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Tips from Talented Rhymers

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 6:46 PM
Rhyming shouldn't be stigmatized over poor examples or be embraced as the only poetic form available to the writer due to the many classical examples from centuries before. It should be used if the writer is comfortable with it, or it is a part of how they write, or what they are writing calls for rhyming. The writers below are all talented at their craft and have generously accepted to contribute to the article.


InsomniaA miniature moon floats sleepily
atop my open window;
a drifting continent sifting
over shivering tree tops.
Watery clouds explore along the
broken crest of atoms,
fingers rolling in the shadows
of its dimensions.
My skewed sight steadily begins to
repaint the scattered stars and
one by one like raindrops,
they burst across the sky
Breathing down in thoughtful shafts
upon the inside of my eyelids.
I'm thankful to be an insomniac.
His fingertips splashed through the ivory keys
With ripples that scattered in rows
While windows bloomed petals of watery pinks
Each kissing his cheeks with a glow
Releasing his notes like a bird caged in spring
He untangled the keys from their din
Making sense of a sequence not meant to be seen
He etches them deep in his skin.
He performs for the windows and plays for the halls
The curtains will sway in his song
The picture frames quiver and jump from the walls
Beneath the great rush of his palms.
So I open my window, before I lay rest
Just to capture a trace of his spawn
It's been years since I've heard it, but still I await
for the chime of the Pianist's song.

  • What is your opinion on rhyming literature on deviantART?
    Traditionally fixed literature in any place (not strictly deviantArt), can seem either very natural and effortless, or very forced. Although free verse tends to be significantly more popular here, there's something in a rhythmic poem that free verse does not always capture. Just like word choice or metaphors, the melody of a poem also helps in the telling of the story.
  • Do you have any tips for writers struggling with rhyme?
    First know this: Rhyme does not constitute whether a poem is better or worse. What does, however, is being sure to select language that you feel enhances the communication of that poem. While rhythm and meters are fantastic, you should never trade the message of your poetry for the chance to rhyme "you" with "blue". What I'm saying is, if you can make the poem rhyme and flow without reconfiguring your sentences into unnatural paraphrases, then bye all means go for it! But at the same time, giving up the contents of a poem simply for the sake of rhyme defeats the purpose. I mean, what is poetry but self-expression?
  • Do you prefer a consistent rhyme scheme throughout? Why or why not?
    In all honesty, I have no personal preference. A consistent rhyme scheme is always good in that, eventually I know what to expect and can focus more on the contents rather than the mechanics, but an unpredictable rhyme scheme is always that much more exciting!

  • Do you have any advice for writers struggling to rhyme out here in the lit community?
    Honestly, the simplest advice is probably the best: don't force it. I think a big reason some people have an aversion to rhyming poetry is that a lot of the time rhymes can feel forced. No one wants to see the same 20 words in a poem, just because they're easy to rhyme. A couple of other simple suggestions: read all types of literature and take inspiration from talented songwriters/lyricists. Oh, and listen to hip hop. All of those things will help expand your vocabulary.
  • How did you learn to rhyme the way you do?
    I first got interested in writing in grade school. At that age, rhyming poetry is where it's at. When I hit high school, I started writing lyrics for bands I was in. Actually, I started writing lyrics for bands that didn't actually exist, but eventually started playing music for real and writing lyrics accordingly. When I first made the transition to poetry, I was heavily influenced by people like Ginsberg, Bukowski, and cummings, so I tried to stay as far away from rhymes as possible. As I got a bit more comfortable with writing, I started to let the rhymes sneak in a bit. I also started doing open mic nights, not only for poetry but also hip hop verses/attempts at freestyling, and that sort of brought me full circle on rhyming. Now I'm equally comfortable writing something that's rhyme-packed as I am writing something rhyme-free.
  • Do you have any specific method of selecting rhymes or is it spontaneous?
    I definitely don't have any specific method. Like with all my scribbles, if it feels/sounds right, I'll use it. Almost all of what I write is heavily influenced by the sounds of the words when read aloud, rhyming or not. There are some instances when I'll set out to write a rhyming poem, particularly if the situation seems to suit a rhyme scheme. This tends to happen when I work with certain visual artists, like the remarkably talented o0Amphigory0o.


temptresses and temperamentsa swearing siren
in the night;
i am right from an abyss
and left from scylla,
counting teeth
that stream in filaments
and abscess pillars.
still attentively
though the beating
of the waves sent
seething charon
sweeping through the deep
with oars that echo.
heaving chests
bruise, ribs crack,
deaths swoon;
bested as a bare breast
whips backs
and lets doom
settle in the crescent
of the moon.
a swearing siren
in the night,
so i am deaf
with all my might.
quoth the clotheda small calling
through a silken flex
black as spent embers
with a smoke
of tender sassing
charcoal dusted
over untrusted
to never speak
a quelled welling
of a sultry hex
smooth as stayed oceans
with a mist
of motion glassing
tide crashing
over tooth-gnashing
that never move
a dull culling
with a lipstick edge
red as lives whited
with a spray
of spited passing
dust sheeting
over fast fleeting

  • Do you have any advice for writers struggling to rhyme?
    Experiment. Create new rhyme schemes. Slant rhyme. Read words aloud to pick out suitable partners. Read other people's poetry. Try writing in a traditional fixed form; sometimes working within constraints gives you the most freedom. Browse a thesaurus or even just a dictionary for a new word. Use the alphabet trick: starting with 'a' add every letter to the beginning of your desired rhyme sound. Let the rhyme morph as you go to keep things fresh. around, bound, cound?, crowned, drowned, flounder, ground, etc. Do a crossword puzzle. Most importantly, never stop writing. Even a passing thought can be refined or expounded upon later on. Always be proud of your work.
  • How did you learn to rhyme the way you do?
    Music, I suppose. I have always been a very lyrics-focused person. When I first started out my writing was heavily influenced by the music I was listening to at the time. I had just started college and was ravenously discovering new music via the culture-smash that is freshman year. All those new styles really got me experimenting with word choice and rhythm and rhyme. For a while I was very into rap. Not so much your average club rap but very well-crafted, eloquent rap. An expertly written sixteen bars can be the best kick-start to thinking in rhyme and rhythm.
  • Is there any specific reason why people should include rhymes in free verse?
    Rhyme is intoxicating. It draws the reader in and keeps them entertained. It establishes a rhythm that aids readability and that is, without the aid of music, the quickest way to establish the momentum of your piece. A dense rhyme scheme can convey tenseness, unease, or vigor. A casual dancing rhyme can read as peaceful, alluring, and safe. And mixing the two can cause all kinds of fun. Besides that, rhyme keeps the writer's mind entertained and whirring along. And an entertained writer is a prolific writer.


The SiegeThe first mile is always the easiest.
         —Kyle Lynn to me, circa 2006

Tell that to the ghosts,
men soaked in sand and blood spray,
storming the shores of Normandy.
First Infantry's sprint through coastal
trenches, up bluffs, under ruptured drays.
Tell that to the ghosts
huddled in half-channeled holes,
a captain's dash through shrapnel, gray
storm on the shores of Normandy.
A German boy adrift in the compost
of his legs, his elbows' grand flail.
Tell that to the ghosts
ripped in four by mortars posted
over Omaha. Dawn's evenly keeled decay
storming the shores of Normandy.
How quickly the lung forgets to oust
its breath. Be wary of the sea's affray.
Tell that to the ghosts
storming the shores of Normandy.
Sonnet 4                         for my grandmother
Her flowers, softly pressed against her palm,
have lost their quiet gift of sunlit breath
in lieu of gentle summer's song, this psalm
hushed now by looming mute of living death.
The owl's lonely mating cry rings out
against the fjord today, and still I find
her shorn cloth adorning my clouded route
home. Roughly textured skin of night confined
my skin; however, the small trestles built
from earth to hidden light behind the moon
guide me to her in sleep. Her petals lilt
toward my lap, hold me until the room
becomes a slowing top. They fall the way
she falls. The dark blends calmly into gray.

  • What is your opinion on rhyming literature on deviantART?
    I think it's a mixed bag, really, though I think that its this way simply because of the nature of deviantART. The site is, ultimately, for learning and developing a particular craft, whatever that craft may be. A lot of people just starting out writing poetry seem to have a preconceived notion that rhyming poetry has to have one (or more) of three things: Perfect end rhyme, end-line punctuation, and rhymes in couplets.  These three things, when used sparingly, can be effective tools in the poet's toolkit; however, overuse of these things, along with the lack of concrete imagery, can lead to some really stale work.
  • Do you have any tips for writers struggling with rhyme?
    Don't be afraid to make a mistake. Try something that is outside the box. And be ready to put in a lot of work – it is harder to make a rhyming poem that effectively conveys what you want to convey, because there are so many traps, clichés and pitfalls you have to look out for.

    If the flow of a poem is becoming disjointed, try rewording lines or phrases to create a greater sense of enjambment. End punctuation is great, but only use it (as with anything in poetry) if it truly adds weight to a poem.

    When using rhymes (and especially end rhymes), it is important to come up with rhymes that are surprising and unexpected – I know that when I am reading a piece, nothing turns me off of the work more than rhymes I can guess before I even reach them. Slant rhymes (i.e. near rhymes) are excellent to employ in these situations.
  • Do you find slanted or perfect rhymes to work better than one or the other when writing? Or do they each have their own uses?
    I think they each have a place in poetry; I am not of the camp of handicapping a poet by not allowing him or her to utilize every tool in his kit. What it all comes down to is the manner in which a poem's content is told, and certainly there are better and worse ways of going about doing this, but nobody can tell you what they are; you just have to experiment.

    I enjoy perfect rhymes more when they are dealt with internally or in places where enjambment is maintained. In these places, perfect rhymes are not as noticeable because there isn't as much emphasis placed on them as in places that have an end stop, for example. At an end stop, because the rhyme is the last word before a complete thought and pause, a reader has more time to reflect on the rhyme employed. If it is a stale or uninteresting rhyme (a "Hallmark rhyme"), it increases the likelihood that the reader will find the work, as a whole, uninteresting, regardless of whether or not the work contains merit elsewhere.

    I also think that slant rhyme can be effective in places where refrains or monorhymes (rhyming a word with itself) are used. In my nested villanelle, "Into the Light," on of the refrains ends with the word 'mote,' but in the last quatrain of the piece, which contains all four refrains found throughout the poem, I altered this word and offered a slant rhyme, 'moit,' instead. This is significant not only for the slight difference in meaning, but also for the unexpected change. At this point in the poem, a reader (whether aware of it or not) has been trained to hear 'mote.' The introduction of a slightly different word offers surprise to close the piece, but the substitution of the word does not disrupt the flow of the poem.

  • What is your opinion of rhyming literature in deviantART?
    i think there are true talents who shine as well as those who are still honing their skills...then there are just hacks like me!
  • Do you have any tips for writers struggling with rhymes?
    don't stress. there are usually several different ways to make any given point. if one path seems stuck in a non- or half-rhyme play with how you are saying what you want to say and you may find the phonic convergence you are looking for.
    if it feels forced or off, it probably is...although learning to use off kilter meter and rhyme to unsettle the reader is a secret of poetry ninjas everywhere...well, it's not so much of a secret anymore.
  • Do you think it's practical to include rhymes in free verse?
    i don't know about practical, but i do it. for me, poetry is organic (even if i am maintaining a strict form), and organic isn't always what we mere humans would consider practical.

Article compiled by ^NicSwaner and *reflectionsinwater.

My apologies for the delay to those who were interviewed.

Major edit: Due to several suggestions, the previously available guide on rhyming is being heavily revised and will make a return soon! Any comments that are not directed at the article itself or do not engage in a healthy discussion will be hidden.

Other news: the Literature Scavenger Hunt results should be up sometime by next week. :)
Add a Comment:
Beaple Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013
There was more to this??
Fucking, put it back!
Send it to me!
Something - what else did you have to say?!
Fuck the douches.
Beaple Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013
Rhythm - Rhyme's twin brother - needs a little shout out, here.
deinktvis Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Student Writer
glad i could help!
Lucy-Merriman Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Student General Artist
I like this interview :D I guess I got here post-edit, so I don't know what it was before that people were upset about, but I really like it as it is now.
JakesException Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
Dude... This has got fucking mutilated...
I was going to consider linking this on my page but... Wow... I don't even...
/Quits poetry for another couple of months./
jswebb Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013   Writer
JakesException Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
Erm... I don't know what I've gotten this thumbs up for, but thank you. _"
Itti Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well I didn't read what it was before, but I think the new title is appropriate and fits better the subject matter, which I enjoyed reading.
spoems Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013   Writer
MissLunaRose Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013   General Artist
What a wonderful article! This is the sort of thing I must read twice. :D

Also, congratulations on making the deviantART footer!
TehAngelsCry Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Wow, such a well planned and thoughtful article :) Will you expand it later to include other rhyming styles like `PinkyMcCoversong mentioned?
Nichrysalis Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yes. :)
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ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
For something with the dramatic and broad title "How-to: Rhyme", this falls woefully short. At the very, very least, the opening of the piece should note 1) that the 'guide' reflects the terminology and thoughts of a few individuals, not actual scholarly/educational consensus on the topic, and 2) is far from comprehensive, tackling only a tiny portion of the subject matter and even that portion only superficially. As an educational tool, this is actually more misleading than informative, and a novice reading this will come away with an exceptionally poor understanding of rhyme.

In addition to the gaping holes in this guide mentioned above by `PinkyMcCoversong, here are some comments I have about this guide:
:bulletred: feminine/secondary and tertiary rhymes are not mentioned even though "Multiple Syllable Use" is a heading in the piece
:bulletred: links to more thorough, outside sources (a great part of any guide) are absent
:bulletred: no mention is made of the use of rhyming dictionaries or their online counterparts, despite their extreme usefulness to novice rhymers (with caveats of course, but that's something the guide could address--how to use a rhyming dictionary)
:bulletred: stellar examples of rhyme from famous poets are absent--they could make an excellent subheader to open each section, or could be included in a 'further research' link section
:bulletred: using your own terms instead of common terms does your readers a disservice
:bulletred: mention could be made of the most common poetic forms that rely on or require rhyme, to illustrate how a novice rhymer might utilize his new skills
:bulletred: the "parting tips" occupy the vast majority of the piece, which is odd (there are some good insights in there--it might be better to call this "Some Thoughts on Rhyme from the dA Literature Community" and remove everything before the "Parting Tips", draft a new short introduction with a disclaimer about these being opinions and not facts, and leave up the interviews)

In fact, that's probably the best thing that can be done with this.
Nichrysalis Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm sorry to hear this disappointed you, but I'm delighted you have given feedback as to where you found it lacking. Perhaps you could proofread a future, more comprehensive guide on the subject? :) This article in particular was only meant to scratch the surface.
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
Then it might be a good idea to say "this is only meant to scratch the surface" somewhere in the opening section.

I would love to see a more comprehensive guide (and even give feedback on it). I honestly don't think that I'm qualified to write anything more than another basic guide, though--my formal training in rhyme is pretty minimal. Someone with better credentials would be better for the job.
gliitchlord Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013   Writer
YouInventedMe Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013   Writer
great article. I'm honored to be among such talented deviants.
Is-lnds Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
when i saw rhyme i the title
i instantly say to myself 10
dollars says shane is mentioned

sure enough.
YouInventedMe Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013   Writer
wherever I go, there I am.
Is-lnds Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
TheCreativeJenn Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
This article is godsend!! Just the resource I need to help bring my first illustration book to life. It is also extravagant that you included `YouInventedMe's insight on how to 'cure' one's struggle to rhyme effectively. I also enjoy *JakesException on differentiating effects such as comparing Poop to Shit. He has a unique style! :giggle:

Great job!! 5 stars!!! :star::star::star::star::star:
JakesException Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
Ha - thanks, I guess.
If you ever need any help, feel free to send me a Note or something.
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Writer
This article completely misses the importance of slant rhyme, in-rhyme vs. end-rhyme, and the fact that consonance is a form of rhyme that does not depend on vowels. I also disagree that rhyme necessarily manipulates rhythm. Definitely when you have a full end-rhyme or are using metre or an imposed rhythm yes, it's related. But rhyme and rhythm are not always used in conjunction with each other. It might be worth working on a rewrite with someone more experienced in the field.
Nichrysalis Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, some things have been omitted, such as consonance. This wasn't intended to be an all-around guide but rather more to address the most commonly used form of rhyming which relies on assonance.
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Writer
I would say that consonance is more commonly used. It seemed like it was supposed to be comprehensive, from the title. It just seems really unthorough. D:
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