History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Poetry: Rhyming

When I first started writing poetry as an adult, meter was one of the hardest things for me to get my head around. After some practice, though, I’ve gotten better at it. Now the big stumper for me is rhyming, but I’m learning how to better use that in poetry as well.

I’ve gotten some advice on the subject from Marie Vibbert, and her tips have proven very useful! She suggests a few things to help rhymes seem more natural and less forced:

  1. If you can use words that have more than one syllable for the rhyming word, it will seem more advanced than rhyming single-syllable words.
  2. If you come up with a rhyme pair, try to use the less common word first, because otherwise it looks like a stretch.
  3. Edit the rhymed lines (and the non-rhymed lines) in pairs with their counterparts. That way, if you have to change out the rhyming word, you can work on the two pieces together.
  4. Slant-rhymes are okay.

I have to admit, of those pieces of advice, the fourth one is the one that’s hardest for me. One of the other words for a slant rhyme is a “lazy” rhyme, and to me, slant rhymes feel a little like cheating. But even if I can’t quite hit all of these suggestions, hitting the bulk of them is definitely helping me feel better about my rhymed poetry!

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