Ask the Editor: Varying Rhyming Patterns in Poetry

Filed in Ask the Editor by on April 18, 2013 0 Comments

Xulon Press Ask the EditorThe debate on rhyming in poetry produces skewed results. Should poets use end rhymes or not? Some argue that rhyming in poetry creates a natural rhythm that cannot be produced in any other form. Others encourage poets to do away with rhyming, as it creates a distracting predictability. Below is a brief list to shed light on rhyming patterns that deviate from your average end rhyme pattern. The key here is to challenge yourself to be inspired by an innovative rhyming scheme that retains the musical tones in your writing without the cliché predictability.

  • Half Rhyme/Slant Rhyme/Off Rhyme. This rhyme scheme is a subtle rhyme where rhyming occurs usually by matching words that contain similar vowels or consonants. This style utilizes words that should rhyme, but don’t form a full on rhyme pattern (e.g. tall, tell).
  • Internal Rhyme. Internal rhyme is effective in creating two rhyming words in a line. This gives the reader more rhymes to work with in a shorter span and also creates a highly entertaining rhythmic style. Shakespeare uses internal rhyming in his sonnets to create this entertaining pattern (e.g. using the words willow and pillow in the same line of a poem).
  • Refrain. Refrain uses repetition for end words in a line to emphasize a key word in a poem. The style rhyme using the same word, so readers can expect the rhyme, but doesn’t contain a varying end rhyme.  This style is popular in some songs and classic poems.
  • Eye Rhymes. Eye rhymes create a rhyme pattern based on words that look like they create a perfect rhyme, but don’t. These are mainly to cater to a visible appeal, but not an audible one (e.g. shove/prove).
  • Homonyms. This patterns functions to appear to the audible senses, but not the visual appeal. This pattern uses words that don’t retain a similar visual appeal, but have audible similarities (e.g. Fair/fare, hour/our).

The list is not comprehensive, however using any one (or more) of the above patters could challenge you to say something different in your poetry. You can retain your rhythm with an innovative twist on words that demonstrates your lyrical versatility and wordplay.

Prompt: In order to kick start your poems, use one or more of the above styles. Use one pattern per line in one poem. You can begin with using a classic end line rhyme pattern, to switching to using any of the other styles. Remember to have fun!

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About the Author ()

Krystina Murray is a Staff Editor at Xulon Press with over six years of editing experience. When she isn’t helping writers improve their manuscripts, she devotes her time to crafting poetry and short stories, maintains an exciting food blog and completes copy writing advertisements for small businesses.

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