BEYOND PING-PONG-PANTOOKAS

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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19 thoughts on “BEYOND PING-PONG-PANTOOKAS

  1. chevvy8 July 23, 2017 / 7:12 am

    Nice one Joan. I especially like how your rhyme jolts the poem into a rhythm in the last verse – certainly a good case for the role of rhyme. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 23, 2017 / 7:44 am

      Thanks, Chevvy. I like free verse, too, but rhyming forms present a higher level of difficulty, so it’s more satisfying when you nail them. A bit addictive, perhaps. Through the thesaurus and http://www.rhymezone.com, I learn new words every week. I wish the publication playing field was more even, but hey, that’s why we’ve got WordPress, right? Happy Sunday! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • chevvy8 July 23, 2017 / 11:51 am

        Yes, we can share our work more creatively. I’ve also found rhymezone very useful. Posting from the airport, catch you later.😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu July 23, 2017 / 10:35 am

    Seems to me there was a time when free verse was considered inferior. But I agree with you. Making poems rhyme is more challenging, and therefore a higher form of verse. Triple-syllabic rhyming, as you’ve achieved in the last stanza of this poem, seems to be the most challenging of all. I enjoyed it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 23, 2017 / 1:18 pm

      Thanks, Tippy, glad you liked it. I mean no disrespect to free verse or its writers (myself included) but rhyme, as Emeril Lagasse would say, “kicks it up a notch.” Triple-syllabic rhyming is one of those feats that benefits greatly from a tool like http://www.rhymezone.com. Use of 2, 3, and even 4-syllable rhyming words raises the bar higher yet, but makes a piece flow more naturally; they are also a way to spring an amped-up surprise on an unsuspecting reader. Check out my poem Straight Jacket (https://justjoan42.wordpress.com/2015/12/27/new-words-for-a-new-year/) for a combination of triple and quadruple-syllabic rhymes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. pranabaxom July 23, 2017 / 11:36 am

    Give rhyme a chance
    Let the verses dance
    Painful this word crunch
    As breakfast do I munch.

    Well done Joan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan July 23, 2017 / 1:21 pm

      Thanks, PB. Love your little rhyming ditty! Did I mention I really enjoy “response” poems? Anything I write that inspires others to write is a success in my book. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ursula Kender July 23, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    Food for thought! You have reached a special place in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 23, 2017 / 3:18 pm

      Thanks, Marissa! It is a bit of a rap, huh? Your pieces are perfect examples of creative rhyming, for instance, I didn’t know there were so many things that rhymed with “bar mitzvah.” Your lexiconic domain is more insane than most. 🙂

      Like

  5. K E Garland July 23, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Ha! It never ceases to amaze me how we continue to create a hierarchy when it comes to art. Rhyme away, or don’t lol You’ve done a great job here 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 24, 2017 / 8:11 pm

      Thanks, KE. I guess we artists do get a little protective of our corner of the creative world sometimes. Bottom line, I like rhyming and will continue to do it whether it is in vogue or not. I don’t write for editors, I write for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. L. T. Garvin, Author July 25, 2017 / 4:07 pm

    Great rhyming verse, Joan! I’ve always liked rhyme and don’t understand why the lit mags don’t. I write usually in rhyme for my children’s books. That doesn’t seem to go over big either, ha ha. Humor is great also when it rhymes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan July 25, 2017 / 6:11 pm

      Thanks, Lana. I’ve been working on parodies this week for my writing group, and all but one are based on rhyming classics (Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, The Raven, The Road Not Taken, The Waking). Creating poetry while following in the footsteps of the Greats is both a challenge and an honor; it helps me understand why their words have stood the test of time. Everything is transient and ethereal now… here today, gone as soon as it moves down a few frames in the FaceBook feed. Keep writing whatever you like to write. Eventually the literary wind will change and catch in your sails; it’s the nature of the beast. 🙂

      Like

      • L. T. Garvin, Author July 26, 2017 / 12:43 pm

        Ah, that’s some really good poetry right there. I like how you say it is both a challenge and an honor to follow. I also like the comparison of life to frames in a FaceBook feed. That’s exactly it. I shall keep on keeping on. Thank you for your beautiful and encouraging words, Joan!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan August 5, 2017 / 6:00 pm

      227, I am delighted by all your comments! Too much to address here, so I have sent a letter to your gmail. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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