Somnambules : Forum : to rhyme or not to rhyme?


to rhyme or not to rhyme?

10 Years Ago


Poets usually write before thinking, that is to say, they think intensely on most everything, so that their brains are ripe for inspiration to pluck. Anyhow, that being said, I like writing "theories" and was wondering if you consciously decide to use rhyme beforehand, and if so, how do you choose which poems to rhyme or not rhyme?  Any particular school of thoughts on the function of a rhyme, or do you just arbitrarily do so from piece to piece?

The Classical FUNCTION OF RHYME is to make the poem more pleasurable, and literally, more memorable (In Ancient Greece they used to recite The Odyssey etc and it was far easier to memorize that way).  In English, rhyme was imported from France when they ruled England, and rhyme was seen as "high culture" since the French aristocracy practiced it. However, the French need it more than the Anglos because French is not stress based, so the only real way to distinguish their poetry from prose was rhyme, while English with it's stresses can still be blank verse (that is why Rimbaud and company were truly avant garde in France).  Milton actually thought that rhyme was childish, barbaric, and pagan practice that needed to be stopped. Anyhow, most great poets had/have opinions on the matter; it's one of those pesky questions about language which no one else really ponders, but which we agonize over. That's why we get paid the big bucks! lol

So, any arguments for or against rhyme, mon freres?


Re: to rhyme or not to rhyme?

10 Years Ago


Its like you said: most poets don't think about what they write.  Sure, there are times when you set out to construct something, in which case you can chose rhyme scheme, syllabic rhythm, whatever you like.  But we don't think in Rhyme.  We don't feel in rhyme.  In modern poetry, the thoughts and emotions that poems elicit are by far more important than structure.

That said though?  I know why I don't write in rhyme that often.  Its too hard!  Anything beyond an ABAB rhyme scheme requires an amazing amount of skill to do right.  And by do right, I mean not to fall to those 'barbaric' or 'childish'.  I only know a few writers that I enjoy from the 20th century that use or used any form of rhyme that I've enjoyed or felt intellectually nourished by.  They have my utmost respect.  (Cuz i can't do that s**t)

Re: to rhyme or not to rhyme?

10 Years Ago


Interesting! Well, for one, I tend to stay away from Rhyming, as for the answer to that, I don't have one lol I am not sure why! Although, I never set out to ryhme, guess there's always one or two that creep in, ocassionally.

But if the works grown organically, then, an internal ryhme that happens, can be a happy accident - therefore, its all good lol

To answer - I personally, don't set out with ryhme but see nothing wrong in it, some poets can pull it off nicely though:)

Poppy

Re: to rhyme or not to rhyme?

10 Years Ago


I often feel like some writers on this site don't know that poetry doesn't have to rhyme. And I often find that when I try to rhyme, I don't have much to say, or it takes away from what I am in fact trying to say. Unless, of course, I'm writing song lyrics, but I approach that differently (with music). So for me, it's not that I stay away from rhyming, it's just not always how my poetic gears turn. I have a rhyme or two in just about everything I write, but there is not much conscious effort in placing rhymes. Sometime they just happen.

That is me, of course. Some people, such as Hip-Hop artists for example, really do think in rhyme, and can only write in rhyme. I don't generally like mainstream hip-hop. I enjoy artists like Sage Francis, B. Dolan, and (the mainstream exception) Mike Shinoda, who write about relatable things, and tell amazing stories with their words, and actually bring more power to them by rhyming, and aren't just rhyming because it's "gangsta" and "gangsta" makes the charts. This may or may not be a digression, but I feel it's relevant to my opinion of rhyming in general.

All in all, I'm not against rhyming. There are certain styles of poetry that call for it. And I appreciate good rhymes. However, as I stated, I wish more writers would deviate from it when it's called for because sometimes, it's just not working.

Re: to rhyme or not to rhyme?

10 Years Ago


Originally posted by Alessander
Poets usually write before thinking, that is to say, they think intensely on most everything, so that their brains are ripe for inspiration to pluck. Anyhow, that being said, I like writing "theories" and was wondering if you consciously decide to use rhyme beforehand, and if so, how do you choose which poems to rhyme or not rhyme?  Any particular school of thoughts on the function of a rhyme, or do you just arbitrarily do so from piece to piece?

The Classical FUNCTION OF RHYME is to make the poem more pleasurable, and literally, more memorable (In Ancient Greece they used to recite The Odyssey etc and it was far easier to memorize that way).  In English, rhyme was imported from France when they ruled England, and rhyme was seen as "high culture" since the French aristocracy practiced it. However, the French need it more than the Anglos because French is not stress based, so the only real way to distinguish their poetry from prose was rhyme, while English with it's stresses can still be blank verse (that is why Rimbaud and company were truly avant garde in France).  Milton actually thought that rhyme was childish, barbaric, and pagan practice that needed to be stopped. Anyhow, most great poets had/have opinions on the matter; it's one of those pesky questions about language which no one else really ponders, but which we agonize over. That's why we get paid the big bucks! lol

So, any arguments for or against rhyme, mon freres?


Ha, I just came across this little nugget again by Pound on the subject: "One 'discards rhyme' not because one is incapable of rhyming neat, fleet, sweet, meet, treat, eat, but because there are certain emotions or energies which are not to be represented by the over-familiar devices or patterns." Of course, it is up to the writer to decide exactly what "emotions or energies" are to be writ in non-traditional, unconventional ways...usually this is done on a subconscious level right from the first start. Just thought I'd share this with the group:)