In defense of poetry that rhymes.

Last night, at the end of the prompt writing workshop I attended, the subject of poetry came up.

There were two poets in the class, one was quite accomplished and about to publish her third collection. They both write prose as well, thus the prompt workshop.

The discussion started when someone said that they couldn’t write poetry and one of the poets replied that people always say that.

Then one of the older gentlemen said that he didn’t understand poetry, that when he was growing up poetry rhymed and he liked that better. It made more sense to him than poetry that doesn’t rhyme.

The two poets exchanged bemused and somewhat condescending smiles. A sort of “oh, isn’t he silly and old-fashioned. Poetry isn’t supposed to rhyme anymore” look.

Well, maybe it’s silly, old-fashioned or uneducated, but I like my poetry to rhyme too.

I’m a literal person.

I take my prose as is. I don’t enjoy looking for deeper meaning or symbolism between the lines.

And poetry is full of deeper meaning and symbolism.

The cadence of metered verse and, yes, lines that rhyme help me make sense of it. And if I can’t make sense of it, at least I can enjoy the rhythm.

So, make fun of me because I’d rather read Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” instead of ee cummings “in Just-” (What the hell is a goat-footed balloon man anyway?).

Call me gauche for liking Poe more than Plath.

Roll your eyes when I say I prefer “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” to “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.”

There’s nothing wrong with a good rhyme.


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