To Rhyme...or not to Rhyme

Excerpt from 'Sonnet 18'  by William Shakespeare
Excerpt from 'Sonnet 18' by William Shakespeare | Source

.


The poet's voice in all of us ...


I should begin by saying that if people hate poetry, it's usually because they were poorly taught. I certainly was. Some teachers love literature, but have an aversion to poetry and dislike teaching it altogether. I shall never forget my high school days and the poetry phase of our sophomore literature class. Our teacher -- who I will refer to here as Ms. Grim (pardon the poetic license) -- began teaching poetry by assigning John Keats’ Ode to A Nightingale that was to be discussed in class the following day.

To our unhappy surprise, rather than discussing the poem or the poet, Ms. Grim chose instead to ambush us with those four dreaded words: “What does it mean?” When that question failed to inspire the required response, she followed up with, “No, class, what was Keats thinking when he wrote this poem?”

Her intimidating approach resulted in the 'deer in the headlights' look from a number of my classmates. Others tried to quietly slither under their desks to hide from her view. Clearly annoyed, Ms. Grim began to parse the poem out in sections on the chalkboard for us to analyze as one would dissect a frog in biology class. She never strayed far from her teaching guide, referring to it often. In retrospect, I don't doubt that the great John Keats would have been either duly mortified or highly amused.

The more interesting days occurred when Ms. Grim required us to write poetry. We could always count on her red flair to fill the landscapes of our papers with her terse, slasher-like comments. It took a few months for me to completely recuperate from the resulting poetry-blindness of Ms. Grim’s instruction on the classics. I suspect that others never fully recovered. Her constant demand for analytical attention created a dislike of poetry from most of her students -- if not predisposing them to detest poetry entirely.

Source

Do you read poetry?

  • Yes, often
  • Sometimes
  • Rarely
  • No
See results without voting

To be fair, other teachers truly excel in teaching poetry by approaching it from both analytical and creative perspectives. They unlock the doors to its creative language of thought and emotion expressed through vivid imagery, theme and symbolism. These are gifted teachers; they enable their students to breathe life into the music of the words, and better understand how poetry’s natural beauty and power are accessible to us all.

Everyone has their own tastes and preferences with poetry. Some prefer free or blank verse, while others enjoy the elements of flowing rhyme. Rhyme critics consider this form to be fraught with a sing-song quality that is boring, mundane or too traditional. They firmly believe rhyme is too often characterized with the, “We skipped through the tulips; fa la la la la," type of verse. Others claim that writers begin with rhyme because it is easier to write before progressing to other, "more serious forms" of poetry. Famous poets have been accused of trying to force a word that doesn’t fit into the rhyme scheme, thus making the poem sound too contrived.

As someone who often writes in rhyme, I would like to dispel some of these myths. First of all, like falling in love, we do not choose rhyme; rather, it often chooses or finds us. That being said, rhyme can also be very challenging. We want to express something that is powerful, moving and thought-provoking while providing magic elements of imagery...often within a melodic flow. Reading it should be effortless.

Emily Dickinson  (1830 - 1886)
Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886) | Source

Granted, there are times when attempting to rhyme takes over the writing process. One moment we’re in handcuffs; the next, we are whisked away as the words take on a life of their own. Of course, there are the occasional wild rides down the rabbit hole whereupon we land with a thump and ask ourselves, “How on earth did I get here?" Actually, this is one of my favorite moments in the writing process. I look about this strange land to see what it has to offer, and its unique phrasing and words will inevitably find me.

There are also those intermittent moments when we are faced with a word that doesn’t rhyme within the structure of our poem. This is the puzzle piece that doesn’t fit -- the anomalous color that distorts the painting; the sour, out-of-tune-key on the piano; the odd dinner plate that destroys an otherwise exquisite and unique table setting. Never one for tulip-skipping, Emily Dickinson would often change a word many times to suit her ear in a line of verse that rhymed. I should also mention that one rarely sees forced rhyme in any of Robert Frost’s poetry. In other words, if we are challenged by the trappings of rhyme, we're in excellent company.

So there are no misunderstandings, I'm an omnivorous reader and eclectic writer of articles, short stories and poetry. Although I frequently write in rhyme, I also love free verse poems that are "unfettered" with the normal rules of poetry. Reading Walt Whitman for the first time was, for me, a revelation. Free verse and blank verse poets are more comfortable with their styles of poetry because it is less cumbersome to them and more open to creative expression. "To each his own," is extremely important and should always be respected.

If writing poetry calls to you, by all means answer. This is one of the noblest of all art forms. Whether you write rhyme, blank verse, free verse, haiku or other forms of poetry, don’t be afraid of or dominated by convention. An extraordinary writer once provided me with these helpful guidelines: "Don't be discouraged if you write a poem that is total crap (everyone does); you'll soon write a better one. Read other poetry, including the classics, various forms, and the works of the masters. Write often. Try not to explain too much in your poetry but avoid being too obscure. Never cling to your words out of stubbornness and refuse to consider rewrites."

From my own experience, above all, don’t be afraid to write about something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable. Dispel any haunting red flairs and chalkboards from your past, and open yourself up to new dimensions. Inspirations will visit you from unexpected places. Welcome them, and look for those magic elements. You can begin by writing down a few thoughts or emotions and let the seeds of the poem grow from there. Just be careful of the tulips. :-)


The rhyming, melodic elements of poetry in music …

Note: if you aren’t a member of Hubpages, you can still leave a comment below without “signing in or becoming a member” of the Hubpages community. All you have to do is type in your comment and a name in the fields provided. Visitors are always welcome. :-)




© Copyright by Genna East 2011 All rights reserved

More by this Author


Comments 121 comments

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Excellent!

Some poets go out of their way to be mysterious, which irriates me because I like things to make sense. I'm simple minded that way. In fact, I'm so simple minded that I prefer using a few terse words and let the reader fill it in.

Great Hub Geena!

Voted up and very useful.


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon

To rhyme or not to rhyme

one begs more from me of time

but,I do not like the other kind!

Perhaps, because I find in rhyme

a kinship, running line to line!

Hi Geena! I know, a little cutesie, but what the heck? It's all I have in my pocket today. This was a wonderful hub. Expressed many of my unexpressed sentiments. Well done.


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

Enjoyed reading this hub, reminded me of my English literature teacher too. She was not great into poetry either. Maybe that is why I find once my fingers hit the keyboard I can write but not make poet justice, one day hopefully.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Will

Thank you for your comment and vote of confidence.:) I agree. The "rules" of poetry (that term still makes me shudder), dictate that we should not explain too much, but at the same time encourages us not to be so obscure that the reader is lost. It can be a delicate balancing act, and one that I do not always win, myself.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@arb

Thank you; it's a pleasure to see you!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@thebluestar

Oh I hear you, girlfriend. “Ms. Grim” was a paradox; although she excelled in teaching grammar, she missed the boat, entirely, in teaching literature. One either hated her or loved her. I have forgiven her for what she did in deadening our senses to poetry; she was probably poorly taught, herself.

You have made poet justice, btw. :)

Thank you for your comments!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

.....well it's the epigramman's goal to subvert and deconstruct the genre - lol lol lol - and to upset conventions and push the proverbial envelope as far as it can go - check out one that I wrote a few months back called - The Queen is furious .......

I love your style Miss Genna you exude literary and poetic class out of every one of your lovely pores - and I think from now on I will refer to you as the exquisite Miss Genna!

You really took the time and effort here which I appreciate about this particular hub - and for all writers I think TO RHYME OR NOT TO RHYME should be bookmarked and put into a virtual library for reference!

Bravo!

p.s. - I also say to any young writer - just write from your heart and the mind will follow!!


diogenes 5 years ago

Good article. As a poet said to me once, "There is no right way; just this way and that way." Some consider rhyming verse old fashioned. But it is certainly easier - like a lot of modern art - to write doggerel that doesn't rhyme. I suppose to really call yourself a poet you need to study all the classical forms, such as the sonnet, and so on...and then try to write some verse using these constraints - tough! And, of course, read all the masters, starting perhaps with John Keats...Bob


bestforbride profile image

bestforbride 5 years ago from Toronto, ON, Canada

Interesting hub. Makes you puzzle.


Maya 5 years ago

Great article, Genna. Well thought out and interesting. I have long thought that poetry has taken a bum rap, and that this is largely due to the way it was taught to us.


arthurchappell profile image

arthurchappell 5 years ago from Manchester, England

each to their own - I prefer to write in rhyme given much of my performance material is short stories in verse but there is nothing wrong with un-rhymed poetry too - like yourself I found school nearly killed my love of poetry


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Epi

Thanks, epi, you make blush. If your goal is to subvert the genre and push the proverbial envelope; then other poets should follow suit; you are a gifted writer.

@dio

Thank you. I agree that certain disciplines should be followed to get the most out of writing poetry – just not necessarily those that some of us were forced to endure by certain teachers. My freshman college professor was the one who opened the doors of poetry for me; I hope other students are more fortunate.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Bestforbride

Thank you for stopping by; it’s a pleasure to see you.

@Maya

Hello my friend. As always, your comments and support are appreciated. :)

@arthurchappell

“To each his own” is right, and spot on. I’m not sure if Cicero said this originally, but it is perhaps one of the best quotes to come down through the Ages. We each have our preferences, and they should be respected and celebrated.


chspublish profile image

chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

You were unfortunate with your choice of English teacher. Glad to see you have since made a recovery.

The words will out no matter what eventually and I'm delighted to see your great output on your site here.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@chspublish

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a choice of teachers. In American high schools -- at least in those days -- we were assigned teachers, and requests for alternates were rarely, if ever, granted.

Thanks for stopping by, CH. I truly appreciate your thoughtful comments!


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Genna, what a fantastic vote of approval for people such as myself who have a need, or overwhelming desire, to write purely in rhyme. Writing in rhyme should be the easiest of tasks. Line, mine, pine as opposed to line moan lean. I never have words that don't rhyme below 96%. Rhythm is the more difficult aspect of rhyming poetry and marrying the two together with the plot, the third element, takes skill and patience. Rhyming poetry 'is' sing songy, it has to be for it to flow correctly. Yesterday by Paul Macartney is a perfect example of rhyming poetry and is spoken of by many as the most perfect pop song ever written. My English teacher, Mrs Hen had no control at all over her class and chaos reigned. Our History teacher, was firm but fair and earned our respect. This hub means so much to me, it really does. I marvel at some of the non-rhyming poetry on hubpages, but i am not ready to venture out of my comfortable place until i feel the need, or run out of subjects for my rhyming. There is room for all forms, so why not stay with what you love? Thank you for making me feel so normal and respected.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Great hub! I actually think many teachers do a poor job of teaching writing -- because they are not confident writers themselves. It is one thing to teach grammar, vocabulary, themes in a novel . . . but it is a true gift to write -- as displayed by you and so many other here on hubpages.


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 5 years ago from Tennessee

I have to say I don't like writing poetry, but I do it, sometimes. I'd much rather write stories and whatever. That's not to say I don't like reading poetry, but there's not much out there that I actually like. Robert Frost is the best, I think. The road less traveled by... and all that.

Enjoyed your writing. It was very interesting. :)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Wonderful Genna, I love blank verse, probably because the verse comes mostly when my mind is blank. When I write music, it mostly rhymes but I fear the verse suffers. When the math of melody and the rhythm of verse coalesce it is a heady garden spot--much like the English gardens crafted by the Liverpool lads. Rhyme is a safe haven but when the verse slips its moorings and wonder flows--oh heaven stills....to listen. =:)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@attemptedhumor

I agree in that I think rhyme critics object to this form when the words within the “sing-song”verse are what they view to be too boring or mundane. I also agree with you in that marrying the rhythm within the rhyme is challenging. It can be a misunderstood art. Thank you for your wonderful comments and kind words!

@truckstopsally

It is always nice to see you here, sally. Some teachers are better than others when it comes to literature. I have had the “Ms. Grims” as well as some truly gifted teachers. It is rather like the lottery, or Forest Gump’s “box of chocolates…you never know what you're going to get.” Thank you so much for your comments.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@What is Q

“The road less traveled by…” One of my Frost favorites. (Very applicable quote, Q…perfect. :) I am pleased you enjoyed the article, and that you stopped by for a visit. I enjoy your hubs as well.

@Winsome

I appreciate your comments, thank you. Even though blank verse is harder for me, I know exactly what you mean. I often write melodies on my piano, so I frequently have music running through my head, so to speak. This is perhaps why the rhythm and the rhyme are always with me. “…but the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles.” :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

I love all styles of poetry, from Shakespeare, for his word-smithing inventiveness, to the blank verse of the post-modern poets. I do admit, though, that the challenge of a clever, internal rhyme scheme really does tickle my fancy.


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

I don't usually read the comments, but I couldn't help seeing Will's and he expressed my sentiments exactly. I like to keep it simple. I could have been a female Dr. Suess...if only I had known someone would pay for all the words I used to make up. :)


Jamesmbailey profile image

Jamesmbailey 5 years ago from Portsmouth

I am new to hubpages but this is the best i have read. Your school experience of poetry sounds familiar. Great Hub


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@RedElf & Fay

Always a pleasure to see you. Internal rhyme scheme tickles my fancy as well. And I agree, Fay; when one keeps it simple but with the compelling imagery you use, it is amazing.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Jamesmbailey

Thank you for your comments, and welcome to hubpages! I think you will enjoy the many wonderful writers here.


daydreamer13 profile image

daydreamer13 5 years ago

Excellent points are made here!


nighthag profile image

nighthag 5 years ago from Australia

A wonderful article, My English teacher actually seemed to hate poetry and creative writing as a rule, which made it very difficult to learn .

Thanks for the great read


Rusty C. Adore profile image

Rusty C. Adore 5 years ago from Michigan

Thanks for this hub. I'm part of a writing group and they have decided that next month's meeting is going to be dedicated to sharing and discussing our poetry. I don't write poetry, but now I am being asked to do it (to expand my horizons) and I have no problem with that, except that I usually can't stand poetry. I'm one of those people who hears a poem and goes "wait, what?"

I remember sitting in my 11th grade English class, being asked to explain what I thought a poem meant and then being told that I was wrong. I think it was that moment that turned me off of the genre.

Your hub really helps me begin to redirect my mind. I went to school with so many... self indulgent poets? If that is the way to phrase that. They seemed to deliberately write in a stuffy tone with a huge vocabulary and were quite satisfied when no one knew what they meant. Unfortunately that is what I assumed poetry was supposed to be. I actually enjoy rhyming (I'm fond of Dr. Seuss) but I was starting to worry that I would look foolish if I chose to write a rhyming poem for my writing group. Your hub helped me see that there is nothing wrong with pursuing rhyme. :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@ DayDreamer; Nighthag; Rusty C. Adore

Thank you for visiting and for your supportive comments.

I agree that poetry should not be reserved for those “on high,” so to speak…meaning this is not an elitist art form. True, some of the classics and the work of the masters can be a little inaccessible, if not formidable. However, many helpful and intelligent interpretations can be found in libraries (yes, I also like real books), and on the internet. Don’t be afraid to explore. Opening ourselves up to new dimensions doesn't mean that we should turn our backs on the old. Some poetry can be a little obscure, and that is completely up to the writer. My advice is to not make the poetry so obscure that you are turning away your audience.

Have a wonderful day!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

Hi Genna - I think you've hit the nail on the head - the moment one is 'dominated' by convention when it comes to poetry, one tends to fall into the trap of form taking precedence over matter. Maybe that's what makes a lot of poetry sound forced or obtuse!


Erin LeFey profile image

Erin LeFey 5 years ago from Maryland

Genna, this is an exquisite piece of work; one article that would free someone of a life's burden of voices in their head everytime they sat down at a keyboard to write. Luckily I started to write poetry and verse before I was ever taught to write so I never thought any of the classics applied to little 'ol me. I always wrote because something inside me HAD to express itself - my journal has always been my best friend, the only one who knew it all. Your writing in this is tight, commanding and spot on. Voted you up and awesome.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Greetings Erin;

Thank you for visiting and for your wonderful comments.

Like you, luckily, I was reading very early, so “Ms. Grim” did nothing to dissuade me from writing short stories, plays and prose. Her criticisms of conventional and unconventional poetry, however, were lethal. She angered open minds and promising writers of poetry, and criticized students’ essays on Frost and Dickinson if they did not fit her narrow textbook outlines. She could not stop me, but she stunted me in terms of wanting to learn more about the great masters who were less read and less accessible. I did not re-discover the great poets like John Keats until two years later. It took me a long time before I could forgive her.

She certainly didn’t stop people from writing literature per se, but I know she made others hate poetry…especially, the work of the masters.

It is always a pleasure to see you, and I look forward to reading more of your work as well. :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Shalini…

Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

I think each writer has conventions or literary fashions of the day that people can choose to relate to in accordance with their preferences. For example, if I were to teach Keats -- and I’m not a teacher so I may be totally off base here – I might begin by discussing who his was, the times he lived in, and the literary conventions of his day. Free verse was not the literary fashion of Keats’ world, which is something to consider when reading his poetry. We have free verse today -- and can probably credit writers like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson for this in American poetry -- that opened up new possibilities. It is the wonderful literary freedom we have of “to each his own,” that we should cherish and hold dear.


bugslady8949 profile image

bugslady8949 5 years ago from The Bahamas

I am planning to take writing classes and this helped me a lot. I think you did a great job.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I did not like or appreciate poetry until recently when I read some at the hub and have recently tried it. It is so freeing. There is no "wrong" poetry. It allows both the author and the reader to tap into their creativity and imagination. Just as there are no limits creatively and imaginatively, there are no limits in interpretation. I am flying high in the addictive clutches of poetry! Love the clarity and humor of this piece...art on art.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 5 years ago from east of the equator

Applause Genna for a great article recounting your own experience. Rhyme helps brevity but my two eulogies are like epics. I am prepared for some free verse blank verse and rants but rhyme inspires me and enslaves me. Once I feel the rhythm the poem writes itself. Thank you.


azure_sky profile image

azure_sky 5 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

Another great hub Genna! I seem to write in rhyme, I know that it takes more time for me to make it make sense...lol, but, I guess that is just the way I am... I am trying to change though :) Voted up and useful! I will be back again and again to go over all of your pointers! Thanks!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@bugslady8949

Welcome to the world of writing; I know you will do well, and will enjoy the wonderful writers here, on the hub. Thanks for visiting, and for your comments.

@Amy

I am delighted to know that you are writing and enjoying poetry. There are a number of great writers on the hub who excel in writing poetry as well. Good luck and I look forward to reading your poems on the hub!

@sligo

To rhyme or not to rhyme, it really is “to each his own.” “Once I feel the rhythm, the poem writes itself.” Now that’s music to my ears…you are indeed fortunate. Thank you for your comments.

@azure

Thank you. There are books in the library as wonderful articles on the hub and internet that give additional and helpful info on writing poetry as well. Write what is in your heat, and your mind will follow. It is good to see you here again, azure, and I look forward to reading more of your hubs as well.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

You have a good point out here. But how do i start?


ichibanarky 5 years ago

I think people tend to over-analyse poetry all too often...as I see it, poetry is an extension of a person's soul, their emotions, and should be respected as such...nobody has the authority to tell you what you should feel.

Great post.


jerrycorinadam profile image

jerrycorinadam 5 years ago from United State

A very innovative article. The language used here is superb.


imranhaider 5 years ago

great work .nice hub


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@crystolie, jerrycorinadam and imranhaider

Thanks for the visit, and for taking the time to read this article. I appreciate your supportive comments.

@ichibinarky

I agree with your comments. This over-analyzation is what ruins poetry for many. Thanks for your support!


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Very good hub! Well written and interesting to read. You have a way with words, I think :)

I do like poetry, in spite of being forced to spend hours trying to create some every weekend when I was at school!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Trish

Thank you for stopping by and your positive comments. I am pleased that your school experiences did not keep you from writing; you are a good writer.


DanWW 5 years ago

Great article, Genna. Your use of language is smart, humorous and elegant.


phildazz profile image

phildazz 5 years ago from Toronto

Hi Geena, great, great stuff, I don't think anyone else could have said it better but I'll go for "to rhyme". It's a challenge putting rye into the rhyme.


PaulGoodman67 profile image

PaulGoodman67 5 years ago from Florida USA

Rhyme is very difficult to do well, without lapsing into corny, forced, or predictable vocabulary, although there are some poets who can do it (probably with a lot of hard effort, I suspect!).


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

What an excellent article! I wrote a similar one in answer to another hubber's question and linked it to yours because it is so great!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@DanWW

Hello again, Dan. Thanks for the “thumbs up.”

@phildazz

Good to see you, and yes, it’s always a challenge to put the “rye into the rhyme.” Well said. Thank you.

@Paul

Yes, rhyme is a challenge. Thanks for stopping by; it is a pleasure to see you here.

@Tom

I didn’t realize you had written a recent hub that was similar; great minds think alike. :) Thanks for that link, and I plan to do the same for your article. Many thanks for the supportive comments.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

Thank you, Genna, for making me feel more "normal" because I enjoy reading (and, occasionally, writing) poetry that rhymes. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy free verse, because I do. It shouldn't be an "either/or" situation. Nevertheless, I'm naturally more drawn to rhyme and rhythm.

I've only written a few poems, but I instinctively rhymed them. It's sad if iambic pentameter is not considered "in vogue" for modern poets (though Mr. Shakespeare didn't fare too badly with it). However, I feel there's room in the modern world for all types of poetry to exist and be enjoyed.

That's what creativeness is, after all--making something that expresses your thoughts and feelings. Whatever is created may be relished by many or only a few, but the number of "fans" it garners does not make it more or less valuable a creation.

Whew! I'll climb down off my soapbox now. I really enjoyed your hub. JAYE


JayB 5 years ago

Hello Genna! What impresses me is your versatility in writing. You can write just about anything and do it well. This is a great article.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Jaye

My pleasure. I understand, very well, how you feel about rhyme. And I very much enjoyed your “soapbox,” so feel free to speak from there all you wish…it was a truly breath of fresh air and spot-on about how poetry is perceived in the modern world. Thank you!

@Jay

Hello again my friend; I thank you for your continued support that always warms this heart.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

Genna, great hub! I fully agree with your sentiments. I've also had a 'Mr Grim' experience generally with my English teachers. I also was lucky to have a temp teacher who was with us briefly who let the class outpour our creativity. he read my very first poem aloud to the class - I was only 11 and was so elated that I decided to carry on writing. I love the phrase' it is us not us who go looking for rhymes, the rhyme finds u' this is so true.

As a versatile writer I also find genre conventions and assumptions stifling. I love to write anything freely, simply,unpretentiously to share my enjoyment of the language. I am glad you agree with those sensibilities. Great hub, voted up!


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

I loved your hub. I like to read any kind of poetry. But I'd rather write poems in rhymes.


natitot86 5 years ago from Philippines

hello everyone. i was just starting and touring this Hub-thing and guess what, immediately i was drawn to Ms. Geena's article. I find the article, rather the hub, very informative and refreshing. I myself have been writing some verses (that doesn't rhyme)for some time now, since my college days, to be exact. The battle between having it "rhymed" or not really choked me oftentimes when I undergo this creative process of writing poetry. Well, the thing that kept me doing this thing (writing verses of sunshine and honey) is that after putting all the words together, I can feel that it speaks right through me and it became a new being; my own creation. To say, its about the pure bliss of having created something that has been drawn out from my very own soul. Thank you again for sharing your insight to us, Ms. Geena.


jensalvacion profile image

jensalvacion 5 years ago

HI Geena, I just recently joined this hub page.The first topics that I looked for were topics in poetry and poetry itself of course.Yours were one of the poems that fascinated me.I myself also loves poetry and I hope to share my poems with people like you when I publish my first poem in my hub.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Nice, balanced perspective with points that all teachers should take a look at. :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Docmo Thank you Doc…I consider this quite a compliment coming from you, and I appreciate your vote of confidence as well. :)

@Diana Thank you and I agree with you about rhymes. They are challenging yet a beautiful form of verse.

@natitot I look forward to reading your poetry, and thank you for your kind words.

@jen Welcome to the hub, and thank you for your supportive comments. I look forward to reading your hubs as well.

@RTalloni thank you…I know that a number teachers do, at least these days, while others are still asking, “Why do I have to teach poetry?” “To each his own.” :)


CalVera 5 years ago

Hey Genna! I haven’t read your poetry and articles for a few weeks now. But had to say that it is nice to see someone write everything from the heart and the mind rather than regurgitate something somebody else has already written. This article is an excellent example. I think this is what makes you a popular writer.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hello Cal; I haven't seen you in awhile, and appreciate your visit and your kind and thoughtful comments.


Denny Lyon profile image

Denny Lyon 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Hi, Genna, we all have experienced some really bad teaching. It's a shame so much of it has come at the expense of the arts like poetry. Like you, I figure we have our good days and our bad, just power on through it until it gets polished to the level of the sublime.

You are right also about how people get stuck in their heads these nasty writing critics. I chased those banshees out of my life ages ago and just fly. Most people know when their writing is below par at the moment. Just let it sit for a while, circle back, tinker with it, think about the adjustments and what you want to express, make sure it's focused, and voila! instant writing cool. Well, almost instant. :)

Excellent hub, well done! You are an amazing writer.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Denny Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read this article. I agree with you about the critics and their publish or perish criteria. I am happy to know that you go with the flow of your creativity.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Great hub that really got me thinking. Personality and poetry is very interesting. Great writing. Rated up and awesome.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@ToKnowInfo Thanks for your vote of confidence and supportive comments; I truly appreciate them and am pleased you found the article interesting.


Marina Lester 5 years ago

Dear Genna, you have been a very encouraging voice to me and I thank you. And as I was making my way through all the reading I've been meaning to catch up on in my busy schedule, I came across your hub here.

Normally in all honesty I don't read longer hubs due to often being behind. I decided to begin reading your piece here because of my own curiosity for "To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme". I used to have what I believed for a while was a bad habit of 'only' rhyming. But I couldn't help but enjoy it like a song and the extra challenge.

I didn't write for three years to my frustration, and then opened the flood gate with my free verse "Fire to Stone". Now I dance and switch, rhyming or not upon the mood.

My feeling is that rhyming is not taken as seriously, as if it is not modern or edgy enough, which is ridiculous yet we all know where those ideas sprout. And I really loved what you wrote here "One moment we’re in handcuffs; the next, we are whisked away as the words take on a life of their own." And what you said about the falling into the "rabbit hole" and ending up somewhere in wonder...This effect, in my schooling had also made me believe I was a weak poetess. Perhaps sadly I envied my academic friends as all their work was calculated, planned and demonstrated a superb vocabulary.

Genna I confess to have still read little of your work, but each time I am left inspired. Intelligence radiates from you as each sentence is easily transported from your mind to us. And I am made to smile as the art I love so much is guaranteed to be bettered as I learn from you. Take care and thank you, Genna the woman who 'get's it'! :D


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon

Takes forever to get to the bottom!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Marina My apologies for not responding earlier as I have been away for the most part. I am so pleased you write poetry; we can write as we wish, when wish, and what we wish. Your writing is excellent! I thank you for this thoughtful and well written comment!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Arb Thank you, dear Arb. :)


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Genna, for me I think rhyme is best. Most likely because I was taught that was what poetry was. I think poetry needs to be read for enjoyment. Great article.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Koffee Thanks for taking the time to read my aticle and for your wonderful support. :)


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 5 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I did not have a good poetry teacher when growing up. I did not learn to like poetry until I was much, much older. However, I did love lyrics in music and sang brilliant poetry within classical pieces- Rutter comes to mind, as well as folk singers like Paul Simon. And even the Beatles! I think rhyming is like writing picture books; the process is more difficult than it appears. Thanks for a fascinating read.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@story Hello; thank you for stopping by and for your comment. I believe many of us did not enjoy good teachers when it came to poetry. I like your comment about musical lyrics. My mother was a music teacher, and she used to take my albums and use the ‘fab four’ in her lesson plans…not only for their lyrics, but for their inventive and creative melodies and harmonies. Poetry usually finds a way. :)


CalVera 5 years ago

Excellent article, Genna! I missed this one before.


PR Morgan profile image

PR Morgan 5 years ago from Sarasota Florida

Great advice...poetry can be so powerful in so many different ways...


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@PR Thank you; I hope this does bring good advice and words of encouragement. Take care. :-)


ChSRiso 5 years ago

An exquisite article Genna East. How refreshing to read something about poetry that is so well written and makes poetry seem fun and accessible to everybody. I only wish I had you as a teacher when I was in high school. This is inspirational.


MysteriousOne profile image

MysteriousOne 5 years ago

Excellent and informative! Thank you, Genna for sharing this! voted up !!!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Mysterious One

Thank you; I am so pleased you enjoyed the article. thanks for the comments.


Anne Oddity profile image

Anne Oddity 5 years ago

Very thought-provoking article!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Anne

Thank you, I am pleased you like the article.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

Wow, what an article. Voted up! This really is inspirational. A very good piece of useful information. You are such a great writer. I look forward to read more of your EXCELLENT work. Take care Genna.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Hello Genna - This hub is a wonderful, educational piece of work, especially for me. I love the way you teach! You present the facts, then follow with an allowance of freedome and inspiration.

I write to rhyme - most of the time.

See? It just comes naturally.

I think in rhyme, I breath in rhyme.

I guess I have a simple mind.

Oops! There I go again.

I did, in fact write a poem ( no rhyming) relating to my own pain, with the loss of my beautiful son. I think it's a good start. I would love to have your evaluation, when and if you have the time.

http://hubpages.com/health/Where-is-my-Song-A-Port...

Gena, thank you so much for writing this. Bookmarked and voted up!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Lyric Thank you; I am pleased you liked the article. Thanks for stopping by and for your supportive comments.

@Vocal Good to see you. I think you are a much better teacher than I. :-) I look forward to reading your poem! Thanks for the votes and words of confidence.


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

Robert Frost is my favorite poet! I prefer rhyme in poetry, although there is a time and place for unrhymed as well. Good hub!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Silver. Both Frost and Dickinson are among my favorites. :-) Good to see you.


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

Very interesting article! We must have had the same teacher. I love all types of poetry, but I am especially fond of rhyming, humorous poems. Thus, that is what I write. I have written serious things, some depressing. Blah! Yuck Blah! Oh well, thanks for hub.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks, Paddy; I think we may have had the same teacher. :-) Take care and thanks for stopping by.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

Wow - tons of interesting comments! Tiny Tim had a thing for tulips, didn't he?


molometer profile image

molometer 5 years ago

Interesting hub Genna,

I too had some terrible teachers in school and it wasn't until I got to University and sat in on a literary criticism seminar that things started to make more sense.

As you mention in this excellent hub. The depth of meaning that poetry and prose contain is lost on many people. This is a direct result of poor teaching. Shame.

You are redressing the balance by getting this out out there.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Michael. I think readers assume that poetry is too unaccessible, which is sometimes bolstered by poor teachers. Good to see you, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments.


Keri Summers profile image

Keri Summers 4 years ago from West of England

It's such a shame people have been put off poetry by how it is taught. I think my teachers were all okay, but Mr Biggs who did Shakespeare with us was the one who engaged us most naturally with the texts I'd say. I know that's plays, but they were very poetic. I agree with WillStarr, IMO good poetry should be about conveying a meaning, however simple or complex, rather than deliberately obscuring. And I'm a sucker for internal rhyme too - keeps the rhythm, but elegantly. Great subject for a Hub. Congratulations on all the responses you have got here - you've touched on something that I think is good to get people talking about.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

Been here before Genna and glad I have returned for the reread. Rhyme is just one element of poetry which sometimes shackles the poem and sometimes releases it. Cheers.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Really interesting Hub! Billy Collins, a fomer US Poet Laureate write very clear, wonderful poetry and talks in his poem Introduction To Poetry about tying the poem to a chair and "beating it with a hose/to find out what it really means." That is the Ms. Grim approach to teaching poetry and you put it so well here too.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@sligobay

Thanks, Sligo. You have expressed so well the trappings and the freedoms of rhyme. Good to see you.

@xstatic

Lol. Oh yes, "Ms. Grim" used that approach...I will never forget her. When reading or writing poetry, people need to dispel any haunting chalkboards or red flairs from their past. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and for your kind and thoughtful words.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

What a great way to think about poetry--I was also poorly taught--but poetry seemed to find me anyway--It found you as well--


IntegrityYes 4 years ago

I voted up for sure.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I prefer rhyme but I have read and written good poetry with no rhyme but I think it is rare personally. So many poems are just pretty words thrown out with no connection and this will turn me away from a writer quicker than anything. With or without rhyme surely there should be a point?


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Audrey Howitt

Thank you. I am very happy that poetry found you! :-)

@Integrity Yes

Thanks for the vote, and for taking the time to read my hub.

@Jackie Lynnley

Hi Jackie. I believe that “to each his own,” is so important with poetry. I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t read too much poetry that is encumbered with flowery prose just for the sake of writing pretty words. I so agree with you in that there has to be a point to any poem; sometimes that point doesn’t move beyond the poet because the poem is too inaccessible. Good to see you! :-)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A great read and thanks for sharing.

Eddy.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

(I’ve been away for the past ten days and haven’t had time to comment; my apologies. )

Hi Eddy;

I had fun writing it too. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for that nice comment. :-)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Genna, I am glad I found this hub of yours on poetry. I sometimes enjoy the free verse poems as they express thoughts in conversational way for me. Your teacher was a good mentor and reminded me of my high school English teacher who also shared the same wisdom. Great instructions here and very inspiring.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you. I had fun writing this, as well. It's so good to see you, and I appreciate your kind words.


Sphinxs Sanctum profile image

Sphinxs Sanctum 3 years ago from Southern United States

This is a Wonderful article with very solid advice for anyone with a poem in their heart waiting to be shared. I truly enjoyed this read & it covered a great many of my personal concerns when writing poetry. Thank-you.

I've placed a link to this article on a small FB page I've recently created. I think that your article should be read by anyone venturing into poetry for the first time and by those who have been writing for some time. If you'd prefer I not have your article there, please let me know. It can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/SphinxsSanctum :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Sphinxs. My sincere apologies for not responding earlier, but work has lately been taking up far too much of my time. :-(

I am both pleased and honored that you liked this article, and linked it to your FB page. I look forward to exploring more of your fascinating page very soon. :-)


Sphinxs Sanctum profile image

Sphinxs Sanctum 3 years ago from Southern United States

I'm just getting the page going so there's not a lot on there just yet. My work has had me pulled away as well. Thank-you! :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you. :-)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

You know--for so long I felt really inadequate as a poet because I just couldn't (and still can't ) get my head around rhyme--but there are some poets I know who make it look effortless--passing this to all my poet friends!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Audrey…

I had the very same feeling about writing poetry because I would often write in rhyme. :-) Your poetry is simply amazing, Audrey. I truly hope that you consider having your work published – it’s that good. Thank you for your comments.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Thank you Genna--but so is yours my dear! So is yours!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Audrey. :-)


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

I took another look at this because I've got new poems starting to bubble up in my head. Though I write them mainly for myself (maybe to get them out of my head because there's only so much room in there…), I get my courage up to post them sometimes. These points are important to keep in mind.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 3 years ago from West Virginia

I believe it's important to stay true to yourself in your writing, especially poetry. I'm not saying to not step outside the box and experiment, but this can be done. You are correct on everything Genna. The more poems I wrote, the better I wrote them. I enjoy reading them more then writing them. Well noted Genna, voted up, useful, interesting, and shared on Facebook.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

I'm so sorry I'm late in responding to these comments.

@RTalloni I'm so pleased to hear of your new poems, and hope you share them with us here, at the Hub. Thank you for our comment.

@thelyricwriter

I couldn't agree more. We have to keep reading and writing in order to realize our potential in poetry. Good to see you, and thank you for this thoughtful comment.


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 3 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Excellent hub Genna miss Grim do sound like her name lol hmm at primary school I hated when the teacher asked you to tell her what the poetry meant we had like a few questions to answer based on what we read, something like a comprehension.

Have a wonderful Sunday

God be with you :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Lady, for your comments. And with you, too. :-)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

I am so glad I discovered this most inspiring hub of yours, Genna. Writing poetry in rhyme, or in any existing form, is a challenge, like building a puzzle. I, too, love to allow words to take my initial thought to that moment where I all of a sudden find myself surprised and enlightened. I agreed with you from beginning to end :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you so much, Martie. Poetry is all around us…and it resides in the soul. You are so right in that it can take us to new places of enlightenment. I appreciate your very perceptive comment.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Wonderful hub Genna,

Sometimes I feel as though poets are thought of the second class citizens of the writing world. Although I have written some articles and short stories, poetry will forever remain my favorite form of writing. The majority of the time I use rhyming verse but have recently branched out a little into free form and am pleased with the result. Thank you for this encouraging and inspiring hub, for all the poets out there. Voted up.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Jodah. I share those thoughts as well, my poet friend. It's good to see you! :-)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working