When we think of poetry, we think of rhyme. Of course, poems need not rhyme, but it’s a connection our brains have been programmed to make, starting with Jack and Jill, Patty Cakes, and The Wheels on the Bus, and continuing through the classic poetry we read in high school. That said, it seems strange that today’s editors rebuff rhymed poetry, regarding it as juvenile or unsophisticated; some magazines explicitly request that rhymed verse not be submitted. Because serious poets shouldn’t sound like Dr. Seuss or the inside of a Hallmark card, right? But skillfully executed rhyme shows mastery of both the art and craft of poetry. Think Shakespeare, whose sonnets would not be nearly as compelling if they did not rhyme. (Nor would they be sonnets, for that matter.) Free verse may allow you to say precisely what you wish, but using words already in your lexicon to express yourself doesn’t force you to stretch, learn, grow. Throw in a rhyme scheme, however, and a poem becomes a puzzle, one that compels the writer to seek out new words or reconstruct his lines. All I am saying, is give rhyme a chance.
RHYME: JAM IT OR SLAM IT?
It seems, at this time, that a new paradigm
regards free verse as the height of sublime
a and b past their prime, worth nary a dime
Editors snub, wash their hands of the crime
Pained, drained by a scheme’s ball-n-chain
how well can a writer’s voice be retained?
He’ll soon ascertain if he retrains his brain,
he could gain one insane lexiconic domain
Rhyme may prove hairier, thornier, scarier
but get off your derriere, break the barrier
Consult a thesaurus, your synonym carrier
harvest fresh words, the more the merrier
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