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Poetry Group

  • Nov 17, 2012 · 3:00 PM
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Rhyme is one of those things that seems simple until you really start looking at it. It's been around for so long that people have developed many different types and styles of rhyme and their use mixed and interspersed can provide a rich and enjoyable reading experience. On the other hand, if not done carefully rhyme can so easily sound childish and quaint.

This month, we'll be taking a look at the various forms of rhyme and how they can be used for a fun poetic experience. Here is one standard definition of rhyme from

rhyme /raɪm/ [rahym] noun, verb, rhymed, rhym·ing.

noun 1. identity in sound of some part, especially the end, of words or lines of verse.

2. a word agreeing with another in terminal sound: Find is a rhyme for mind and womankind.

3. verse or poetry having correspondence in the terminal sounds of the lines.

4. a poem or piece of verse having such correspondence.

Here is a slightly different definition of rhyme from


The repetition of syllables, typically at the end of a verse line. Rhymed words conventionally share all sounds following the word’s last stressed syllable. Thus “tenacity” and “mendacity” rhyme, but not “jaundice” and “John does,” or “tomboy” and “calm bay.” A rhyme scheme is usually the pattern of end rhymes in a stanza, with each rhyme encoded by a letter of the alphabet, from a onward (ABBA BCCB, for example). Rhymes are classified by the degree of similarity between sounds within words, and by their placement within the lines or stanzas.

These two pages briefly discuss varying styles and types of rhymes. As you'll notice, there are similarities in definitions but they don't match exactly. This is very common. You'll also notice that the terms themselves often change when speaking about the same type of rhyme. I.e. Sight rhyme is the same as eye rhyme and visual rhyme.

I think this should provide a good general overview of rhyme. Now for a few examples. I'm guessing almost everyone has read "The Raven" by Poe. It is a wonderful example of rhyme use as well as trochaic hexameter. We can discuss if briefly if people would like as it's a good jumping off point because of it universal familiarity. That being said, I found a wonderful poem that possibly some of you have read and perhaps some have not. I instantly fell in love with its playful and inventive use of rhyme as well as its adherence to a strict rhyme scheme. It is called "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service and can be found here:

Here is a link to Johnny Cash reciting the same poem:

I personally identified end rhyme, internal rhyme, and slant rhyme. I'll take another look to see if it also employs both male and female rhyme. The following is an Emily Dickenson poem I have seen sighted for sight rhyme. Personally, it looks much more like a good example of slant rhyme, but we can discuss it.

The Gentian weaves her fringes —
The Maple's loom is red —
My departing blossoms
Obviate parade.

A brief, but patient illness —
An hour to prepare,
And one below this morning
Is where the angels are —
It was a short procession,
The Bobolink was there —
An aged Bee addressed us —
And then we knelt in prayer —
We trust that she was willing —
We ask that we may be.
Summer — Sister — Seraph!
Let us go with thee!

In the name of the Bee —
And of the Butterfly —
And of the Breeze — Amen!

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