyme is when a word doesn’t perfectly fit aurally. Actually, that’s a half-rhyme or slant rhyme, and it is a good thing. Forced rhyme refers to the insistence of a hard rhyming word for the sake of making the rhyme with a complete disregard for the poem. It may even compromise rhythm and flow, the metrical discipline to get that rhyme (which includes line length and meter), let alone the meaning. When the word is forced into the poem for the sake of rhyme, it is called forced rhyme.. Sometimes the poem will use an archaic technique called introversion (reversing the natural order of words) to accommodate rhyme, or make up silly make-up words (which might still be fun for a preschoolers and jabberwockies). So are all hard rhymes forced? Of course not! Only when it sounds unnatural.

        AllPoetry has some examples: http://allpoetry.com/column/7523857-What_is_Forced_Rhyming__-by-Mephitic_ID_Synergy

        Hope this helps.

      • ben says:

        Just as did Tam, I got the impression you were saying that the bulk of rhymed poetry DOES fall into the “forced” category. I may be fooling myself, but I seem to have the rare ability to rhyme as if by mere happenstance. Never (not that I’m aware of, anyway) do I resort to Yoda-speak in order to achieve the rhyme.

        I’ve never studied poetry at all, having taken only required English courses in high school and university. I find that most people don’t care much for poetry. I think it is because of the high-brow aura projected by so much of it, giving the reader a feeling of inadequacy. Most of what I write is easy to comprehend and makes a clear political point or tells a story. Your poem, above, falls somewhere in the middle of the imagery-laden upper-crust and what I write. ie “ululates La Luna” and “nimbus tops” would send many an ordinary Joe scrambling to avoid class. Please don’t take that wrong. Yours is a lovely poem.

        For illustrative purposes, here is a recent poem. Rhymes out the wahzoo, but I don’t think they’re forced (though I have been wrong a time or two in my life!).

        One Night In Dixie
        © Ben Burton 10-20-2014

        The dirt road was cloaked in a blanket of snow
        Spring had not reached those Tennessee hills
        As midnight approached, three Rebs manned a hole
        Near a slope where six brethren were killed

        In tattered gray suits and in dire need of shoes
        For the soles were exposing their feet
        Two whole days without food, a true skeleton crew
        The youngest was not quite sixteen

        He’d a wound to his chest and his face was a mess
        None had slept since the sun disappeared
        And the moon overhead cast a light on the dead
        Frozen stiff with a bloody veneer

        The youth tried to speak through his chattering teeth
        His lips forming words without sound
        For the bite in the breeze caused his larynx to freeze
        So he whispered a plea to the ground

        “Please don’t let me die without tellin’ me why
        What’s the reason I’m fightin’ this war
        Mama’s tears never dry since we lost Dad and Cy
        And I’m all she has left from before”

        His sergeant said, “Son, I won’t shoot if you run
        For our odds of survival are long
        But I will take your gun if you flee from the front
        It might help when my bullets is gone”

        “Naw, Sarge, it’s okay, it’s my duty to stay
        And coward’s a hard brand to lose
        But I would like to say that if I had my way
        There’d be no dead-gum guns left to shoot

        “We all have our pride, but the dead from both sides
        Would advise us to seek a new peace
        Cause the ones who survive can return to their lives
        And forget all the horror they’ve seen”

        The sarge thought it best to leave bad news unsaid
        For the young lad had no way to know
        Of the nightmares ahead from the memories of death
        All the boy had to count on was hope

        Next morning at dawn came a bugler’s song
        Which was silenced by shouts from the trees
        “It’s all over, go home,” the North’s courier intoned
        “Grant accepted surrender from Lee!”

        The Rebs overheard and they cringed at the words
        Only briefly, for peace came to mind
        Then they noticed the birds, a fresh cheer in their chirp
        And they laughed until they realized

        Home was three weeks away if they marched hard all day
        Over gravel and cinder and root
        Too tired to dig graves, the sarge said, “Come this way”
        They approached their dead brethren for shoes

        Then some Yanks topped the rise and were shocked by the sight
        Of the Rebs lifting shoes from their dead
        “Hey, come on, now, you guys, we can loan you supplies
        We’re at peace, won’t you join us for bread”

        Descending the hill, they danced to old reels
        Most composed with a Southerner’s pen
        Four years the blood spilled, half a million were killed
        But the States were united again

        Celebration complete, the Rebs left Tennessee
        The young soldier said, “Sarge, no more slaves
        Just one thing bothers me, they were already free
        From the bulk of those sent to their graves”

        And the sergeant replied as he gazed at the skies
        “It’s the mighty and wealthy who rule
        On this earth, they decide, while the poor pay the price
        But it’s God who determines the fool”

      • Jenny says:

        “Aurora In The Dawn” is lovely. The Poetry Society” recently published the winner of the 2015 competition for best poem. One of the judges wrote that he did not understand what the poem was about but that it sounded good. I find this rather odd.

      • Thank you, Jenny, for the kind words about my poem. By the way, it is part of my collection released in July 2015, Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing). Though the chapbook collection of 27 poems is way underpriced (by the publisher) at $6, he does charge a hefty S&H fee of $4: http://store.albanlake.com/product/apocalypse/; however, the Kindle edition is less than $2: http://www.amazon.com/Apocalypse-John-C-Mannone-ebook/dp/B012Z6C400 (I have such a poor deal with the publisher that I make the same pittance whether it sells in print or in eBook.) I might also add that the book was recommended reading by one of the members of the Horror Writers Association for their prestigious award, but it did not make the preliminary ballot. Nevertheless, it is a very good collection. But I digress.

        I do not understand how one of the judges for the 2015 Poetry Foundation poetry prize would confess not understanding the winning poem. I have heard poems that are an experiment in sound–a pleasant experience–but I cannot imagine that would ever be enough for securing a huge prize (or eve a small one). I went to the website, but could not find any reference to the winner (how odd), let alone the judge’s comment. If you have a link, please post it. Thanks!

    • Tony says:

      Tamarind eloquently captures the surely common sense notion that ‘free-form poetry’ in so many cases lacks anything sufficiently admirable, deep or original to oust accomplished metrical poetry from its rightful place in literature – and why am I thinking of Hans Christian Andersen’s story of the emperor’s new clothes?
      I pray ‘proper poetry’ doesn’t become extinct through cold-shouldering by blind fashion, or by the mass of camp followers striving to level the playing field so that deluded, talent-challenged would-be poets get an even chance in a world gone wonky’s art scene.
      Sure, metrical poetry has to attain high standards too, but the rejection of worthy poetry on grounds of unfashionableness is for me of the same order of desecration as the junking of beautifully crafted ancient Norse artifacts on the grounds the Vikings were a bunch of murderous ruffians we want nothing to do with.

      • Hi Tony,

        I think the other posts and responses will show that your concern is allayed. What’s unfashionable about some formal poetry is that it us too often poorly written rhyming poetry. There are many journals that though they don’t actively seek formal work, will publish really good ones. But as I noted in previous posts, the hard rhymes are much harder to do with naturalness–not drawing attention to itself.

        At the same time, I reject your indictment of free verse poetry (though clearly some of it is poorly written go look like cut-up prose). Good poetry is good poetry, whether rhymed or not and/or whether metrical or not.

        Your Viking metaphor is a bit melodramatic. I hope you’re not implying/inferring that modern day poets are like “a bunch of murderous ruffians” ruthlessly destroying the ancient literary treasures of rhyming poetry. Because that is simply untrue.

    • Misty says:

      Agree. There should be no reason that because some poets wish to have the right to write free-form, that it should then prohibit formal poets from writing “Formally”. Some of the ‘poetry’ I read today sounds so much like mad ramblings that if it is the only way, then count me out. I write formal poetry on a site where most do not and always get good responses. As a fan of Poe, it shocks me that rhyme and meter are now bad…

    • Jennifer Marotta says:

      Well said. Thank you for conveying my exact sentiments. My poems were recently rejected by a magazine who told me that “your poems are not our style.” All of my poems are written with an internal rhyme. It seems to me that there is a trend with poetry now, and there is a lot of snobbery in the industry. I will continue to believe in my craft. Thank you again for speaking out.

    • Ravi Dhillon says:

      nicely said, Tamarind.

  2. Carol says:

    I am in agreement with Tamarind and find that rhyming poetry can be the most beautiful of poetry. Free verse annoys me and I feel that I am wasting my time reading nonsensical sequences of words. I simply don’t like poetry that leaves me thinking “What was that all about?” and, unfortunately, that’s mostly what’s out there.

    It is my belief that the “general public” prefers rhyming poetry and are in disagreement with the literati about what is good.

    • Hi Carol,

      I am in agreement with Tamarind, too. Please see my recent response to her. I think we are all on the same page, but getting polarized by some misconceptions. Good poetry is good poetry period, regardless of whether it is rhyming or non rhyming.

      • Dave Mowers says:

        First off thanks for the article and the poem, on Carol’s point, or more to it, is not all successful pop music, rap, rock and roll, heavy metal rhyming? So the American publishing industry is trying to tell us that Michael Jackson was an idiot, archaic and outdated and no one is interested in his kind of poetry?

        Eminen, Dr. Dre, Fifty Cent, Jay Z, Beyonce, they are losers who cannot keep up with modern trends right? Must be some big money in publishing and selling prose and non-rhyming poetry to forgo those artists as “archaic?” Lady Gaga has no idea what people want today? Madonna was a literary hack?

        Couldn’t one retort, not as to say resort, compunction to comport of literary sort of things they like to say, make money for today and so the houses like to court the ambiguous and short?

      • Thanks. I’m glad it was helpful.

  3. Hi, just wanted to say, I liked this blog post. It was helpful.
    Keep on posting!

  4. Richard Campbell says:

    ON the question of meter. do a search for accentual meter. Wikipedia entry is good. This is where rather than watching the feet, you count the accents instead. This solution was used by Yeats and many of hte modern period poets. It gets rid of the “sing song effect” and conforms more to contemporary English than iambs do. Note Shakespeare vered from iams some say over 50% of the time. Good point that many people unaware of much poetry thing rhymes should be full or are forced… nonesense. There is dispute as to whether shakespeare used off rhymes. Love (luv)/prove rhymes in modern Mancunian for example (manchester dialect). I don’t see how we can avoid the belief that he did use them, but then he didn’t write the laws. Off rhymes, whether slant, half, dropped, heard (but not used) or klang (some of Slivia Palth late poems– Creativity by Areiti: they are n atural to schizophrenic speech) all have their place and like colors produce different emotional effects. I believe the reason that formal poetry is having such a bad time is not the quality of the verse. some ofit is very good, nor the ability of poets. I am sure there are many of us. It would appear to me to be a fad phenomena, pushed on by the ascension of doggerel in therhymed world by popular artists (rap). Nothing wrong with rap, but unfortunately those who do not like art for its own sake but like to be in the scene and feel good about themselves, choose fad over substance. The originators/popularizers of free verse like Lawrence and Eliot both wrote formal verse and had no idea they were going to be adopted as the “only legitimate” style of verse. Keats probably could not publish today. I believe we are suffering from a style and turf war, nothing more…

  5. Richard Campbell says:

    In the same search where I found your site, I came up with the following list: http://www.trellismagazine.com/PoeticFormPublishers.html I gather this list is out of date, as the magazine stopped publishing a while ago. But perhaps worth working thru. I just read your bio. Fascinating. Great. I “failed” out of physics at Berkeley, 1960’s. But it is still a love of mine. Find myself checking cold fusion times once a week, watching vids on youtube, current favorite: primer fields by David Lapoint, MIT… hope some of this pans out. Made my living as a programmer. Found myself writing more and more verse inside of novel and plays… so, while I was doing my taxes and could make no progress on my current novel, I wrote a few poems that were “stand-alone”… To my surprise I could do it… from my perspective, not from that of characters… I didn’t know I had a self before! (lol). Very gratifying. But trying to publish, now that’s been another story. I recently had an interesting experience at Poet’s House here in NYC. I found myself hypnoticially drawn to a certain book. Since I was “on a mission” to look at a lot of mags, I ignored it but before I left I found myself drawn to the same book: intuition: Ciaran Carson, Collected Poems. To my surprise he wrote a lot like me. Well, it is nice to see I’m not alone. It’s been fun exploring this site, thank you for it. Yours Rich Campbell

  6. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic.
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  7. “When poetry gets too far from music, it rots.”
    -Ezra Pound

    • Thanks, Alan, for that great quote from Ezra Pound! Of course, I believe he is referring to what I call “the music of words” and not necessarily a typical song/lyrics.

      • ljmcdowall says:

        Amen, Amen, Amen Amen,
        I say again
        Amen.

        The above article is exactly why poetry is dying, and the only memorable prosody from our age survives in song lyrics. Every single work in the blog post above is inaccurate, flawed, and misses the point of literary art.

  8. I haven’t checked the quotation. “Gets” might be “moves.”

  9. Emily Petit says:

    I generally disapprove of employing incongruous rhymes such as “sun” and “crumb”, etc. I think it’s kind of a cop-out.

    • Hi Emily, the “incongruous” rhymes are slant or half-rhymes. And though they may not appeal to you, they are often (not always) better than hard rhymes. I say that because most of the time (these days) hard rhymes come out forced or unnatural. But I would agree with you that a natural hard rhyme is very appealing. And that is more likely to occur without end-stopped lines. In the final analysis, let your ear be the judge:-)

    • Brian Dempsey says:

      I totally agree, Emily. I posted my own response to the article below.

  10. Renny says:

    Hello, I liked this blog.I’m from Indonesia. Actually I want to ask you about something that I need to write in my undergraduate thesis, is there any correlation between students’ understanding on homonym and their ability to write rhyme?
    I loved literature so this title is chosen. Can you help me to find another journals or free book, because I need another sources.. Thank you..

    • Hello Renny,

      You pose an interesting thesis. An awareness of homonyms does seem to suggest at least an aural sensitivity, but is that enough to foster good rhyming technique? I doubt it. It’s probably more the other way around: those who write rhyme (good or bad) are already aurally tuned, so to speak, and be much more conscious of homonyms. I can only suggest approaching your college’s audiologist and linguist for their perspectives.

      Good luck!

  11. L.D. Dockery says:

    Rhyme is the essential that differentiates poetry from other genres of literature.
    We dare not let I be lost or neglected by those who would popularize their own.
    Keep writing with rhyme!

    • Thanks for posting, L.D.

      Though I agree with you that rhyming poetry should not be forgotten and that we should continue to preserve it, I disagree that it’s that which distinguishes poetry from other genres. Poetry transcends rhyme.

  12. Greg L. says:

    Is blank verse also ruled out by most magazines. Is blank verse considered too formal for most magazines? I like to write dramatic monologues in blank verse, but have had trouble knowing what magazines are appropriate to send such poems to..

    • Good question, Greg. I don’t know, but my guess would be that it would be fine for most journals as long as it didn’t revert to inverted structures to achieve the blank verse. Shakespeare did use much of that in his, but he might have done it more for rhyme than for rhythm.

      I accept formal and free verse for the two magazines I edit poetry for (Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex), but it has to sound natural with impeccable rhythm.

      One of the best compliments about one of my poems was “I didn’t know that was a rhyming poem.” When it’s so natural that it escapes the reader’s impressions, then that’s the way we strike to write such poems. Blank verse could work too, but experiment with inserting a few anapests here and there (they flow so well with the iambs) and maybe invert the iamb to a trochee when beginning a new line, especially for emphasis. I know that this might not be what you intended, but the overall effect “might” be more pleasing to the ear.

  13. Greg L. says:

    I notice that in the poem “Aurora in the Dawn” the first letter of each line is not capitalized. The capitalization in the poem follows the same rules as prose. But in many traditional poems that I read, the first letter of each line is capitalized. How do you know whether or not to capitalize the first letter of a metrical poem? Is it perhaps too old fashioned to capitalize the first letter of each line, or is it okay to still do that?

  14. Tushar says:

    John, do u therefore believe that shelley byron blakes and frost are now obsolete?
    A paragraph broken into lines becomes poetry now?
    When then are we made to study byron shelley yeats and frost and blake in school?

    I have been writing poems for years now and just started to participate in poetry contests and i found such disoriented poems being awarded!!

    When did this new disorientation take place?

    • Hi Tushar,

      I love those Romantic poets. I wouldn’t say formalism is obsolete, but it is a hard sell because it has been abused (like Haiku). And if you read anything else I wrote, you’d know how much I eschew cut-up prose to give the appearance of poetry–both genres are bastardized with that maneuver. I know, there are some journals (even very reputable ones) that publish that crap.

      Though free verse is a wonderful form (that is hardly free from rules, just free from end rhyme and meter) that I think started with Walt Whitman. Of course, many rushed in to abuse that form thinking everything goes. But there are many brilliant poets that really work that form very well.

      (Beware of poetry contests, though many are legitimate, there are also many scams out there to make money off of the unwary.)

  15. Tony says:

    I believe that whatever maneuvers a poet can use to help a reader open a creative space for themselves are the proper maneuvers. Rhyming, not rhyming, using metrics, not-using metrics, letting anything go, being ridged, abusing, whatever, these can be simple tactics toward the same goal. Use each when appropriate to achieve the goal of all art which is, from my point of view, to open a generative space for your audience, for good or ill. Publishing “crap” can be just as important and meaningful as publishing masterpieces. For instance, the repulsion I feel when reading a poem I think is bad is priceless when I consider what I’m learning from it. Crap-a-dap-dap…

    • Hello Tony, aka “bijou poetry review”

      Thank you for your reply. I am particularly intrigued by your positive attitude that we can learn something valuable, even from some of the published “crap” we both have seen.

  16. I hear nothing forced about the rhyming here, and I won’t hear it because the rhyming was done right. Almost all my published poetry is formal, and I think that has to do with my myriad rejections. At this writing (04/18), my poems are in six journals. I’ll give you the names if you’re interested.

    This is such good poem (to my eyes and ears), seamlessly combining form and narrative.

    My blog is Poetry, Prose and Anything Goes

  17. sarahlearichards says:

    What is called “poetry” now is what is often called “music” now. I’ve come away with the impression that there is a certain snobbishness against rhyming poetry, even though the greats (Poe, Dickinson, etc.) wrote in rhyme. As long as it’s good rhyme, why not? Some of the poetry today sounds like nothing more than a stream of consciousness, but it is considered provocative and avant-garde.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for posting. I agree that there’s a lot of non rhyming “doggerel” being published today. But there’s a lot of good poetry, too.

      By the way, for some this “stream of consciousness” writing is actually a good way to get started on a poem or story. However, after that the work needs to be chiseled out then sculpted. I have found that method of “seducing the muse” only works for me in desperate moments of trying to understand something emotionally. Normally it doesn’t work for me; I mine my experiences with a different kind of shovel.

  18. \jenny Sprod says:

    I have always loved reading poetry (rhyming) and now in my 70’s I have set myself the task of learning my favourite poems off by heart. This has inspired me to write some poems myself, but I cannot do it to order – I have to wait for something to inspire me, so it could be months before another one comes to me. I love the poems I have written, but find it impossible to judge them impartially. I have found the conversations above fascinating, and totally agree that there seems to be a certain snobbishness about poetry these days. I have no ‘feeling’ for blank verse.

    • Thanks for posting, Jenny. I admire your challenge to memorize poetry (someone else’s or your own). Their delivery is so much more effective when you can make eye contact with the audience and use body language–it renders the poem personal to each on in the audience. A collateral benefit is that memorizing is exercising the brain; it’s precisely things like this that keeps our mind from growing fuzzy in the later years. I’m 67 (June 2015) so I am very keen to these things, too.

      I know what you mean about looking at our own work with a distant/impartial eye. If you haven’t already, join a writer’s group from a local guild (or form your own). If you cannot find enough folks near where you live, consider an Internet family. (Be careful here; some are not helpful, but condescending.) I would recommend Silver Pen Writers. It’s free and very supportive: http://silverpenwriters.org/

      As far as inspiration goes, you might like reading the Seducing Your Muse on this website under Writing Prompts. We can help our creativity with the right environment and/or prompt.

      Blank verse isn’t as hard as it might sound. Most of normal speech is blank verse. So Iambic pentameter is a fairly natural beat and breath measure. Understand it doesn’t have to be perfect meter, the iambs (dah DUM) can be varied quite nicely with anapests (dah dah DUM) and even a change-up to a trochee (DUM dah).

      • Jenny Sprod says:

        Thank you, John, for your helpful reply. I shall certainly look at Silver Pen Writers, and at the possibility of starting a local group, if there is not already one around. I am memorising other poets at the moment, things I remember from my youth, such as Sea Fever, The Listeners, Silver, etc. Although I have composed some poems, I still have to memorise them!

      • You are welcome, Jenny,

        You got me curious, so I looked up the first poem. Thanks for suggesting it:

        Sea Fever
        BY JOHN MASEFIELD

        I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
        And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
        And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
        And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

        I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
        Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
        And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
        And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

        I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
        To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
        And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
        And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

  19. Blank verse and free verse are different and not interchangeable. Blank verse can scan, is metered verse in iambics or whatever. The best examples makes the reader think the poem rhymes although it doesn’t because the meter is so musical, and conversely, rhymed poems are at first taken as not rhyming for the same reason.

    • Thank you, Alan. You are absolutely correct in saying blank verse and free verse are not the same thing. (I believe I made no such implication.) Blank verse is almost always unrhymed iambic pentameter (and it may or may not be end stopped). Though one should always have a cautionary eye when reading Wikipedia, its information on blank verse was very helpful. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blank_verse

      I hasten to add that a substantial portion of free verse could be iambic in our narrative/conversational poems because that constitutes the majority of our language. In free verse, I deliberately avoid metered verses*, but will intentionally use metered segments for effect. (Visualize the driving rhythm of the anapest trimeter easily achieved with prepositional phrases.)

      A good example of metered unrhymed verse is the work of Homer. If I recall, much of the Iliad and the Odyssey is in dactylic (DUM dah dah) hexameter, though for some reason I want to say iambic hexameter. (Maybe Longfellow’s translation is in that meter and/or argues it should have been; I don’t remember.)

  20. E Newman says:

    After reading pages and pages of well-informed words, I think I found the answer to the question. No, rhyming poetry is not obsolete. If it were, there would not have been so many pages.

  21. I and my friend had a little heated discussion on whether poetry was more about rhyming or writing in a structure that looks like poetry–free verse. I am myself a published author and I have recently started writing poetry, to my surprise I hardly find more poets who rhyme and write meaningful poetry. I am not against free verse, but when I read any free verse poetry I feel it is just prose paragraph written in a different structure. I always thought poetry was both equally about writing meaningful and rhyming at the same. I don’t mean to offend anyone over here who likes free verse but I personally like rhyming and I guess poets who rhyme poetry consumes more time and effort. This whole discussion has helped me make some changes in my poetry book that will be published in near future. P.s if anyone of you is interested in reading my work find me on facebook–I’ve actually taken a challenge called #TypewriterDaily where I post one poem/poem prose every day and will be posting for an entire year–#365Days. I have completed more than two months so far. 🙂

    • Hi Mansi,

      When I started (seriously) writing poetry, I didn’t know what free-verse was. I had the same reaction you did. But as I studied the craft, I soon got my “rhyming fix” with internal rhyme (and other resonances from various aural devices). If great rhythm can be maintained without the use of meter (with some exception to blank verse), the the free verse poem can offer a valuable device not often taken advantage of in rhyming poetry–the line break. So look for at least those two things in free verse poetry–great rhythm and effective line breaks. Of course, there is more, but look for these in particular–even n conversational pieces.

      Good luck with your book of poetry!

  22. Brian Dempsey says:

    Interesting article. I have really struggled with so-called “free verse” poetry (although I have written several pieces) because so much of what I read is…well…bad. I appreciate your emphasis on the fact that even free verse should be written for the ear. It’s important to remember that words are meant to be heard – with inflection, cadence, expression. Much of what I read, especially online by ameture poets like myself, has the tempo of a tin can falling aimlessly down a flight of steps until it finally crashes to the floor in a final hollow thud. Personally, I love rhyming poetry – and more particularly poems with hard rhymes. When I read a piece that uses slant rhyme, it always seems to rub me the wrong way, like the person didn’t spend enough time working on it. I understand that’s just personal preference. I would say, too, that using punctuation, especially commas, can be very effective to keep your poems from having that “sing song” quality. I’m not expert by any means, but here’s an example of one of my poems:

    FORGOTTEN PRAYERS

    I have no magic words to heal your heart;
    I’ve caused deep wounds–black and blue and raw.
    The memories, like relentless scavengers, they gnaw
    To tear the fragile sinew of our love apart.

    Your thoughts, I know, are like serrated blades,
    With stinging blows almost too much to bear.
    And a brassy heaven to echo back your feeble prayer
    And make you wonder why you even prayed.

    I cannot know the trepidation you must feel
    Alone and empty, filled with doubt and strained.
    To wonder: are “all things new” or simply feigned.
    These last few months, an illusion or are they real.

    Yet, unbeknownst–behind the scenes–stealthily they fly;
    The answer to our forgotten prayers is sent.
    From Heaven’s throne where once, with doubt, we went,
    With tears, questioning if our petitions reached so high.

    With hope, though love will not your scars erase,
    We with doubting, trembling faith proceed,
    And from the tempter’s vile grasp are freed,
    With love anew we run the race.

    Copyright Brian Dempsey, 2013

    • Thank you for sharing your lovely poem, Brian. There will always be a place for formal poems. In fact, there are several good venues that seek it. The one that comes to mind is Measure (out of Evansville, IN if my memory hasn’t failed).

      Some poems are predominantly meant to be heard, while others are more appreciated if they are read on the page (as well as heard).

  23. I was well into my retirement when I met children in my local primary school on my voluntary weekly visit to their classroom. They were “fed up” (their words) and this, they told me was because of a “poem” they’d just had in the lesson before my visit. Without rhyme or structure it was “just a sentence” spiralling down the page, as they pointed out. It did nothing to endear them to the very qualities that lift poetry up and away from prose. They wanted poems with rhyme and with rhythm, with stories and pictures painted in words. I have written 1,300 poems for them with all of these qualities and, hopefully, this next generation of children will know the delight of poetry linked well to song, that I did when I was a child from the poems I’ve written. Now, eight years on, these poems go out to children in 188 countries of the world from my five websites and thousands flock to my website. Poetry written with rhyme and rhythm, hopefully, will make a big comeback with the next generation.

  24. Bernard Quarterman says:

    I love rhyming poetry. I write sonnets –i.e. “little songs” I don’t believe that most “modern” un-rhyming, unrhythmic ‘poetry’ is “poetry.” I think it is subjective bullshit — it is like modern art. I don’t get it. But I’m a harsh critic of modernists. I believe the mantle poetry has been stolen. Remember, Apollo and Mars, the Greek and Roman Gods of War respectively, were also the Gods of “music and poetry.” The ancients could not have imaged poetry without meter and music — and to some extent rhyme. — To the ancients, poetry was almost another form of music. Still, I believe that people got away rhyming poetry and the music/rhythm. We left it, in part, because many don’t have a sense of rhythm. Hint, you cannot write . The ancients believed that poets were touched by the Gods. Even as late as the 1800s, we used to have poetry contests between people like Leigh Hunt and John Keats…. Their two sonnets about The Grasshopper are examples of such a contest. What happened to this view of poetry.
    People came to resent those who could write classical “poetry.” Walt Whitman talked about the liberalizing of poetry. People now talk about the use of ‘inversion’ in poetry.” A lot of great poets used inversion. McCrae — In Flanner’s Field (a Rondeau) uses inversion — it is the national poem of Canada. So does Paul Lawrence Dunbar, in “We Wear the Mask.” another Shakespeare’s XVIII, Edna St Vincent Millay, Elizabeth Barrett Browning all used inversion. Hint..most rhyming metered poets use inversion. The real question, is why don’t people really know or care who the so called great poets of today are and/or about their poems now days. It is because the art form has become subjective bullshit. Classic forms like sonnets, ballads, rondeaux, etc. when well-written will always be eloquent, modern poetry is not well known or remembered. “The Best Loved Poems of the American People” get a copy. Finally, tell me who won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry last year? Ok, how about the year before?…Exactly….

    The Fox
    “I did not harm his cattle or his sheep,
    Although I did enjoy the wayward hen.
    The rodents I killed more than earned my keep,
    But still they drove me from my quiet den.
    And when I tried to flee, they hounded me.
    Those purebreds barked so madly at my scent.
    These noble people would not leave me be —
    For I, alas, had not paid the lord’s rent.
    Indeed, my crime was that I dared to live
    Upon some rock strewn knoll of his estate,
    And for this priv’lege could no shilling give —
    To this lordship who signed and sealed my fate.
    For with one shot, he put my life in check,
    Then used my hide to warm his lady’s neck.”
    Copyright Bernard A. Quarterman, Jr. 2016
    [Follow me on http://www.sonnetsbyablackman.com]

    • Good points, Bernard, but don’t be quick to condemn free verse (I think open verse is a better title). The music in a well-crafted free verse poem does not come from end rhyme and meter, but it does come from internal rhymes and resonances and it most definitely better have good rhythm. (As I have said earlier, metrical verse is not the only kind of rhythm and regular conversation does not have enough rhythm even though it is predominantly iambic. However, you are correct in saying that a lot of so called poetry gets published these days, including bad rhyming poetry (otherwise known as doggerel).

  25. Bud Morris says:

    I submitted my only attempt ever at free verse to a small magazine that had published some of my rhyme-and-meter poetry in the past. The editor’s comment in his verbal rejection of it was something like, “You don’t need to write this stuff when you can write the beautiful rhyme-and-meter poetry that you do.”

    • I am glad you found a venue that likes your rhyming poetry. Stick with it. But I disagree with that editor’s advice to not write anything but traditional forms. There’s a lot of beautiful free verse poetry out there… and I try to write beautiful poetry which is impeccably rhythmic (but not metrical) and with lots of music, but no end rhyme. (But once in a while I will write a rhyming poem using slant or half-rhymes.)

      • Derek J. Sturch says:

        Having only just found this blog when looking for rhyming poetry I am so pleased to see that it is not only myself here in the UK but poets from many countries who still believe in this form of poetry.
        I have got so fed up with the absolute contempt shown to skillful, well written rhyming poetry. Very rarely have I ever seen a rhyming poem chosen in the many and various poetry competitions here in the UK.
        I do get so frustrated. I`m 74 yet still remember the poetry I learnt during my childhood.
        How many people will ever remember the words of the poetry written today? That is if they ever have the interest to read them in the first place. No wonder there is so little interest in poetry.today.
        I have attached a plea for poetry I wrote a while ago.

        Derek Sturch
        Devon, UK

        A plea for rhyming poetry

        Why bother I to take the time
        To formulate my poem`s rhyme?
        Construct a flowing syncopation,
        Bouncing beat with animation.
        A simple rhyming symphony
        With which most people would agree
        They do prefer `bove shrouded lines
        That those who judge deem so refined.
        No wonder I am so resigned
        T` elitist, cultist, paradigms
        Of poem`s line or verse`s structure,
        O this dogma I could rupture.
        It is the intellectuals` curse
        Their jargon plied when they converse
        Makes poetry so deep and drear
        That many turn their backs I fear.

        At school they taught us simple rhyme.
        Used poems writ throughout our times,
        By Chaucer, Coleridge, Betjeman,
        And still I do remember them.
        Lines that are a part of me
        Instilled by rhyming poetry.
        There is a place for all its forms
        No one can say what is the norm.
        So give the rhyming poet hope
        For their resurgence cast your vote.
        And in this age of “tweets” and “twitters”
        Let`s agree that poetry matters.

        While to the people who judge this
        On Shakespeare`s Sonnets reminisce.
        Most famous bard throughout all time,
        Whose poems rarely failed to rhyme.

      • Thank you, Derek. I enjoyed your rhyming rant. (And I corrected the typo: Shakespeare has an e at the end of his name… I’ve made the same misspelling in the past 🙂

        There are some journals that crave good formal poetry, like Measure Press in Evansville, IN

        And a simple Google search will yield many more. I haven’t explored Venues for Formal Poetry, but it looks useful. Good luck.

      • Jenny Sprod says:

        Hello John,

        I have just started a Facebook poetry group for poets who write rhyming poetry. I shall be very interested to see if it takes off.

        Jenny

        Sent from my iPad

        >

      • Sounds good, Jenny. I hope it works out! (I don’t facebook much, otherwise I would visit your group there more often.)

  26. Brenda W. Elmore says:

    The poem by Aurora Wolf was beautiful and evocative, but I agree with a previous post that “ululates La Luna” seems contrived. I like to read, as poems sweep me along, but that line stopped me, took me out of the poem, as I contemplated her word choice. The rest of the poem was intriguing, but then you had already put it in the context of nuclear winter which put me on the same page as the author, adding clarity. But not all modern poetry is as meaningful to those who take the time to read it.

    Shouldn’t all writing be accessible, a communication with the reader, an interactive sharing of feelings, and meaning couched in the beauty or impact of words? If not, then maybe it should stay in a personal journal where the writer can revisit it at will. Could it be that these poems are written in a code, understood only by the effete few? Obscure, deliberately murky writing makes me feel stupid for putting in a great deal of thought and effort to try to understand it.

    That being said, I grew up on the poems the greats, the flow of their words and thoughts, carrying me along through their rhythm and rhyme. I enjoy fitting my thoughts and words into this type of poetry. I can also see why poets enjoy the freedom that comes with the abandonment of such structures. It gives writers a chance to let their words pour forth, tumbling over each other in unfettered celebration. I write in free verse when I want the flow of words to sweep my feelings along in a flood of images. But I resent the idea that when I write poems that rhyme they are immediately shuffled into the category of drivel.

    What I do not comprehend is the embracing of collections of seemingly unrelated lines whose meaning is as undecipherable as the Gordian knot. This style of writing reminds me of the Emperor’s New Clothes; people ooh and aah as they view it while I stand alone saying “But he’s naked, isn’t he?”

    • Hi Brenda,

      Thanks for posting and I’m pleased that you like “Aurora in the Dawn” (though I missed the post that said my ululates part felt contrived). I just checked my log and saw that this poem was first drafted almost exactly 6 years ago, half way through my creative writing life to date. I am sure I would wrote that same poem better now.

      I agree that all non creative writing should be accessible, but I agree that most creative writing should be too. However, there are times that lack of focus might be interpreted as being inaccessible. I have read many surreal poems that are like that. I think the accessibility is that which the reader brings to the table from his/her own experiences. And though this is always true, it is critical for such “postmodern” poems. My personal preference is like yours though, I want to find a way into to the poem so I can claim it to myself–I want access to it.

      Sometimes a poem is not accessible because it is poorly written…there’s no excuse for that. I remember that to be one of my earliest lessons. The poem must have clarity (not vague). I used to write the lines as if I were “keeping a secret” from the reader until the very end. I was really being unclear. The language was beautiful, but the reader couldn’t enter the poem…I had failed 😦 But when I finally realized (thanks to a critique group and repeated patient teachings), my annual publication acceptance rate tripled. That was in 2007. Over the next couple years, I worked on what I discovered as anther major obstacle until I analyzed poems I thought were inferior to mine yet were getting published in journals I coveted. It was rhythm. Or should I say the lack of it. I had, again beautifully imagery, and now clarity, but no rhythm. When I fixed that, my publication rate doubled again. The next hurtle was adding more literary depth, but that has been getting me into more higher quality venues. The last two years I’ve been publishing 100 pieces per year, so I must be doing something right 🙂

      By the way, I love your emperor’s new clothes analogy!

      I’m a designated Frequent Contributor to the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review where you can see some of my more current writing.Occasionally I’ll write a Pantoum or Terza rima, sonnet and a few other forms, but they’ll always be subverted somewhat. At the very least I’ll suspend any regular metrical structure (but the rhythm still better be good), but keep the essential structural elements and a slant rhyme scheme, even if the poem is conversational!

      • Brenda W. Elmore says:

        Thank you for your personal reply to my comment. I am so glad that you have been able to hone your craft so successfully and I admire the thought and effort, the drive which prompted you to assess your work with a critical eye. I am too subjective, maybe incapable of the objectivity required or maybe I am also a bit cowardly.

        I finished the week-long Chesapeake Writer’s Workshop, poetry section, so completely discouraged that I quit writing every day, the way I had been doing before the experience. Now I only write when the desire to put my thoughts on paper overwhelms me. The dreaded “R” word reared its ugly head in much of my work. I found first-hand that my poetry was considered passé, dismissed as classical style.

        When you bare your soul, put your thoughts and feelings out there for others, it would be kind if they would at least try to see beyond a discarded format, to really look at what you are saying, sharing with them, to hear your voice in the words and images you have written. I now try to write only free verse, but those stubborn rhymes continue to creep in.

        Consequently, I have mostly turned to art to express myself, and keep it and my writing for the few others who seem to get it. Cast ye not your pearls…etc. Still, when communication is the true goal, hiding your work can be very frustrating.

  27. I have now written 1,350 poems and 99% of them are with PERFECT rhyme and rhythm/metre. I am a perfectionist. When I’d written 400 poems an educational publisher took them into many different schools over 9 months. 344 were chosen for publication in five books. I started writing them when children whom I visited in my local primary school, were feeling very despondent as a result of a poetry lesson prior to my visit. What they’d been given was just a sentence spiralling down the page. Being Yorkshire children, they didn’t mince their words: “It’s rubbish in’t it?” I agreed. In the name of poetry this had been written. Then in my local library I found only one book with the work of a modern writer. The first poem read: In the Library – – by —– “Look! Book!”
    Oh, give me strength!!!! The children were right. So I started writing for them and now my poems go into 188 countries of the world. Google JOSIE’S POEMS. Let’s get good poetry back I say. Where do I find your Facebook Page Jenny?

  28. Hi john the reason I posted my poem was to show that I don’t think that rhyming poetry is childish which I seem to see on most sites yours included I write my poems in the form I was taught 55 years ago I have been writing only for the last two years in which time I have written some 200 or more poems I am not trying to change everyones mind about this new order poetry I am just trying to show people that rhyming poetry should not be classed as childish
    William T Fearby

    i couldn’t stand the pain

    the clock on the wall shows a quarter to three
    the old man sat crying while drinking his cold tea
    his world has lost meaning since his love walked out
    leaving him feeling empty, his heart full of doubt

    the rings on the tables the stains on the floor
    the strong smell of tobacco the old creaking door
    the memories of days spent when they were together
    he always thought what they had, would last forever

    how could he know it would all end up this way
    he lost all his pride when he begged her to stay
    their time had run out there was nowhere to go
    she left him a broken man with nothing to show

    he sits at the table where they always sat
    remembering the hours he spent at their flat
    trying to make sense of what he had lost
    his wifes walked out now he,s counting the cost

    as the clock ticks on to twenty past four
    he sits all alone just watching the door
    hoping and praying that she may come back
    oblivious of time and losing all track

    he lights up a cigarette straight after the other
    and struggles to breath as he thinks of his lover
    he cougths and splutters cold tea in his cup
    a dark shadow stands over him so he looks up

    standing over him he see,s his darling wife
    and tells her he has loved her all of his life
    she says i know dear thats why i am here
    i have come to collect you please have no fear

    and as his spirit leaves his body behind
    she said i didn,t leave im not that unkind
    i had to go my darling i tried so hard to stay
    but god sent the angels and they took me away

    now we are reunited forever for the rest of our days
    i promise i will make it up to you in so many ways
    and i swear i will never leave you ever again
    because if i lost you twice i couldn,t stand the pain

    william t fearby 03/04/2015

    • Thank you, William. I hope that I didn’t give you the impression that all rhyming poetry is childish, even mine on this site. But you’re deluding yourself if you think all or even most of the rhyming poetry being written by folks who don’t understand what the word “revision” means. Just as there is a lot of free-verse crap, there is at least as much rhyming crap. I like good rhyming poetry, and there are many masters of the craft to study who do it right. sadly, the rhyme poem (along with Haiku) is one of the most often abused forms among K-12 teachers who are afraid of poetry, the advertising industry with their silly jingles, and the “Hallmark” card industry, who also trivialize the rhyme. It is unfortunate, but there are many modern day poets that respect Form poetry. I’m among them.

  29. The problem is not with “rhyming”. That is very simple. The main problem some writers have is “rhythm” or “metre.” The ability to split words into sounds, with a full awareness of where the small accentuations are within words, and to use these to make metre is very difficult. I was a Pitman Shorthand teacher for 30 years and a 120 word per minute shorthand writer. You write “sounds” on paper, and at 120 wpm you have to break up words and extract sounds at 2 words per second. So your phonological awareness must be good, and it is this which transfers to the writing of metered poetry. It is also a good phonological awareness that is needed by children learning to read and write, ie the ability to break words into sounds quickly. Therefore metered and rhyming poetry is so important for young children and yet they are being told to “write” poetry at a young age. As the teachers don’t understand the various metres, they tell their children to write sentences split into short lines and this is passing for poetry today. This is the problem. Children should listen and listen and listen again to perfectly metered poetry, and of course this usually starts before they even start reading, ie with nursery rhymes and simple poems. I write mainly for children of every age (including young adults) but I also write for adults and 99% of my 1,300 poems are written with rhyme and metre. (Google JOSIE’S POEMS)

  30. Rita K. says:

    Really enjoyed this post and the responses. Kudos to Ben Burton for his insightful poem. I am a big fan of rhyming poem and Ben shows that this form is alive and well.

  31. Is this blog still active? I have a few questions, wondering if I can email you?

  32. 06domstan93 says:

    Good day, I saw your post and nice conversation. Can I ask a little favor please. Let me know what are the problems in rhyme in poem in your respective country is it hard to make a poem with rhyme and why is it difficult ? tell me please for our thesis. Thank you very much

    • Please forgive me for the late response, your query was sent to trash (not spam!) instead of going to my inbox (Gmail does some strange things at times).

      I think I answered this question in my post and responses to others, but I’ll say it briefly, maybe add a little more insight (but remember, this is my opinion):

      The reason has fallen out of favor in this country is first the general trend to express poetry in deliberately different ways. Each era has a claim to its particular style. So the first reason is simply that it has fallen out of vogue. We live in a fickle world. The other reasons (perhaps to justify the change) are that (1) rhyming poetry has been bastardized by silliness of the advertisement firms, Hallmark cards, K-8 teachers (sorry, I don’t mean to pick on them, but you can see what they’ve done to Haiku, a once beautiful form), (2) many of the lines are end-stopped and the rhyme seems forced. It’s not good like the masters had it.

  33. James Herren says:

    I just published a book of (mostly)rhyming poetry on kindle, titled Wit and Wonder: Poetry with Rhythm and Rhyme. I’m not sure if rhyming poetry is out but I’m hoping I can bring it back in. The Amazon Look Inside This Book feature will let you read the first 12 poems, though there are 148 in all. If you preview and decide to buy please write a review. Thanks, James Herren.

  34. I have always loved rhyming poetry since first encountering it as a young child. I tend to write in a traditional manner, for example my poem, “My Old Clock I wind”: “My old clock I wind
    And much philosophy therein find.
    I can bring
    The pendulum’s swing
    To a stop With my hand,
    Yet I can not command
    Time to default
    On his duty and halt
    The passing of the years.
    He has no ears
    For our laughter and tears
    And his sickle will swing on
    Long after we are gone”. (Copyright Kevin Morris).

    I have always loved rhyming poetry since first encountering it as a young child. I tend to write in a traditional manner, for example my poem, “My Old Clock I wind”: “My old clock I wind
    And much philosophy therein find.
    I can bring
    The pendulum’s swing
    To a stop With my hand,
    Yet I can not command
    Time to default
    On his duty and halt
    The passing of the years.
    He has no ears
    For our laughter and tears
    And his sickle will swing on
    Long after we are gone”. (Copyright Kevin Morris).

  35. Pingback: Is Rhyming Poetry Out? | newauthoronline

  36. James Herren says:

    Rhythm, rhyme, and meter are tools to be used for effect. In the publishing world rhyme and formal meter have clearly fallen out of favor for the moment (and in the scope of the broader world so has poetry). This is both tragic and frustrating, but by no means a permanent. All it takes is one blockbuster hit to change things (for example, when Longfellow published Hiawatha the world nearly drowned in trochaic tetrameter).

    Regarding what’s the “right way” to write poetry: Every poem is a combination of form and content. If you lock yourself into a single “right way” of writing poetry you will end up either killing poems before they start or writing really bad poems because you are trying to force your words and emotions into a box that doesn’t really fit them.

    Consider the following poems that use rhythm, rhyme, meter, and structure in different ways, to very different effect. Whether you like them or not could you imagine their meaning, tone, and emotions transferring effectively to the predominant style of any period of english poetry? What about Elizabeth Barrett Brownings famous sonnet, How Do I Love Thee, written as free-verse?

    One and Only —
    I have a love,
    and she has me,
    and love’s as lovely
    as love can be,
    on yoyo rides,
    and trampolines,
    through lollipops
    and honey-bees,
    though neverland
    remains unseen,
    we hold to sweet
    apostrophes –
    my love’s my love,
    and hers is me.

    At Lillie’s —
    Couples sip and sup and linger
    in private little worlds,
    their joys and struggles
    covered by the daily grind –
    whirs, hisses, clanks and purrs,
    that resonate expressions of
    magnetic jazz –
    a tune as lively
    as most any love that’s
    wandered into Lillie’s,
    and sipped, and supped,
    and held kind hands
    made warmer over coffee,
    and peered with longing into eyes
    who are, or were,
    or soon would be,
    their counterpart,
    their ever-heart,
    their regular at Lillie’s.

    I Do —
    When romance has faded,
    when money has flown,
    when busy is normal
    and dating has gone

    away with the children,
    with the daily grind,
    with the dawn-to-midnight
    dawn-to-dawn demands

    of a too hard, too cold
    life without the warm
    fuzzies, without the thrill,
    without the hot storm

    of emotions that made
    you say I do, what’s
    left? What bears the strain? Just
    love, and prayer, and grit.

    Poems Copyright James Herren 2017. Wit and Wonder: Poetry with Rhythm and Rhyme, Kindle Edition.

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