Disdain for Rhyme

A couple of days ago, I was sitting at my desk trying to compose a poem in rhyme. My rhyming muse had deserted me, consequently I experimented with free verse. My muse still refused to play so, in frustration I turned off my computer and went to bed.

My inability to compose in either rhyme or free verse may have stemmed, in part at least from my need for sleep. However, come the morning my rhyming muse perched upon my shoulder and I was able to pen a rhyming poem with which I was happy.

As those of you who read my poetry on a regular basis will know, my preference is for rhyme. This is both because I find rhyme intrinsically beautiful, and due to rhyme coming naturally to me whilst, generally speaking, free verse does not. There is much great poetry written in free verse, its simply that, on the whole I prefer reading and writing rhyming poetry.

My muse refusing to play reminded me of the following response I received from a reviewer when I contacted them asking whether they would be interested in reviewing one of my books:

“I took a quick look at your site and at the reviews your book has on Goodreads. You’ve got a talent for rhyming. Unfortunately, I prefer to read free verse
and if I were you review your collection, my disdain for constant rhyming would bias my review”.

I was grateful for the response (as not all reviewers do respond to requests for reviews). In addition, I appreciated the honesty of the reply. We all have our preferences, mine is for rhyming poetry, whilst the reviewer’s is for free verse. As to whether my poems utilise constant rhyming, as the poet, I am probably not the best person to answer that question. However what I will say is this, I believe that whilst the best rhyming poetry is intrinsically beautiful, there is no point in marring a good composition by forcing a rhyme where no rhyme should properly be. It is not wise to force a size 10 foot into a size 9 shoe. One can do so however the foot risks being mangled as does the poem. Sometimes its right that parts of a poem rhyme whilst other sections do not. I am by no means a purist in such matters.

I have heard the view expressed that rhyming is somehow lazy as its easier to compose in rhyme than it is to use free or blank verse. I beg to differ. Whilst the best free verse poetry is a pleasure to read, the worst reads like prose of the most prosaic kind. Whilst there is, undoubtedly bad rhyming poetry, the subtlety of good rhyming poems is a real pleasure to peruse. The use of unusual (but highly effective) rhyming is a real skill which takes time to develop (and is only developed by some). As for the “disdain” for “constant rhyming”, whilst I can understand why this can become tedious, surely it depends on how the constant rhyming is done? “The cat ate my hat. I chased him with a bat, crying this was my hat!”, can quickly lead to tedium on the part of the reader, but much rhyming poetry is not like that!

In conclusion, I understand the views of those who dislike rhyming poetry, however I do not share them. Both rhyme and other forms of poetry possess their merits but I, personally prefer rhyme for the reasons set out above.

As always I would be interested in the views of you my readers.


23 thoughts on “Disdain for Rhyme

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Thank you, G. I have just rescued your comment from my spam queue. I’m pleased I checked, as I would have hated to have accidentally deleted it! All the best to you. Kind regards – Kevin

  1. robbiesinspiration

    I love rhyming poetry, Kevin, and I personally think that good rhyming poetry is much more difficult to compose than free verse. I love your poetry and I also love Sue Vincent’s rhyming poetry. I write a mixture of poetry and particularly like tanka poems.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Many thanks for your comment, Robbie and your kind words concerning my poetry. I very much appreciate your support. I agree with you that writing good rhyming poetry is especially difficult to accomplish. Best wishes – Kevin

  2. Walt Page, The Tennessee Poet

    It is interesting to me that when I start to write, the words take on a life of their own. Sometimes they choose to rhyme, sometimes not. I write in botany rhyme and free verse and am I firm believer that there is no right or wrong when it comes to poetry. I much prefer rhyme over those works that contain so much ” WORDSMITHERY” that I have no idea what the poet is trying to say. We all need to do what works best for us and not worry about it. I enjoy your poetry Kevin.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Many thanks for your comment, Walt. I agree with you that we all need to do what works best for us and not worry about it. I am also in agreement with your view that poems take on a life of their own. I have often picked up my virtual pen intending to write in a particular way and/or on a specific subject, only to find my work developing in an unexpected manner. Thanks for your kind words about my poetry. I am pleased you enjoy reading my work. Kind regards – Kevin

  3. of whims and words

    I love rhyming poetry and I think I do a nice job rhyming. Like you, I’ve had feedback that free verse is the much preferred form for readers and poets / writers. I tried on many occasions to go free verse but I somehow find a way to rhyme. It’s in my blood.

    I’ve noticed on Instagram how rhyming poetry is looked down upon and I’ve lost hope trying to reach followers or getting feedback. Now I don’t concern myself (except when I’m feeling really low) with figures / stats, I just write what I want to write. I often read online about posting good content – content readers would love to read – so I can have an increased engagement. I agree your content should be good but I’m not going to force myself to write something to please readers. I will write what I want to read and make me happy.

    I, for one, love your rhymes! It’s witty and funny!

    Here’s to the few who still believe in rhyming poetry – whoop! whoop!

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      I wholeheartedly agree with you about writing what comes naturally to you/makes you happy rather than chasing popularity, increased numbers of followers. There is no point in producing content which leaves you feeling empty, so keep writing from your heart/what comes naturally to you.

      I think that rhyme is also in my blood, and thank you for your kind words about my poetry. Sometimes things go in circles. I do know people who love rhyming poetry and it may be that rhyme will come back into fashion. However, whether something is fashionable or otherwise is, in the final analysis irrelevant, as one should write what provides you with inner contentment. I’m sorry that Instagram didn’t work for you. I do post on Instagram (instagram.com/kmorrispoet), but see my main focus as publishing on kmorrispoet.com and, of course in the form of books on Amazon.

      The best of luck with your writing.

      Best wishes – Kevin

  4. Jerry Brotherton

    I’ve been told by ‘Experts’ that rhyming poetry is outdated.
    My reply to them is that their expertise might be overrated.
    However, I do feel comfortable with both rhyming and free verse poetry. But I will say that rhyming poetry leaves me with a greater sense of fulfillment.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Thank you for your comment and the rhyme at the start! I feel comfortable with both, however my preference is (as with you) for rhyme. Thanks again for commenting.

      Best wishes – Kevin

  5. debbiejonesalwaysamused

    I agree with you, too, Kevin. Rhyming poetry is definitely my favoured way to write, and read, because of its flow & lyrical quality. I also think my brain relates to rhyme more easily. I do like to read free verse, if its subject matter appeals & I don’t have to take an age to decipher it! Up until now, I’ve only written one poem that didn’t rhyme, which was during a poetry day on a theme, & nothing was coming to me that rhymed, in that particular situation. When I went to a Spring poetry afternoon, earlier this year, there were some ladies who were part of a group who meet up regularly, to discuss each other’s poems. They’ve also produced several booklets, and from what I could see, they all only write in free verse. Certainly, the two ladies I sat with only wrote free verse. They said they found rhyming poetry much harder. I have read before about critics not liking rhyming poetry, but I’ve also read critics’ scathing reviews of films & stage shows etc before, yet I’ve loved every minute! It’s all a matter of taste, like so many things in life. There’s nothing to say they are right or wrong, but I find it sad that one type of verse is frowned upon. If it was music, I doubt there would be this snobbery towards rhyme.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Many thanks for your comments, Debbie. I would be interested to read your non-rhyming poem. If its online would you mind linking to it please? Its fascinating how some poets find it easier to write in free verse while others prefered form is rhyme. It all makes for a more varied and interesting poetry landscape! I agree with you about critics, just because a critic slates a particular poem, film or book, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the work in question lacks merit, indeed many non-critics may rate it highly. Conversely if critics give a work a good review, it does not necessarily follow that the majority of non-critics will be of the same view. I’m sure you are right also about snobbery playing a part in some instances at least. Kind regards – Kevin

      1. debbiejonesalwaysamused

        Thank you for your reply. Kevin. You’re right about reading both rhyming & free verse, they do make for a more interesting poetry landscape. I imagine most people who write poetry have tried the other type at some point, if they favour one particular way of writing. I’m sure I’ll try free verse again. The non-rhyming poem I wrote was at a poetry day, at the end of April, with the theme of Death. I really enjoyed the whole day & although the accompanying post is quite long, it explains about what happened during that day.
        I was surprised how well the poem worked & at the reaction I got from it being read out loud. Hopefully, they’ll run another poetry day in the Autumn. Thank you for asking, Kevin, all the best for a great weekend. I’m a bit behind on WordPress at the moment, hopefully, I’ll catch up during the weekend!

      2. K Morris Poet Post author

        Many thanks for the link Debbie. I shall take a look. I will look forward to reading your verse irrespective of whether it is of the free or the rhyming kind. I, also will probably experiment with free verse in the future, although I am sure that my preference will remain for poetry that rhymes. Enjoy your weekend. Its already 17 degrees here in London and I must confess that as a non-sun worshipper I’m not looking forward to it hitting 30, but perhaps I am a spoil sport!

        Best wishes – Kevin

  6. debbiejonesalwaysamused

    Hope the heat didn’t cause you & Trigger too much grief over the weekend, Kevin, I know you were due to have it a lot hotter than us & it does tend to feel more humid closer to cities, I usually find. I do sympathise, I’m not a lover of the very hot weather, either. Luckily, it wasn’t too overpowering here, in the main, & we did have a very nice weekend, thank you, I hope you did too! I’m like you, I’m sure I’ll still prefer writing in rhyme, for most of the time, & have the odd dabble into free verse, if the fancy takes! I guess sometimes it can depend how you’re feeling, emotions can carry you away unexpectedly & the need to express those, could impact on your creativity. I think that is what may have happened to me at the poetry day. It’s all very interesting, Kevin..but I’m sure you know that already, with all your writing experience!

    Just an aside, if you haven’t heard it, but Stephen Fry was a guest on BBC Radio 2 recently, for an episode of, “What Makes Us Human” & his thoughts about language. I enjoyed it immensely, so have included a link for you to listen to, here..it’s about 25 minutes long I think, but well worth it, in my opinion…enjoy!


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