Image Credits: Shelby Township Library
Let’s face it, when writing poetry we have all been faced with the temptation to include rhyming words. They’re fun, they’re easy, and sometimes we still hold on to the belief that in order to write good poetry we must stick to rhyming. I myself used to be guilty of abusing end-rhyme in all of my poems. However, the hard fact is that unless you’re Dr. Seuss or another famous children’s poet, rhyming is going to do much for your poetry except hold you back. Here’s why:
1. It’s annoying. This is the number one reason to avoid adding rhymes in your poetry. When you’re a kid it’s cute and fun, but as an adult? Not so much. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve read poems full of rhymes for my college literary magazine, Avant, only for a majority of the staff to reject them simply because they thought the rhyming was over-done, redundant, and simply annoying.
2. It takes away from the poem’s meaning. Poetry is meant to be DEEP. What makes poetry so deep? If it’s done right it should be full of concrete vivid images created with the use of metaphors, similes, and strong descriptions that posses the ability to move the speaker. You don’t need rhymes to do that. Rhyming will only distract the reader from the beauty of the images.
3. It’s childish. If you’re a children’s poet like Dr. Seuss then that’s fine, but most of us aren’t striving for that. If your poem reads like a fill-in-the-blanks game it will be quickly forgotten and void of all meaning within about five minutes.
4. It’s lazy. Let’s face it, when you take the time to write a good poem it doesn’t come easily. Perhaps you spent hours huddled over the same poem. Some of us may have even spent days, weeks, or months choosing the perfect words for our poems. What is it that draws us to rhyming? It seems like an easy way out. I just need ____ word to match ____ word. It’s like a form of ad-libbing, which once again is great if you’re a child, but if you want to call yourself a professional poet, no so much. You should strive to write poetry that you’re proud of, not poetry that is quick, effortless, and easy. Chances are if you take the easy way out with your writing, your readers will know.
5. You’re better than rhymes. No really, you are. Think of it this way, remember back in elementary school when you were first learning how to write poetry? EVERYONE wrote in rhymes. Why did they do it? Because it was all they knew at the time. Now as a professional writer/poet you are far too advance to be stuck in those elementary ways. You have feelings! You have emotions! Better yet, you have great writing skills to go out and capture those emotions in the most effective ways possible! Take advantage of those writing skills and ditch the rhymes. Seriously, just do it…forever.