Not along ago I joined LinkedIn , one of the popular social media sites to help business people network and promote themselves. I was happily surprised to find LinkedIn has many groups created for those who write poems , and enjoy reading poetry. One question posed for discussion by a member of the group Poetry Editor intrigued me, Is rhyming poetry passe ?
Responses have been many and varied. One member in favor of rhyming commented, I don’t think rhyming poetry is passé at all. There are publications who like what they call ‘crafted’ poetry which includes all sorts of rhyming traditional poetry , plus free verse and post modern styles. The Cortland Review (www.cortlandreview.com) is a publication where rhymes are okay.
Mary Saylor, creator of Poetry Editor offers her opinion, For many years, yes, rhyming poems were passé, but poets are not locked into schools of poetic thought as we once were. We’re free to write free verse and free to not ! However, editors of poetry journals, e-zines, and books of poems tire of the poem that bounces to a steady beat and pings with end-line rhyme. By contrast, the poet who studies, practices, and begins to write well in such rhyming forms as a sonnet or villanelle will eventually find a market.
While I agree with Ms. Saylor, I also agree with the fellow who posted, “ And rhyme can be fun”.
Think of the famous rhyming poem , Cloony the Clown by Shel Silverstein
I’ll tell you the story of Cloony the Clown
Who worked in a circus that came through town.
His shoes were too big and his hat was too small,
But he just wasn’t , just wasn’t funny at all.
He had a trombone to play loud silly tunes,
He had a green dog and a thousand tunes,
He was floppy and sloppy and skinny and tall,
But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.
In Chapter III of The Complete Rhyming Dictionary edited by Clement Wood, Rhyme is the identity in sound of an accentuated vowel in a word, usually the last one accented, and of all consonantal and vowel sound following it; with a difference in the sound of the consonant immediately preceding the accented vowel.
According to the Rhyming Dictionary “Rhyme deals exclusively with sounds and has nothing to do with spelling. They rhyming dictionary terminating this book is strictly phonetic and therefore logical and useful.
Correct rhymes my be spelled alike:
Ate, plate, mate, abate, syncopate.
They may be spelled differently:
Ate, bait, straight, freight.
I asked my mother, a long time lover of poetry about the rhyming question. She thought for a moment, then said, “When young people first learn about poetry, and become interested in writing poetry, it is from their early introduction to rhyming poetry”. Mom may be onto to something. I thought of one of the first poems she read to me when still a toddler at her knee ; Eugene Field’s Little Boy Blue
Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow,
The cow's in the corn;
Where is that boy
Who looks after the sheep?
Under the haystack
Will you wake him?
Oh no, not I,
For if I do
He will surely cry.
There was something pleasing about the repetition of identical or similar concluding syllables in different words to me then, as there is now. Rhyme is predominately a function of sound rather than spelling - a sound that just makes one want to smile.
*** Rhyming poem sites: http://www.rhymezone.com/
Books by Shel Silverstein http://www.shelsilverstein.com/html/books.asp