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culdesac101 Profile
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Why rhyme pleases


by poet Simon Jarvis

http://www.thinkingverse.com/Simon%20Jarvis,%20Why%20rhyme%20pleases.pdf

Editing to fix defunct link:

I couldn't get that link to work, so try this one:

http://thinkingverse.com/issue01/Simon%20Jarvis,%20Why%20rhyme%20pleases.pdf



Last edited by Katlin, Mar/7/2014, 9:31 am
Jan/26/2011, 11:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to culdesac101   Send PM to culdesac101
 
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Hi Arka,

I've made a copy of this article and, since many of my recent poems are rhyme-afflicted, I'm looking forward to reading it. Is there a method to my madness? Maybe I'll find a clue. emoticon
Jan/27/2011, 2:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Arka, I made a lengthy post last night to your thread, then lost it somewhere in hyperspace.

Rhyme is a rum thing, why it pleases the ear even more so. I've read many explanations and still haven't figured out the why. I also sometimes think on where it came from, its origins. Not to be found in the two main traditions that inform Western prosody. Not in Old English, stemming from High German, and not in the Classical world's prosodic rules, working primarily in quantitative versification or the counting of syllabic feet. And yet by the 13th C it had become a norm. (Petrarch and the Goliardic poets.) A little earlier the Troubadors of Provence were rhyming, which inclines me to think the practice was yet another import made by the Moors coming out of North Africa and steeped in a tradition going back to the lit of ancient Persia. Funny to think on, huh? A practice firmly established in Western lit actually a foreign import. But I am no authority, so I can't really say.

Personally I've always been inclined to rhyme. So much so I've needed a couple of decades to get the tendancy out of my ears. No joke. While I've found different rhyming tricks, feminine rhyme, slant rhyme, internal rhyme, especially the irregular rhyme vers librists introduced, still I tend to fight against the inclination. Pound said something about the iambic produced rhythm of a line of poetry I think pertinent in any discussion of rhyme in general. "...the god damn iamb magnetizes certain verbal sequences." Do you catch the cautionary note? When certain verbal sequences get vectored so does expression itself. Once vectored, perhaps channeled, expressive possibilities get limited.

I'll always be inclined to rhyme of one sort or another. But I'll always keep in mind, fight against, the limitations that come with it.

Tere
Jan/29/2011, 5:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Hi Arka,

Who knew there were so many theories about rhyme? I've read the article several times now, enjoying the information and thinking, and intriqued by the question:

"Over the last decade or so, I have been trying to explore the question of whether music need be opposed to thinking in this way. Can there not be a musical or a prosodic thinking, a thinking which is not simply a little picture of, nor even a counterpoint to, that more familiar kind of thinking whose medium is essentially semantic and syntactic, but whose medium, instead, is essentially prosodic: a kind of thinking in tunes?"

Jarvis is absolutely right about Pope's use of assonance: "Pope’s virtuosity works through contamination between assonance and rhyme, so that the emphatic chords of end rhyme gain half their power from the whispers and mutterings which have gone before them."

I agree with this statement:

"Poets ’virtuosity with prosodic patterning and prosodic idiom is not something that can ever be contractually assured. It is, instead, a performance which, like a potlatch, calls for an answering performance from the reader. Virtuosity in writing prosodic tunes calls forth an answering virtuosity in hearing them[.]"

And found myself drawn to this quote by Barthes that Jarvis translates:

"If I read this phrase, this story or this word with pleasure, it is because they have been written in pleasure (this pleasure is in no way contradicted by the complaints of the writer). But the opposite? Does writing in pleasure guarantee me—me, the writer—the pleasure of my reader? In no way. This reader, it is necessary that I seek him (that I ‘chat him up’), without knowing where he is. A space for bliss is thus created. It is not the ‘person’ of the other which I require, it is the space: the possibility of a dialectic of desire, of an unforeseenness of bliss: that all bets are not already placed, that there be something in play]."

Wondering what you make of the article, Arka?

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/27/2011, 9:03 am
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culdesac101 Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Tere. thanks for the thoughtful reply. i am a neophyte when it comes to rhyme. after reading yr response a few weeks back i tried to read up a bit on my old books on bengali chanda (rhyme) to add something to the discussion. i have read (and been read to) a fair bit of bengali poetry since i was a toddler & most of it does seem to rhyme. but i just couldn’t wrap my head around the stuff. sigh. maybe. with time. but yr reply makes me appreciate rhyme more even without understanding its grammar,opens up spaces i have not really given much thot to. same reason i get with Jarvis’s essay. actually grammar reminds me, my new job involves some grammar. i get by on sheer luck. one of these days tho those tenses and clauses will catch up with me and kick my ass.

arka
Feb/26/2011, 10:59 pm Link to this post Send Email to culdesac101   Send PM to culdesac101
 
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Hi Kat. i was quite excited about the essay. i am usually a bit shy when it comes to rhyming. at least of calling it rhyme when it's obviously just a random spike of half rhymes brought on by too heavy a dinner. but the essay comforted &educated me somewhat. that it's okay to rhyme even if it's a head rhyme (which i am given to understand is a rhyme extant exclusively in the poet's inscape.)
ciao emoticon
arka

 
Feb/26/2011, 11:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to culdesac101   Send PM to culdesac101
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Pound said something about the iambic produced rhythm of a line of poetry I think pertinent in any discussion of rhyme in general. "...the god damn iamb magnetizes certain verbal sequences." Do you catch the cautionary note? When certain verbal sequences get vectored so does expression itself. Once vectored, perhaps channeled, expressive possibilities get limited.

Tere,

Tapuckata puckata puckata puckata, and we're off. I would say when any verbal sequence gets vectored, so does expression itself. The only good thing about the limitations then imposed is that a writer may be able to use a break/variation/disruption/suspension in/of the sequence to his/her purpose.

Or, on the flip side as it pertains to rhyme, as Eliot wrote in "Reflections on Vers Libre" (decided to follow up on the essay since Jarvis mentions it):

"And this liberation from rhyme might be as well a liberation of rhyme. Freed from its exacting task of supporting lame verse, it could be applied with greater effect where it is most needed. There are often passages in an unrhymed poem where rhyme is wanted for some special effect, for a sudden tightening-up, for a cumulative insistence, or for an abrupt change of mood."

http://world.std.com/~raparker/exploring/tseliot/works/essays/reflections_on_vers_libre.html

Arka,

Random spikes of half rhymes brought on in whatever manner are often just the ticket as is an inescapable inscape rhyme! I like the term head rhyme. I wonder if there is such a thing as a heart rhyme?

Thanks again for posting the link. emoticon

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/27/2011, 9:37 am
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Terreson Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Speaking of Eliot, I can think of no more accomplished practitioner of verse libres than he was, and there have been many. I for one take to the form like a frog to a lily pad. Thank goodness for those 19th C French poets and prosodists who introduced certain innovations to vers libres, making it more flexible. I particularly take to their stated intention: "This rhythm was to be personal, the particular expression of the individual poet." It doesn't strike me as far fetched to say that no prosodic development has proved as liberating or as allowing for expansiveness. I mean think of all the poets who've worked in vers libres to mighty effect. Pound, Eliot, Whitman, John Berryman, Ted Hughes, D.H. Lawrence, Plath, Sexton, just to name a few whose names are familiar to all.

Sitting here thinking for a moment, going back through the memory files. I am not coming up with any innovation in prosody productive of as mighty a heave. Not even Pound's dissing of the iamb or Worsdworth freeing poetry of artificiality in diction. Hopkins's sprung rhythm might be a close second. But he himself knew he was simply recapturing practices particular to Old English poetry.

Tere

Coming back a few minutes later. Shouldn't forget the form of prose poetry, another French innovation. That too has produced a heave, if perhaps not as infectious.

Tere again

Last edited by Terreson, Feb/27/2011, 12:44 pm
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libramoon Profile
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Not yet having read the essay (though my interest is piqued), still I jump in with thoughts on poetic form. It seems to me the salient point is that poetry is freed from arbitrary rules to reflect the inner voice of the individual artist. Thus, particular forms are available to make use of in a toolkit; but it is the crafter that chooses the tools for each project. This seems part of the cultural unfoldment that I see, moving from philosophies of more top down control to those of greater freedom and (I hope) creativity.


http://livingstory-ny.blogspot.com/
 
Understanding Creative People

Feb/27/2011, 4:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to libramoon   Send PM to libramoon Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Your sense, Libra, works for me.

Tere
Feb/27/2011, 6:20 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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"Or, on the flip side as it pertains to rhyme, as Eliot wrote in "Reflections on Vers Libre" (decided to follow up on the essay since Jarvis mentions it):

"And this liberation from rhyme might be as well a liberation of rhyme. Freed from its exacting task of supporting lame verse, it could be applied with greater effect where it is most needed. There are often passages in an unrhymed poem where rhyme is wanted for some special effect, for a sudden tightening-up, for a cumulative insistence, or for an abrupt change of mood."'



From my ancient history (I think I wrote it in the early '70s). I was being influenced by Eliot in those days (as well as others).


Reflections

Walking long mornings into sunrise
You stood by and took the earth into your arms
like grainstalks
I called you my Degas print.
You spoke of the moon.
21 days and nights we tarried.
Almost single, almost married.
I loved you.
You spoke to me in words of magic.
Will you speak to me again?
Hollywood houses and Paris cafes bowed to us.
You said you needed work and companions.
I cursed you in my mind, and went off
seeking other follies.
The days look longer now, feel somehow strange.
Love is like a looking glass, reflecting change.
Feb/27/2011, 6:52 pm Link to this post Send Email to libramoon   Send PM to libramoon Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


See how it can be when poet imprints cadence, rhythm, and rhyme by her own rules? That just might be the big thing.

Tere
Feb/27/2011, 9:43 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Why rhyme pleases


Libra,

Thanks for posting that older poem. It's nice to see some of your poetic roots, and you bet, it's pertinent to this discussion.
Feb/28/2011, 8:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 


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