For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.
On poetry: a slight reprise: Three posts ago, I think, I started discussing my verse, and poetry in general. I think that I will now return to that theme. I will start with the matter of rhyme.
Rhyme: I quite like my poetry to rhyme. The only thing to be careful about is that your verse does not end up coming across as a nursery rhyme – unless that is the effect that you are after. Sometimes that may be exactly what you want.
If you want to make things easy for yourself purchase a rhyming dictionary. They aren’t all that expensive, and they can save you a lot of time: don’t be stuck on a rhyme, just look it up.
By using a rhyming dictionary you may find that the rhymes it offers you spark a brain cell, and you see how your poem might be improved, by taking it down a slightly different path. This is where structures like rhyme may, in fact, bring a certain type of freedom; or, at times, something approaching inspiration. Darius Guppy rhymes with yuppie; treachery rhymes with lechery; and so on. Already your poetical juices should be beginning to flow.
If you do wish to use rhymes in your poetry then you should try to avoid certain words. If you can think of rhymes to orange or physics then you are a better rhymester than I. also, you might want to avoid words which have very few rhymes, such as postal or kopeck. go for words with lots of rhymes: words such as dear or flee.
There are words which almost rhyme but not quite: words such as tine and rhyme, with the N sound not rhyming with the M sound. Don’t use these by accident, simply because you cannot find a rhyme which you like for your verse. Better to have no rhyme than a bad one. But these can be used to create dissonance in your work, to make things a little jarring, especially if you are careful when you use them. You could have a long poem, of AA, BB, CC, etc, iambic pentameter. If the final line does not rhyme with the penultimate one then it should certainly cause a reader to notice. I consider this to be poetic dissonance.
Then there are things called ‘eye rhymes.’ These look the same to the eye, but are not pronounced the same way. An example is the words bough and tough. Another example is the words roan and loan.
Personally, I do not bother with eye rhymes. But there is no reason why you should not use them, if you want to. Perhaps you could write an entire poem utilising eye rhymes, where it looks like each couplet of lines rhymes, but none of them do.
Meter: I gave an example of iambic pentameter in a previous post. But maybe I should explain some of the more common meters.
Iambic: This is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one an example (with the stresses underlined) would be:
I go, my friend, to where there is an end.
Trochaic: This, the trochee, is the opposite of an iamb. It has a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one. Example:
Daily failings hurt my spirit.
Anapestic: This is two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed one. One example might be:
On the horse in the race you go fast
Dactylic: This is a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones, such as in the words:
Spondaic: This is two stressed syllables, such as:
Those are the main metric feet. Of course there is no reason why any poet, these days, should have to use any of them, if they do not wish to. But I think that it is useful to know them. They can tend to have special effects: for example we are familiar with the iambic meter from William Shakespeare. It sounds right to our ears. And I feel that the anapestic meter can sometimes sound kinetic, because the stress happens less often.
Line length: or how many feet you have in each line. This may not be thought to be important. But the shorter a line (if it rhymes), the more often that rhymes will be encountered. With lines of different lengths new forms of poetry can be created.
If any people want to comment on aspects of this post I may return to it at a later date.