Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Liberation of Rhyme

Dear Dead Beat,

Has rhyme gone out of fashion or have I?

Consummate Rhymester

Dear Consummate Rhymester,

It's not so much that rhyme has gone out of fashion but that perhaps for a while it got a tad overused. Remember T.S. Eliot in his Reflections on "Vers Libre" (and this was in 1917 note!):

"And this liberation from rhyme might be as well a liberation of rhyme. Freed from its exacting task of supporting lame verse, it could be applied with greater effect where it is most needed."

Hear, hear!

All poetry depends on rhyme. Sounds that connect. Sounds that drive the reader forward for the partner to the rhyme and connect the reader back to the original partnered sound. These rhymes can be direct or indirect. They can come at the end of the line or somewhere in between. The point is to use rhyme for its greatest effect - not for the sake of rhyme itself.

It is but one component in the poetic form, don't abuse it, don't overly depend on it because the poem depends on it more.

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