Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Some reflections on rhymes and rhyming.

Of course in the back of the mind Frost’s statement that poetry without rhymes is like playing tennis without the net never leaves.

But also this risk of being just a sing-song man slave of this clapping, kissing sounds…

But it happens they come so naturally most of the time so you let them come, it’s even a matter of “democracy”! Every “voice” has a right.

But you can’t deny you often look for them sacrificing sobriety, substituting the pure strength of expression, the stark naked power of a metaphor on target with their lure for an easy success with words and lines that seem to adhere and harmonize with each other in a blink of an eye.

But when they happen and nothing else, you feel, is betrayed, and on the contrary the meaning is re enforced by the kiss of their sounds they are simply triumphant.

Anyway, how more extraordinary a poem is whose sound and meaning reside only inside the words and don't need any kissing of lines with lines. And in which the lines keep a balance and harmony in between them for some unfathomable reason.

Or how great if rhymes and rhyming occur only from time to time in a poem, with a splendid randomness as if they had escaped inadvertently with a marvellous unbearable lightness of being.


Dave King said...

The eternal dilemma. My personal preference (for my own writing) is to avoid the formal pattern of rhymes, but to 'encourage' irregular rhymes, particularly when they call attention to a word or image I wish to highlight. I do find the strict rhyme (and rhythm that often accompanies it) apt to become tedious - except when handled by a master, of course.

Jim Murdoch said...

I think Dave King hits the nail on the head when he talks about strict rhyme needing a master to handle it. It’s ironic but the first poetic technique that most of us tackle is rhyme, full masculine rhymes—the fat cat sat on the mat—and Dave is right, they can become tedious. But rhymes are like symmetries; they come in a variety of forms. I think alliteration is used much more these days, perhaps not whole lines—Peter Piper picked a peck of picked peppers—but two or three words and across lines. The same goes for assonance, consonance, semi- and imperfect rhymes. A poetry is about sound, musicality, but we’ve moved on from the strict musical forms which poetry often accompanied. The thing about writing rhyming verse—I’m talking her about traditional metrical forms— is that it stretches us. On the surface one might think the opposite—how many words can rhyme with ‘didgeridoo’?—but that’s also when we start to think out of the box and start to see associations that perhaps weren’t so obvious at first.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Many thanks Dave and Jim.

Yes, Dave avoiding "formal patterns" is what I feel too.

And Jim, thinking "out of the box", how fundamental.