Return to Rhyme

Poems that we write in childhood follow the most boiled-down ideas of the traditional hallmarks of poetry, going something like, “I got out of bed / And bumped my head / And now it’s red.” Rhyme is something that we see as the shining star of poetry, especially end-rhyme. We grow older and are let in on new knowledge: poetry doesn’t have to rhyme. In fact, it begins to seem, rhyme is chintzy. When I reached college, I stopped rhyming all together–it seemed to sound like a cheap gimmick, like a poem trying to dress itself up as A Poem, I thought. But in Advanced Poetry this past Monday, a new idea was brought to my attention: that writers use rhyme to generate a word that we wouldn’t normally use. I was very much intrigued by this idea. I often find the same language cropping up in my writing, acting as satellites to again more of the same, and try as I might in revision, I seem to always get swept up in the same vortex of words. In the coming weeks, I am interested in experimenting more with rhyme: slant rhyme, perfect rhyme, internal rhyme… bring it on! While I don’t believe that rhyme matches all content–and as an extension, form–it certainly seems to be a useful tool to keep in our belts.

One Reply to “Return to Rhyme”

  1. Agreed, Gabi! I think that rhyme, along with meter, is still an important tool. Sometimes it may seem difficult to use it without making it sound “corny” (I struggle with this all the time) but I suppose that the challenge makes it all the more exciting.

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