Recently, while surfing through the myriad of poetry websites online, I found out that
“many aspiring and established poets of today feel that rhyme, meter, and other
poetic devices interfere with the purity of the poetic content or dilute the emotional
directness of the message.” Many say so, or something similar, on their website.
Well, let’s see what they are talking about because I definitely need clarification in
order to determine the validity of this statement. If what they say is true, then I would
have to conclude that many rhyming poets of the past need to get their status as
poets revoked. We don’t have to go all the way back to the origin of poetry, but let’s
start with Shakespeare, Dante, and Christopher Marlowe, poets who are studied
and still read today.
Have any of these poets or anyone else for that matter, making this claim, even
read these poets? Obviously not, because there’s no way you can prove by these
famous, timeless poets that “rhyme and meter interfered with the purity of the poetic
content” of their poems, much less, “diluted the emotional directness of the
message.” Anyone trying to make a case strictly for free verse poetry on this basis
has no idea what they are talking about. The way I see it, free verse poetry has
flourished in America simply because poets have decided to take the easy way
out. No matter how you slice it, it takes more talent to write Neo-formalist (the
current terminology) poetry than it does to write free verse poetry. In essence,
society has taken a step backward when it comes to the art of poetry.
This all leads me to ask one simple question of these individuals:
Why don’t you simply admit you don’t have the talent or know-how for rhyming
By the way, yes, I have read (and studied) all of these poets, and many, many more.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
George Gordon, Lord Byron
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edgar Allan Poe (my all-time favorite)
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
and many, many others.