Rhyme and rhythm are two of the most essential things to keep in mind when writing and reading poetry. Rhythm is the pattern of language in a line of a poem, marked by the stressed and unstressed syllables in the words. Rhyme, on the other hand, is the matching up of sounds and syllables, usually at the end of lines. Together, they make up the framework of many poems and help to separate poetry from prose writing. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about these two elements of poetry and determine how using them effectively can make your poetry even better.
Why is Rhyme Important in Poetry?
Rhyme keeps your poem flowing in perfect harmony. It also sets up your reader to expect what’s coming next. You can figure out a poem’s rhyme scheme by looking at the last word in each line and giving each word that rhymes (or doesn’t rhyme!) its own letter. For example:
Roses are red, (A)
Violets are blue, (B)
Sugar is sweet, (C)
And so are you! (B)
This classic example of a poem has an ABCB rhyme scheme. Figuring out the poem’s rhyme scheme allows you to see the pattern and feel connected to the poem.
Why is Rhythm Important in Poetry?
Rhythm is the opposite of cacophony – when words flow in a way that is unexpected and abrupt to the ear. The reader expects to hear writing that is pleasing to the ear and what they expect to hear. Two terms to be familiar with when discussing rhythm are “foot” and “meter.” A foot refers to a stressed/unstressed syllable, and a meter counts the number of feet in each line. The most famous type of rhythm is iambic pentameter, which is what Shakespeare uses in just about all of his writing. “Iamb” means that the foot is in the pattern of unstressed/stressed, and pentameter means there are five sets of syllables in each line.
Take a stab at writing your own rhyming poem! If you like what you write, consider submitting it to our poetry contest and show your work to the world!