Poetry Part 2: Is there poetry without rhythm?

The answer, in my not so humble opinion, is yes… and no.

Rhythm is in everything we do.  It is the tick of the clock, the movement of the pendulum, the very beat of our hearts is rhythmic.  Rhythm can be as simple or as complex as we want it to be, but it is a very important building block and it is always there: if we let it.

I once had a teacher try and abolish rhyme and rhythm from our poetry saying that it makes everything forced, and while part of me can agree with this, the musician/mathematician of my cries out in denial.

Poetry is a word puzzle, a magical thing that follows a formula (admittedly, one I ignore with great abandon).

Poetry conveys a truth shrouded in imagery and sound.  Take away the key pieces and you lose some of the power behind the words.

As I’ve said before… poetry tickles our minds and senses on many levels– take away some of those connections and the work is usually less than it could be.

And yet…

If the rhythm is forced, if the rhymes are false, that will kill the poem faster than not having those pieces.

It is a two edged sword, and to wield them to full effect, you must use them properly.  If you only cut with one edge: you will get the job done- but it will take longer and in the end, that edge will become dull.

Yet sometimes – the best rhythmic trick is the time change: because that too draws attention to what is said.

Something to think about.

April 26, 2014


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