Welcome to Writers Talkback. If you are a new user, your account will have to be approved manually to prevent spam. Please bear with us in the meantime

no rhyme verse.

edited April 2017 in Writing
I really am nonplussed. Looked at a couple of new books of verse in the library and find they consist only of a series of short sentences of comments or even story like but are , to me, prose, not verse.
Verse, which I will allow, need not necessarily rhyme (though I prefer that it should) but it should have rhythm and meter. These writings are just a dissertation of random events which, again , to me, are perhaps like so-called Modern Art which are meaningless expressions of tormented minds.
IF, like modern art, this form of verse or a bad joke, it is not self explanatory it has failed to achieve any purpose and should be ignored.


  • I just looked up the definition of poetry – "literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm".

    If what you read really is just "a dissertation of random events" which don't express opinions and ideas, and have no sense of rhythm, then I'd probably agree with you in not considering them to be poems.
  • Hi pongo. I agree that much so-called poetry is meaningless claptrap. At least to me! If a poem has to be explained or interpreted then I'm not interested.
    But it doesnt have to rhyme. Liz Brownlee's usually doesn't but it's definitely poetry with rhythm.
  • Acksherly - my poems usually do rhyme, but often not obviously. although I've written more that don't rhyme recently.

    I would disagree, also. A poem can also be a poem simply by the way it is set out on the page. A poem is also visual.

    The meaning is something else - sadly there is a lot of poetry from which I can discern no meaning, but that doesn't mean it's not there. My friend Kathy reads much more widely and deeply than me, a lot of ancient poetry, a lot of literary texts, a lot of history, and what to me is meaningless she can understand because it references those texts she has read. This, to me, is another sort of poetry. Not the sort I enjoy, but the sort a certain type of reader enjoys. They are almost like a puzzle and appeal to those with an intellect I do not possess! But often contain a great beauty which you can also hear when it is read aloud.

    i haven't seen what you mean, pongo - can you provide a link to an Amazon copy so we can see if we can take a peek inside?
  • Hi, Pongo - long time no hear!
    I'm with you in that if I have to dissect a poem to glean its meaning, then I can't be bothered with it. Poems - just like prose - just like art - have to make sense to me pretty much instantly. I can't be doing with anything that smacks of pretentiousness.
  • A poem can also be a poem simply by the way it is set out on the page.
    I disagree. Simply setting out random words, or the instruction leaflet for an electric toothbrush, to look like a poem, wouldn't create poetry.

    I do agree that the visual element can be very important. But if that's all there is, then it's an image, not a poem.
  • No, i don't mean that you can set out anything and it would be a poem - but it is possible to have something that is poetic in the way it is set out and its meaning combined, and the meaning is not always apparent.

    But it's horses for courses - there should be a variety of poems and just because meaning is not apparent to one person does not mean it is pretentious.

    I am sure that there are people who write pretentiously. But I don't think everything I can't understand is.

    We were given on the MA I did some pieces of poetry and asked to say what we thought they meant - on the 'holiday' which was part of the course - everyone, the novelists and poets and screenwriters all did the same tasks as a sort of bonding exercise. I had NO idea what the piece we were given meant but as soon as someone else cleverer than me decoded it is was like having a veil lifted. I have to say I kind of enjoyed the wrestling with that text... I'm not a person who wants to do that with an entire book but can see the appeal.
  • Also - is rhythm necessary? What if it sparks another type of emotion, laughter, for instance. That is what a poem should do spark a feeling, a response. It should be nice to say, but what if it doesn't have a rhythm, but is satisfying to say, and makes you laugh... but has no rhyme, structure, or indeed, more than one word? Is that a poem?

    I'm sure Josh won't mind me putting this here:

    A One-Word Poem That Can Make A Room Full of Small Children Laugh


    Joshua Seigal

  • No it isn't a poem - it's a joke. IMO, of course.

    With the rise of flash fiction and prose poetry 'what is a poem' has become more blurred than ever. A poem doesn't have to have every type of poetic structure/content, but it has to have something that distinguishes it from prose. IMO.
  • LizLiz
    edited April 2017
    Oh, yes, it does. But a title and a set-out that makes it look like a poem so that it s clear that the author means it as a poem, which makes you laugh BECAUSE it is called a poem, is a joke poem -imo!

    I think poetry is about playing with words. If the words are being played with - probably it's a poem. Prose is just conveying thoughts, ideas, emotions, stories, information.
  • I'd call that a joke about poetry, rather than a poetic joke. It works though, whatever we call it.

  • Well, stirred a bit of comment anyway. Perhaps my age is beginning to show as
    "fings sure ain't what they used to be".
    Perhaps Kilmer had it right when he wrote that he thought he would never see a poem as lovely as a tree and why.
  • That was written by a woman. Joyce Kilmer.
  • Over time, I have joined many a writing forum for those who write poetry (Goodreads, LinkedIn, etc), but I am mostly disappointed by what I see. I do think it's difficult to get right and try my best to get better at it. It's so refreshing to come across good poetry. Thankfully, there are some excellent poets right here in our midst. =D>

    A bugbear of mine is a poem which is actually a paragraph of prose randomly chopped up. I also hate cliche in poetry - but don't we all?

    I'm not particularly fond of in-your-face-rhyme, unless it's for comic effect, but I like clever rhyme which is there, but not immediately obvious.

    When I come across a good poem, I like to read it again and again so that I can appreciate every delicious mouthful of it.
  • The skill in rhyme is to make it completely a part of the poem - if it's just there because it rhymes that sticks out like a sore thumb. If I want to say something in a rhyming poem and there is a word that would do but is too obvious or ugly i just don't use it, find another way to say it. Or don't say it, say something different. Poems should be completely natural, and that is my first rule - sentences should be in a natural order and rhymes should be invisible unless they are there for comic effect as Nell so rightly says.
  • sentences should be in a natural order
    Yes! That too.

    And I hate it when modern poets use archaic language like 'doth'!

  • That's ridiculous. It's always people who think that's how poems should be - or the ludicrously pretentious. We are 21st century poets. We talk 21st century language and that's the way to communicate ideas - so people understand. also, people use it lazily because it's easier sometimes to use archaic language to fit a scan... another no-no!
  • edited April 2017
    This is an interesting discussion.
  • edited April 2017
    The lady doth protest too much
    That poets may be out of touch
    Inversions I will use astutely
    If only thus to show their beaut(l)y
  • Hello, Betsie!
  • This lady won't protest too much
    about you being out-of-touch
    (but inversions are the Devil's tools
    and only used by evil fools)
  • *waits for reply*
  • edited April 2017
    Tis evil you are calling me
    Just for some pretty poesy?
    Methinks thou art of witches cursed
    To criticise such comely verse!
  • Oh goodness me you cannot rhyme
    cursed and verse it's asinine...
    pretty poesy my arse
    more like anachronistic farce
  • Now now ladies!
    Please don't fight
    I'm settling down
    For a peaceful night!
  • There there my dear Lizzy
    don't get in such a tizzy
    we love each other dearly
    just a fun fight really
  • It's good to know that all is well
    But a spat in verse is kinda swell

  • I have forgot the golden rule
    One cannot argue with a fool
    If that's the kind of filth you utter
    The foulest verbiage from the gutter
    Then I this game shall no more play
    Farewell I bid thee, and good day
  • Ah, I thought you'd like medieval curses,
    and more than that and what is worse is
    you will never read this on this thread
    for you have gone and up and fled...
  • LizLiz
    edited April 2017
    (Saying the same thing over and over in a poem is also a crime. As are 'empty' lines just there to reach the next line that has something to say, because of lack of skill or rhyming ability.)
  • Old pop lyrics contain some appealing poetry. I'm thinking Bert Bacharach, John Lennon, Fleetwood Mac, Simon and Garfunkel.
  • So do new ones!
Sign In or Register to comment.