I am a poetess. I desire to share my thoughts freely. Sometimes my poetry rhymes, very often it does not. Today, while speaking with another writer, the topic of rhyming poetry came up during the conversation. Does rhyming poetry add something desirable to the poem if it’s done well? Is trying to rhyme a poem actually restrictive? Inquiring minds want to know the answers to these questions.
Personally, I have read many good poems that have rhyming line endings. I have written many poems, although I cannot say they have all been good, with rhyming line endings. Occasionally, one of my poems will take on an almost musical richness because of the rhyming. My problem with rhyming poetry is the feeling that it is often forced rhyming that gives it an elementary school sound.
During a Creative Writing course in high school I was taught that a poem without rhyme was not really a poem; it was prose. Later, in college, I was taught that just about any words put together that leave the reader with the impression of having just experienced spontaneous thoughts and gratifying insight could be viewed as poetry.
Many songwriters, (Tim McGraw is one that comes immediately to mind), use rhyming lyrics that flow very smoothly with the music. Performers of hip-hop can create rhymes from words most of us would never consider using in poetry. I’ve tried to emulate that form of rhyming just to see if I can pull it off and let me assure you, the written version of that form of rhyming poetry just does not work for me. Reading it instead of listening to it makes all the difference.
Free verse is much easier for most poets to use and allows them to express what they truly want to say. Trying to fine tune a poem to force it to rhyme usually gives it a nonsensical feeling and in all honesty, the English language has few true rhyming words and even fewer that have not been used so often they have become fatigued.
This is just my thoughts on the subject. Most writers, I’m sure, will start to write a poem and only then know if rhyming is going to work for the piece or not. If you need to be more disciplined or orderly with your poetry then rhyming may give you that old school appearance and flow. As far as I know there are no rhyme cops that will take you away for using rhyming line ends or for not using them if free verse helps you unleash your thoughts more profusely.
I am just a poetess,
Sharing words as I go,
I like to believe,
I’ll find some answers.
Time is a precious gift,
Another is a friend,
Harmony and humility,
Captured with my pen.
© Dianna Doles-Petry
June 28, 2010