Rhyme Time

I was recently working on a terza rima for one of the exercises when I came to a realization: rhyming is really damn hard. I am terrible at trying to find rhymes for words without making it sound like Dr. Seuss decided to come for a visit. I thought picking a form that involves rhyme would challenge me, and I was right. Most of my anger was directed towards the word “off” which, though it doesn’t seem it, is incredibly hard to rhyme with other words. So, naturally, I turned to the internet for help. This is what it gave me, and I didn’t like any of the words. Eventually, I ended up scrapping the idea of using the word “off” entirely and I gravitated towards another line instead. I’m sort of upset that I didn’t use the line that I wanted, and I can’t help but feeling guilty for giving up on that word. It’s probably just me being bad at rhymes, but can anyone give me any pointers on how to rhyme without either making it sound like a Sesame Street song or a late eighties Will Smith rap? Not that anything is wrong with Will Smith songs, it’s just not what I’m looking for in poetry.

4 Replies to “Rhyme Time”

  1. It might not be much help in a form that calls for end stop rhymes (or maybe could, if you want to mess with the form), but a good way to rhyme that is much easier to avoid the sing-songy quality with is internal rhyme.

    Its appropriate that we’re sort of on the subject of rap because I really can’t think of a better example of amazing internal rhyme’s than the raps of Nas, particularly off Illmatic.


    One of my favorite lines from this song, and really all of Rap, provides a great example:

    But yo, guess who got shot in the dome piece? It was Jerome’s niece on her way home from Jone’s beach

    1. Plus little Rob is sellin’ drugs on the dime,
      hangin’ out with young thugs that all carry nines.

      Maybe rhyme has something to do with the performance aspect of poetry…and this could be why it’s used so often in hip hop and rap.

  2. I don’t know if this will help you, because I too think that rhyming is really difficult to pull off so that it doesn’t sound like a nursery rhyme/Dr. Seuss story, but try use internal rhymes. I agreed with everyone in workshop today that your poems have really great sounds within them, and you can try and push this strength of your poetry by using internal rhyme, whether that be a true rhyme, eye, or slant is up to you.
    **Also mad props for that Will Smith video–that gave me a really great laugh 🙂

  3. I like this post! This is probably not helpful but I feel like the more someone reads rhyme style poetry-that isn’t lame or made for children, the easier it gets. Using bizarre words that rhyme some other word can be fun sometimes too because it’s harder to make something like “whooping cough” fit, but maybe more rewarding 🙂

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