Friday, January 18, 2013

To rhyme or not to rhyme, that is the question

Call me a Luddite but to me poetry has always been form and rhyme - real poetry. I can appreciate what is called 'free-verse' but to my mind it is simply creative prose.

Poetry by its very nature is song-like and the earliest bards not only spoke their poetry they sang it. The era of free-verse has been interesting as an exercise but I don't happen to believe it has added anything at all to the rich trove of poetic expression. The greatest poetry we have ever known has form and some rhyming capacity and therein lies the template.

Because poetry, like music, has a rhythm, a metre, a 'beat' there will be, as with music, always a basic and traditional form and the future may bring variations on the theme but nothing substantially different. There is a structure and order to mathematics and music, and the two are closely linked, and I believe poetry is the same.

There is a reason why in ancient times poets or bards were not simply honoured, but revered. They were seen as links to a sacred expression at work in the material world. Beyond everything else I still believe that is the true foundation of the poetic template.


  1. So glad you wrote this Roslyn. I have been struggling with the notion that rhyme was being seen as a lesser form of the craft. A bit disconcerting when this is one's natural writing style. I think there is a school of thought that this style is a little unsophisticated and 'childish'. Being authentic is the key I guess. Best wishes. Jeff.

    1. Yes, I can understand your feelings Jeff because I do think there is a patronising (and ignorant) view of rhyme and rhythm, despite the fact that most if not all of our truly greatest poetry has one, if not both.
      I did ponder it a long time ago and thought no, my way is my way and if this is how my poetry flows then so be it and expressing myself creatively matters more than what others think.
      In truth, those like us who are not generally recognised, or published, or accountable to a reading public or a poetry fraternity have greater freedom to write exactly as we wish.
      I decided a long time ago with my fiction writing that the only thing I had to offer was my own unique way of writing and that it would either meet a market or it would not. It hasn't, but my original reasoning some 20 years ago still holds and that is, I find satisfaction in writing and living my own truth. I could be trying to write other and still be unpublished and unknown and unfulfilled as well!