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.

The PDF above provides examples of tension devices in poetry and was associated with a recent lecture, though not a standalone document, the examples are provided to help Avra-Sha Faohla’s October 14, 2021questions, they might help you too.


158 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

      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:

        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:; however, the Kindle edition is less than $2: (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!

      • I have found, after having written over 1500 country and gospel songs, and poems, that those who dislike rhyming poems are the ones who find it impossible to intelligently put together rhyming verse

      • The Scriptures are replete with beautiful poetry, not necessarily rhyming in English, but the imagist nature of Hebraic poetry gives us a rhyming in images. But on occasion, from what I understand, there is some rhyme in Hebrew, too. Of course, the hymns are all beautiful rhyming poems sang as songs.

      • FOR RAYMOND RIP 8/18/2018

        The moon went full and took the sky
        Goliath hands and a mournful sigh
        dark eyes seeped the salty truth
        We take for granted in our youth

        And like a surge of angry seas
        Earth swallowed moon behind the trees
        A stern dark mass, engulfed the space
        The ground beneath, a Sorry place

        The news touched down with angry rage
        Emotions locked inside a cage
        Our clever moon revealed to me
        We only see what we want to see

        We flaunt the good and hide the sad
        Or wish for things we never had
        And All the while our time goes by
        Till moon reveals its heavy sigh

        For now the darkness hovers thick
        While sun remains too hot and sick
        It isn’t bright, no palette Hues
        There are no colors, only blues

        There are no words, no birds no flight
        No soaring wings for us tonight
        Earth swallowed moon behind the trees
        The howl forcing buckled knees

        We all ask why and feed the flames
        Till tears and fears are what remains
        The bitter salty tides and wakes
        Remain in force, with give and takes

        I’ll frame your face, my heart and eyes
        And speak of you as your spirit flys
        And in your name I will share your worth
        The hopes and dreams you had on earth

        Earth swallowed moon behind the trees
        That night we wept on bended knees
        A life was halted once again
        Shame on man, what could have been

        The thickened trace of moons own grief
        The wind is still and sun is brief
        No storms erupt, no stone can roll
        While nature try’s to calm the toll

        It cannot calm, or change the scene
        A taken life, a stolen dream
        So off you go to the vast unknown
        The other world that we call home

        The world where peace is moon and sun
        A massive force, the Goliath run
        That sweeps on by, not knowing when
        Goodbye, farewell….till we meet again

        Goodbye, farewell….you are not alone
        So long, so long…we will guide you home.

      • Sorry for your loss, Jeannie. You predominantly iambic tetrameter lines, I’m sure, are a tribute to Raymond.

    • 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.

    • Erin Cochran says:

      Let’s just call it what it is, poetry that rhymes can be really great if it isn’t written by poets that are awful, and most people that write rhyming poetry are very, very bad at it. That’s just the truth of it.

    • Kai Chakara says:

      I totally agree. I read and write poetry constantly, and I cringe when I hear this modern poetic nature. What hath thy persons done unto my splendid script? I can not believe rhyming poetry is “old” or “forced” poetry. This is the poetry! There is no other.
      Or, at least, I wouldn’t bother.;)

      • Hi Kai, It’s the forced rhymes that people write today that’s hurting the wonderful traditional forms. The masters did not (in general) force a rhyme for the sake of the rhyme.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly in all that you say. I have written approximately 1,400 new poems for children of every age group and for adults, and many of these poems have been published, but I pay great attention to my rhyme and metre. I would say it is perfect in all of these poems. I feel that poetry is an arts subject, well linked to music, drama and of course, art, film, photography when the poem is illustrated. If you’d like to see my work, simply Google JOSIE’S POEMS. I have 5 huge websites containing these poems. I do hope you enjoy them. I hold the copyright on all of my work.

    • Angela Buss says:

      I completely agree. Beautifully stated!

    • Jana says:

      And I thought I was going mad. Poetry was my first love and I adored it for its lyricism and at once highly personal and universal values depicted with a beauty of both image and resonance which stirs the soul. This kind of poetry finds a niche in the heart and mind and is highly memorable – the rhyme or rhythm underpins the message and sentiment and makes it more impactful – although I find half-rhyme and internal rhyme can be as effective and yes – when not in the hands of a master – sometimes more subtle; but without any of these we are left with prose – beautifully written, maybe (in some cases) – but just prose all the same: I’d prefer it to be called poetic prose (which in fact I tend to use when I write in prose anyway) than poetry – and leave the domain of poetry for the lyrical use of words which ought to flow, whether they rhyme or not. I will wager that most ‘contemporary poetry’ even if beautifully written might stay in the mind for a short while, but will not ingrain itself as a lifelong friend to be drawn upon with ease. I do agree with John Mannone’s statement, that forced rhyme feels unnatural (and in the worst case scenario take on a ‘nursery rhyme’ aspect)…and that flow is all for a poem (but skilfully written lyrical poetry will flow and feel natural) – but I disagree that most contemporary poetry has impeccable rhythm: I have not seen much of that…and have a tendency as a result to turn away from contemporary poetry and just continue to do what I love to do, intuitively, not forcedly! I feel that contemporary poetry has departed so far from the page that it approaches the scenario you, Tamarind, warn of so wisely, that freedom is nearly always overused, and has certainly got to that stage now; some sort of poetic shape (but this could be specific to the individual poet rather than formulaic) is needed to ensure quality of sound, image, and to stand the test of time.
      In the introduction to my own first collection ‘The Memory of Walls’ (pen name Jana Synková) I touch on this problem: the fact that poetry ought to have some sort of rhythm or structure, though never at the expense of sentiment and flow; I concede that some of the old forms are archaic and might have an unnatural feel (though of course the literary amongst us can still enjoy them within their context) ; John Mannone is right to say that poetry will and should evolve across the ages…but not so far as to be completely unrecognizable as poetry…or to take away the very features which make poetry great, or distinct from prose…that is a step too far.
      I have strived to write poetry which flows with authenticity of sentiment and beauty of image and sound, disregarding most ‘archaic’ formulas though still informed and inspired by them; I use gentle rhyme and half-rhyme which I hope will never sound unnatural and I am careful to avoid cliché except where done with irony. People have been turning away from free verse in their droves because it does not register with as much impact and is less pleasing to the ear; they are confused, because it’s ‘not the beautiful poetry’ they are expecting. The only people who are lapping it up seem to be the ones writing it and dictating this ‘formless form’, creating anthologies which control what is being shown out there, driving a further nail into the coffin of poets such as myself who until now have wondered why the ‘powers that be’ (namely the protagonists of free verse) have not appreciated my submissions since they do not match their style… being well written and beautiful (as my academic peers have assured me ) does not seem to count for much in their eyes. As with Ben, also commenting below, the poetry ought also to be accessible for its audience: well written, but accessible enough for the meaning not to be lost or the point of the poem is also lost. Joseph Sexton also makes the shrewd point that (a parallel might be found with modern art of the Unmade Bed ilk) that those who cannot write well lyrically will be only to happy to opt for the free verse escape route. I also empathise hugely with the other poet-commenters here who have been rejected (just as I have) from mainstream contemporary poetry publishing / national competition submissions, because they do not have this rhyme-less ‘style’, no matter how well written. I shall persist, because at least now I know that there are others out there like me, struggling too; and I already know there is an appreciative, disillusioned, alienated audience for our work, too, but it is difficult for us to advertise, and difficult for them to find us. Hopefully this will soon change. Thanks Tamarind for highlighting this, and giving me faith in humanity once again.

      • Well-said, Jana. I concur that a lot of “contemporary poetry” is prose in disguise. One big test for this is to present it without the line breaks and see if it makes a difference. In some ways (the pacing) it will but if the line break does not work for the poem other than a breath pause then something isn’t right. I strongly believe that the line break is the most powerful tool for free verse. Sadly, it is not utilized well even by notable poets. I suppose the poem’s merit is more largely based on content and the use of metaphor (even if not lyrical). An effective line break will create tension (what the reader expects vs what is revealed at the turn of the line. On another note, the writing might be so dense with imagery that verification will give the poem some “breathing room.” (I am mostly speaking of the prose poem, which is a poem without line breaks.) I continue to write form poems, albeit subverted (usually not keeping a specific meter but remain otherwise true to the form). And as an editor of four journals, I do accept form poems when they are masterfully done and whose content satisfies the aesthetics of the magazine and my personal editorial focus. See Abyss & Apex and Silver Blade (, both of which require a speculative element. See also Liquid Imagination and American Diversity Report (, which has a more general scope (but are kind to speculative poetry). In all cases, I want literary quality poetry with literary depth (it has to answer the so what question; it needs to have meaning that transcends, usually with the subtext being existential, about the human condition, or some bigger-picture point). ADR doesn’t pay but has a huge readership (over 70,000). The others pay between 5.50 and 10 dollars a poem.

      • Jana says:

        Thank you for your reply John, I was encouraged to hear your further views, and grateful to you for raising this debate and the important issues at stake. From what you state concerning the existence of avenues and publications in which good quality lyrical/rhyming poetry is viewed favourably, I shall take heart and search further afield whilst continuing to publish my own work independently if that’s what it takes! I will look at the specific reviews or publications you have included.
        I’m including here one of my most well-received shorter forms part of my independently-published collection, ‘The Memory of Walls’: I’d love to know your /anyone here’s, thoughts on it, as indeed it in many ways commits all the cardinal sins for which the free verse/ prose-poetry Inquisition might wish to condemn it: it contains both hard and half-rhyme; the rhyme takes shape predominantly at the ends of lines; it is lyrical; each line begins with a capital letter for impact and a little poetic form; whilst non literal and full of imagery, it is yet easily accessible and comprehensible.
        Here I lay my reputation on the line! : – (note that in my book, this poem sits centralized on the page in the classic poem layout which suits the shape of this particular poem – I have not been able to reproduce that here).


        Soft rain,
        Drop down.
        Wash me clean
        Of memories that cling.
        Cleanse me of the past
        And all the heavy suns
        That scorched my soul,
        Burned more than skin-deep.
        Rid me of this dirt
        Which makes me weep.

        Wash away
        The encrusted red;
        But preserve in amber
        Times to hold,
        Truer than truth,
        More precious than gold –
        Never to grow old.

        Sweet rain,
        Dissolve with purity,
        These stains;
        Anoint with your soft kiss
        A weathered cheek,
        A voice,
        Too choked to speak.
        Oh those yesterdays,
        Make me forget;
        Drown me in the present,
        Make me wet.

        Pour down rain;
        With quick, kind lashes,
        Banish pain;
        That tears might mingle
        With the very last trickle,
        And the ground
        May be lush,
        And pastures,
        Green again.

  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: 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.
    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding
    more. Thanks for great information I was
    looking for this information for my mission.

  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

        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.

      • L.D.Dockery says:

        This reply comes about four years late. Just happen to see this post that I had forgotten.
        Poetry transcends rhyme is true, but where would you see rhyme other than in poetry. Lets say that it is a distinquishing factor to a specific kind of literature._______ is a kind(genre) of literature that involves ryhme. Can you fill in the blank with something other than poetry?

      • Song lyrics will fit in your blank, also children’s literature. Both may involve rhyme, but may not be poetry.

  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.)

    • Jana says:

      I came to this discussion late in the day, but am finding the same issues…which drew me here. I, for one, shall continue to write as I do!! It is disheartening at the moment for poets who write lyrically ( and I do not include those who think they can write/rhyme, but write badly, that is not what is at stake here!) and the worrying thing is not just that it’s ‘fashionable’ right now… but that it seems to be dictated as ‘norm’ for all…and lyrical poets are sneered at (often by those who can’t write lyrically so are more than happy to embrace free verse!) I think – or at least hope – that we are due a romantic revival in poetry soon! Hold tight! : )

  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:

      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

        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

      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:


    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]

    • 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
        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.


        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.

  37. Any poet worth his or her salt can rhyme beautifully well.

    • It is a gift to be a good poet, it is even a greater gift to rhyme so well that the reader doesn’t even realize it’s a rhyming poem until late in the verse, if at all. In other words, good rhyme doesn’t draw attention to itself. Yes, that’s very hard to do, and I admire it when it’s done so well that the poem sounds natural.

  38. webadage404 says:

    I love rhyming poetry. In my mind it represents order and correctness. Words are fun and manipulating them artistically is my favorite hobby but, in my mind if it doesn’t rhyme; if the meter is not smooth and rhythmically correct, it isn’t poetry, its just words.

    • Rhythm is a critical element for me to accept a poem for any one of the three journals for which I edit poetry. I’ve read rhyming poem with poor rhythm and non rhyming poems with impeccable rhythm. The words, together with structure and syntax, make the music, whether they are in rhyming verse or not.

  39. ... says:

    I have lots to say on the subject and love poetry but I will simply leave you with this poem which I wrote for my oldest sisters wedding.

    The Vow

    If I came to you with nothing
    but a smile and prayerful tune,
    would you take me in and love me
    come summer heat or snow in June?

    If I gave to you my heart
    with all its miles and its flaws,
    can it be your one and only?
    Will you hold it close to yours?

    Will you stay with every breath love,
    be it infirmed or joy or beat?
    Would you save me for the asking,
    whether jest or judgement seat?

    Will you stay in the loneliness
    as the empty ages pass?
    Will we be best friends forever,
    whether low or upper class?

    Will you be there at the end love
    when the angels come to save?
    Whether headstone dressed up fancy
    or a lowly pauper’s grave.

    Will you watch with me a while love
    as the mourners shed their tears.
    Will you rise with me to glory,
    as our blessed Savior nears?

  40. Pingback: Is Rhyming Poetry Out? | John C. Mannone: The Art of Poetry | Indie Writers & Artists – Creative Experiences

  41. Dennis East says:

    Here I am at the bottom of huge pile of “real poetry” beliefs – Please find below my poem and thoughts about modern poetry. In my experience – real, regular, normal, down to earth people still enjoy proper rhyming poetry. Sadly English students (for far too long) have been lead by the nose /ears to believe that “free verse” is the only way forward….. I am simply amazed at some of the absolute trash that is written and acclaimed these days as Poetry.

    Modern Poetry

    Have you read a poem lately; they’re all written in ‘free verse’.
    Like the murmurs of a hippy high on drugs or something worse.
    They’re a dangling meander through the tulips of their time,
    Where the last thing that they care about comes on the second line.
    Seems the weirder that you make them, the more you are adored;
    Proving anyone can write them, stringing words of scant accord.
    Like a drug-induced arrangement, spewing text because you can,
    And as I’ve yet to try and read them out‘s a clue……. I’m not a fan.

    At first I thought it must be me; I’ve been so out of touch,
    So I searched for poems said to rhyme, and not found very much.
    Just a few odd bits of free stuff with a rhyming paragraph,
    Bereft of lines to make you think or even make you laugh.
    Then next I read that publishers look down on rhyming bards,
    And say their work’s just fit for kids or lines in birthday cards.
    These leaders of the literary world are steering us to ruin;
    Poem’s fate is in their hands, and they don’t know what they’re doing.

    Try this: give new poems to a regular chap and bid him read to you,
    And he’ll be in ‘free-verse free-fall’ before he’s half way through.
    I further bet he’ll raise his head and ask you, “What’s the plot?
    I can’t go on; this makes no sense – is this a joke or what?”
    Oh no, old son, you’re doing well; it’s from a leading poet.
    It’s top class stuff, renowned by all – but you wouldn’t frigging know it.
    I’ve written poems fifty years and never planned to cash them;
    Just my damn luck I go to try – and find they’re out of fashion.

    Thank you for the opportunity to have a moan about my concerns.

  42. Sarah Lea Stories says:

    I like rhyme for children’s poetry; for adult, not so much.

  43. Brenda. Kellner says:

    You are correct in saying many people ‘force rhyme’. Good rhyming and rhythm in poetry is a lost art. It is not easy to convey to the reader exactly what you want him/her to feel with an easy rhyming and rhythmic poem. So many today just try to write lines with meaning. This kinda of poems bore me to death. No wonder poetry is losing popularity. Too many try to write poetry with hidden messages. I want to read a poem and know exactly what the writer intended.

    • Hi Brenda,

      When you say “So many today just try to write lines with meaning” that is a correct description of prose (cut up into lines) And I’m assuming good prose because there is meaning. Poetry has to have much more than superficial meaning (whether rhyming or not). Yes, one of the meanings should be apparent, but I expect more beneath the surface and want to discover layers of meaning. But you are also correct when you speak of rhyming as a lost art. Even back then when most of the rhymes were hard, many were skillfully wrought. Some of the masters even used slant rhyme/half rhymes to achieve their sonics.

      Thanks for posting.

  44. nosheenbatool says:

    nice article but i dont think rhyming makes poetry superficial .personally i like poems with a rhyme schemes better than free verse

    • Thanks for the comment. If rhyming is done well, then yes, it can be a very good poem. But to be honest, today I see a much greater percentage of poorly written rhyme than poorly written free verse. There should be music in the words regardless of whether end rhyme is used or not. Sadly, there is a lot of junk out there (in both rhyming and non rhyming camps).

  45. B.E. Stok says:

    Hi John, B. E. Stock here. I love rhyme and rhythm and Ode to a Nightingale, but I like to play around with free verse and blank verse and unpatterned rhymes and half rhymes. Here’s a recent effort:


    Between city and country
    Lies the nowheresville
    Most of us live in.
    We travel daily to arrive
    At where we need to be.
    Work is far, but so is our vacation.
    No spread of land beyond the sill,
    No slum where dark peoples strive.
    The church is farther than a sense of sin,
    And the art is more abstract than Liberty.

    Used to be the train like the string
    Beads adorn united in a way
    Our parallel existences.
    Now we use cars instead to fling
    Our selves and children into the fray,
    Or the bus with its jerky silences
    Heads through traffic, then the intercom sings
    Of construction, parades and delay,

    Oh that we could ever be still:
    Roofed in some place complete
    Till soil or make a pot from clay
    Caress the grass with naked feety
    Pull up water from a well
    Have the sky around all day.


    • Thanks for posting, B.E., I like what you’re doing here (kill the y after feet–I think it’s a typo), and these lines: “The church is farther than a sense of sin,/And the art is more abstract than Liberty” are haunting.

      As the celebrity judge, I just finished judging over 400 poems for the Founders Award (a thousand dollar prize) and there were several noteworthy form poems in the 21 finalists I had selected from which I chose 3 money winners and 7 honorable mentions. The second place winner (five hundred dollars) and one of honorable mentions were form poems. The rhymes in the 2nd place poem were natural (even the hard rhymes, but slant rhymes were smartly included) using predominantly a trochaic heptameter ballad-like structure and the rhythm was excellent.

  46. John Brennan says:

    Here’s a poem commemorating the war whose armistice came just one hundred years ago. The style may be a bit fated now, but I think it flows well enough to allay any suggestion of stridency or forced rhyming – anyone agree/disagree?

    GRIM PROWLER OF THE NIGHT – Recalling the ‘Zeppelin Menace’ of January 1915-August 1918

    Beyond the crumbling drip-stone fringe of Heaven
    Drab skies; moist air. At almost half past seven
    Fierce wind whips up, fanning foreboding wrought
    By glowering cloud, which lately, monsters brought.

    For our fair land are such night-raiders bound
    Despite its steely armour ringed around,
    To rent and ravage all that we hold dear
    – Pray promised day of retribution’s near.

    A distant bell; the nearby beat of wings –
    Ill omens of those ghastly bloated things?
    Hearts race, time slows; we barely draw a breath;
    As doomed condemned we wait the thrum of death.

    Not fear of bombs, but spine-tingling chilled hand
    Of primal dread is what the mind can’t stand.
    Boche can be fought and killed, and understood,
    Not so black arts, where wickedness stalks good!

    High Street morbidly quiet, baleful, dark;
    The town sleeps; nearby, sudden frenzied bark;
    Then more dogs, howling, yelping, everywhere
    – A sullen menace taints the clammy air.

    No! Don’t pretend you don’t know what’s to come –
    That game’s for fools, and I know you’re not one.
    Instead, let’s brace ourselves for what’s ahead,
    . . . Daylight shall find us burying the dead.

    From alien realm these monstrous maggots creep
    Their grim empyrean transits while we sleep,
    To murder and to maim a helpless foe
    Slumbering innocently far below.

    They skulk across the town with engines stilled,
    Yet this night’s mission shall go unfulfilled –
    Though silent and unseen, we know they’re there.
    Hark! Now! Our lads wreak vengeance in the air!

    The aerial action shakes townsfolk awake.
    Into the streets their bleary ways they make,
    Hoping for glimpse of combat up on high –
    No one thinking to ask the question: ‘Why?’

    Ablaze, the stricken ship lights up the sky.
    No pity for our foes about to die –
    Precious little compassion they’ve shown us,
    And yet, the frightful scene brings awestruck hush.

    First fire, then comes the rain – cleansers of ill,
    Here scavengers of death may feast their fill.
    Just drive that dreadful picture from your mind
    And then, with luck, a sounder sleep you’ll find.

    Ban charity to some far kinder place
    Whilst heroes battle, men of self-same race
    Fighting for cousin kings in different lands,
    Caring not if they’re caught with bloody hands.

    Yet, over all there hangs a Stygian pall
    Since monsters breached our island sanctum wall.
    [And afterwards, what then, when this war ends;
    The waste; the carnage – who shall make amends?]

    • I agree, John, you did a good job in trying to make it sound natural. The rhythm could be improved here and there, but you did good 🙂

      BTW, can you recommend and good presses that will publish a collection of war poetry (not just about war or battles, but its impact on humanity)?

  47. Doris Elaine says:

    Hi Sir.
    Will say, I have experienced the denial of my poems as I write mostly rhyming poems. Seems there is not much of a market for rhyming poems. From my own experience; this I can agree. Love and appreciate that you have pointed this out; however, am believing that any form of poetry can be wrote as a rhyme. What do you think? Would love to know.

    • Hi Doris,
      Sorry for the late reply. All poetry has music, it may or may not show up as end-rhyme. Sometimes the end-rhyme will be just what the poem needs, but not always. Every poem seeks its own form just as water seeks its own level. One reason is that if it’s not what the poem “wants” then attention might be shifted to the rhyme rather than to the content. The form must always serve the poem, not the other way around.

      And though many journals do not want rhyming poetry, many others do! (There are new ones popping up every day it seems, and some of them are pretty good). But I will say that the main reason many rhyming poems are rejected is that they come across sing-songy or forced. Don’t give up on rhyming poetry, it has a place and a respected one when done well.

  48. ventusmax says:

    Rhyming poetry can be really great. I have written 3 origional fully rhyming poems ,everyone who i asked to give the feedback on them said that they are absolutely great.
    Here is a link if you wanna read them. They are here:

  49. L.D.Dockery says:

    My sense of poetry is far reaching. Places where we find it ( songs, children’s literature, etc.)
    does not exclude it from being poetry, particularly when its rhyme, the differentiating factor .
    (A late response to January reply).

  50. Josie Whitehead says:

    I’ve just completed 1,350 poems for both children and adults and 99% of my poems are written with good metre and with rhyming. I regularly get approximately 1000 visitors to my main poetry website and know that the poems go into classrooms worldwide. You can see them by Googling JOSIE’S POEMS – but many have been published by educational publishers too. Rhyme and rhythm in poetry hasn’t gone out of fashion.

  51. Josie Whitehead says:

    No, not congratulations John. I’ve enjoyed doing it and was greatly drawn to doing this by children who I met in my voluntary weekly visits to my local primary school. They told me exactly what sort of poems they liked and week by week and year by year I wrote for them and tested them out on them, which I think you should do if you write for children. I’m just happy that I’m doing something useful and fun for the children of the world, many of whom are having a very hard time in their young lives I can tell you. I’ve met some of them.

  52. Lil Gary says:

    Cool what you wrote about rhyming poems. I haven’t been writing long but have won a lot of awards on . I use one rhyme through the poem. Or poemsic I call them . Anyway was just browsing to see if what I’m doing was popular in poetry. Ty for your time and if you like rhyme heavy poems check me out LilGary76 on allpoetry let me know what you think.

  53. Curt Vevang says:

    Beating the System
    Curt Vevang

    I like to write poems where all the lines rhyme.
    But the MFA’s say rhymes are passé.
    I feel so guilty when I hear them whine.
    So just to fit in, I do it their way.

    I now sadly write, without any rhymes.
    Free verse, I am told, is what is required.
    I should have been born in earlier times,
    when rhyming was in and highly desired.

    While my proper poems are not without praise,
    when I use a rhyme they say it’s taboo.
    Free verse is indeed all the rage these days,
    what in the world is a rhymester to do.

    I have it, by George, this should please the crowd,
    I will write sonnets, where rhymes are allowed.

  54. Samswella says:

    Is rhyme poetry dated or dead or not in line with contemporary art, life or whatever? What poet doesn’t learn from Marvell or Frost or Wallace Stevens. Perhaps some teacher might be courageous enough to tell their students that mere Shakespeare was simply a victim of his time.
    Good art will always stand on its own legs.
    Beware anyone who without self scepticism tells you what works and doesn’t in art, esp. modern art. Trends are tokens from a helium god; art is sand in a desert of sod. Opinions, opinions, happy floating away. I think I’ll find my own way.

    Rhyming naturally, slant or whole or half or at end or middle or whatever/whenever, is no more “forced” than not rhyming. Do you suppose modern non-rhyming poet’s words magically fall out of the sky, their structure, too. Everything a good artist does is forced, deliberate. Syntax and diction are not Christmas cookies that taste great by accident.
    Anyway, critics and experts are NO different that non critics and non experts in that they’re simply people with opinions, and if they’re wise will let good art stand upon its own merit despite their own bias, especially despite their own bias.

    Natural flow is natural flow. Good flow is good flow. Anyone who convinces you any material on earth can’t flow like water in rhyming rhythm upon poetic magic is probably selling dams or bottled water by the lakefull; these same people will then be telling you Lake Isle of Innisfree is referring to the water now swashing around in your belly BECAUSE it came from their bottles. That’s not even funny. It’s true…like glue.

    Good rhyming poetry is so much harder than non rhyming verse. NOT better or worse by any means. Just different. And harder!!!

    We introduce children to poetry through rhyming. To think this is dumbed down for a child’s understanding is a MASSIVE misu understanding at every level of education by educators at every level. No thing is coincidental.

    Belief in yourself will show belief in your words, and with enough effort you will arrive at art: your art, which should be good enough for you, and that is the biggest golden ticket in all the lands!

    • I agree, Samswella. (I have no idea why I am just now seeing this! But apparently, there are a number of comments that I missed because the way WordPress has been notifying me has been inconsistent.)

  55. David McManus says:

    I think that it is just a crime,
    To write a poem that doesn’t rhyme.

    As any cultured person knows,
    If poems do not rhyme, they’re prose!

    Of course, we could just BOTH be right,

    It’s just a poem – please, let’s not fight!

  56. Sam Latture says:

    Who’s to say that poems not rhyme
    Be the clamor of modern time
    When lazy brains cannot compose
    A simple poem beyond their nose!

    It seems that poets both short and tall
    Left words of beauty at the poet’s wall
    To wallow in such rambling verse
    And forever be remembered the poet’s curse

    Copyright 2021 SirLatour®️ Sam Latture
    All Rights Reserved

    • Alan R says:

      What an interesting, funny chat,
      One likes this, the other that,
      Gone on for years, 2013 to 21′
      Write for fun,
      We can’t be wrong…..
      Lose the ego, Let it go,
      C’mon my brothers, be nice,
      Support each other,


      • vevangcb says:

        Beating the SystemCurt Vevang I like to write poems where all the lines rhyme. But the MFA’s say rhymes are passé.I feel so guilty when I hear them whine.So just to fit in, I do it their way. I now sadly write, without any rhymes.Free verse, I am told, is what is required.I should have been born in earlier times,when rhyming was in and highly desired.  While my proper poems are not without praise, when I use a rhyme they say it’s taboo. Free verse is indeed all the rage these days,what in the world is a rhymester to do. I have it, by George, this should please the crowd,I will write sonnets, where rhymes are allowed.

      • I feel you, Alan. It is taboo, I think because so many have abused the form with forced rhyme, inverted grammar, and sing-songy rhythms. Not all MFA programs eschew traditional forms, but I agree that many of them might be anal. I very much like to write rhyming poetry (for publication) but I suspend the metical requirement (but still must be rhythmic) and don’t use many end-stopped lines so that to the ear, it sounds like internal rhyme, but on the page, it has that look of a rhyming poem. I also favor using slant or half rhymes. Good luck and don’t give up writing what you love, just get better at it, and editors will appreciate it. One of the best compliments I ever got was when a reviewer said “I didn’t know that was a rhyming poem!” When it’s natural-sounding, you will find your free-verse-editors might jump on it too. I sure would! (I edit poetry for four venues.)

  57. Louise says:

    I love this poem. I google searched for why rhyming poetry seemed a thing of the past as I feel a lot of what I have been reading is quite ethereal and I struggle to work out what is the topic. Not all of it, but certainly some of it. I have been writing poetry since I was very young, most of which I have not kept. But I like to rhyme. Most people who hear it like it that’s good! My style is in your face and can be a bit brutal. But I find writing poetry cathartic and the best way for me to express myself. I don’t find rhyming forceful,I find for me it just comes naturally when I am writing . I do agree that a lot does sound forced though. Thought I would just drop a comment. Have a great day

  58. Alan R says:

    Thank You

  59. Suzie H says:

    I’m late to the party! Many thanks for such an insightful post! I have a question. If one writes in a formal structure (regardless of the quality of the poem), do 95% of journals reject it out of hand simply because it is not free verse? If so, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. I would say the same if all journals only wanted formal structures. Without diversity, art cannot breathe. It would be like saying “We’ve decided only country music is real music, therefore no other genre is acceptable”. Doesn’t this sound crazy….. P.S. I’m really hoping I have the wrong end of the stick. Its a very discouraging thought!

  60. Avra-Sha Faohla says:


    I have two questions for you:

    1) You mentioned a few times in this thread that a tool of free verse that rhyming verse lacks is the ability to use effective line breaks. Do you have an example or two of a free verse poem that you think uses very effective line breaks, and why you think they’re effective?
    2) I am curious, if someone were to write a poem using a strict metrical foot but without a given length per line–i.e, it’s not iambic pentameter, but for example everything could be written in iambs nonetheless, with line breaks wherever the writer chooses–what would you call that? It’s not blank verse, but if the writer is particular to use iambs throughout would you still call that free verse? Is there a term for such a piece of poetry that I’m unaware of?

    • Avra-Sha Faohla: You mentioned a few times in this thread that a tool of free verse that rhyming verse lacks is the ability to use effective line breaks. Do you have an example or two of a free verse poem that you think uses very effective line breaks, and why you think they’re effective?

      JCM: A line break is
      -Breath stop (could be a reason for the line break; e.g., in Russian, the break is determined by the breath stop, as well as by syntax, which drives the rhythm)

      -Form of punctuation (could be a slight pause, less than a comma; when in doubt, let the syntax guide the reading lest there could be a compromise of rhythm)

      -Tension creating device, which is its real power in English-based poetry. Not every line break can do this

      It is the latter what I am called an effective line break (the one that produces tension). It does it like this: In enjambed lines (lines with no conventional end-stopped punctuation), there is an expectation on what follows, but when there’s a turn in the line (an unexpected word(s) and/or there’s a double meaning to the words that follow, then that’s tension. In other words, what I call an effective line break is when it delivers the unexpected, along with an enhanced or new meaning. That surprise is what generates tension.

      There are good line breaks that do not create tension, but as far as I can think, they are all based on the structure of the poem. For example, they might

      -preserve internal structure, say all lines might be decasyllabic
      -concrete poems, where shape fits the contents (though tension is still possible in some shape poems)
      -visualization of some poems, where the break has a visual complement, like an extended line to show the ledge or edge, or irregular lines to show the water’s ebb (See “Castaway”)

      See “Dog Fight” and “Castaway” (again) for effective line breaks. I will try to attach a pdf with those poems (and others) that I recently lectured on for Poetry Society Tennessee (Tension Devices in Poetry), which goes way beyond the line break in creating tension.

      Avra-Sha Faohla: I am curious, if someone were to write a poem using a strict metrical foot but without a given length per line; i.e, it’s not iambic pentameter, but for example everything could be written in iambs nonetheless, with line breaks wherever the writer chooses–what would you call that? It’s not blank verse, but if the writer is particular to use iambs throughout would you still call that free verse? Is there a term for such a piece of poetry that I’m unaware of?

      JCM: I’m not sure if there is a name for a lineated poem with the same foot but with different lengths. I know the ballad approaches that but is much more restrictive. Some call the ballad verse a couple of iambic heptameter lines when in actuality it will appear on paper as a quatrain of alternating iambic tetramer and iambic trimester lines with the 2nd and 4th, I think, typically rhyming. And perhaps Homer’s work which is non-rhyming, but definitely metrical (iambic hexameter and iambic pentameter, and some variations of others too, I think). But because the natural breath length in English speech is about 10 syllables and predominantly iambic, I think it might still be safe to call it blank verse where lineated regularly or not, or in a prose poem form.

      I wouldn’t call anything “free verse” if it has either a “rigid”* rhyme scheme and/or a distinctive meter throughout. I have used small sections of my poem in deliberate metrical construction to emphasize the motion. (In much the same way that Longfellow used anapestic tetrameter to simulate the rhythm of a galloping horse in “Paul Revere’s Ride”, I had used the same in one verse to capture the pulsing of rocket engines in a space exploration poem. However, I revert to good rhythms without metrical construction for the rest of my work.

      *I will relax the rigidity by using enjambed lines with slant rhymes. To the ear, the rhyming will sound internal and natural and not sing-songy or forced. I’ll subvert the sonnet in this way. See my American Sonnet, “The Struggle for Humanness.”

      [I will see what to do about uploading the file of examples.]

      • At the top of the thread, I created a link to the PDF with examples.

      • Poetry written with metre is so important to children. Phonological awareness (ie the awareness of sound through words) helps them so much with learning to read and write. They have to be able to do this when reading a word. So well-metered poetry helps children enormously with their English as well as being fun, but more so than this may I ask a question? What would happen to music if, instead of arranging it with rhythm, ie written in bars, it was decided that just notes on paper, written in any way that the writer could just place them on the page, would pass as ‘music’? This is exactly the same. I have seen so much ‘poetry’ written and just broken into lines at any point without any reason, and often without capitalization or punctuation, that you may wonder whether this just passes as ‘poetry’ because the writer is illiterate and cannot say why they should have a punctuation mark here or there. I taught secretarial work for many many years and in the Royal Society of Arts examination, stage III (higher than A levels) – I had to teach the correct layout of poetry. We had to teach our students to begin each line with a capital letter, irrespective of whether it was a new sentence or not. We also had to start any rhyming line under the third letter from the line above, and if students didn’t adhere to this layout, then I’m afraid they failed their examination. If they didn’t put in their full stops, commas, capitalization etc etc – as with any other way of writing in a meaningful way – then they would lose marks for each time they did this, and with only 2% of error allowed in the whole examination, they would very soon fail a very important examination. In offices, perfection in typed work is essential. So, when I type my poems (and I never write them by hand first), I cannot but adhere to these rules which I taught for many years. To me it is the mark of well laid-out and clear to read poetry.

  61. Pingback: Is Rhyming in Poetry Now a Bad Thing? - Letter Review

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