Thursday, April 18, 2013

NaPoWriMo: Rhyme

Time to talk about rhyme! Not every type of poem has to rhyme, but many do, and there are several ways to accomplish it.

There are names for where a rhyme appears in the piece. The most common type of rhyme is
tail rhyme, which is when you're looking at the last words/syllables in each line of the poem.

This is how you determine the rhyme scheme of a poem: tail rhyme. Here is the first stanza of "The Raven":

And be mentioned, nevermore.
Ha, just kidding, I'll totally talk about "The Raven" again.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

The words at the end of each line are: weary, lore, tapping, door, door, and more. You give the first line an A. If the second line rhymes with it, you also give it an A. but "lore" does not rhyme with "weary," so it gets a B. The next line ("tapping") doesn't rhyme with either A or B, so it gets C. "Door" rhymes with "lore," so it is assigned an A in both the fourth and fifth lines. The sixth line, "more," also rhymes with "lore" and "door," so it also gets an A. So this stanza's rhyme scheme is ABCAAA. The letters' assignments last throughout the poem. The next stanza's end words are: December, floor, borrow, Lenore, Lenore, evermore. Since "December" doesn't rhyme with A, B, or C, it gets D. The second stanza is DAEAAA. And so on.

There is also internal rhyme. This is all over the place in "The Raven." Let's look at the third and fourth lines of the first stanza:

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

I've underlined the instances of internal rhyme; words from the interior of the line rhyme with the end word.

There is also something called a holorhyme. This is when two entire lines rhyme with each other. These usually serve better in humor, like acknowledging that 'Scuse me, while I kiss the sky from Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" sounds like, 'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy.

Fun fact: the first page of Google Image results for "purple haze"
do not include pictures of this man or his work.
Perfect rhyme happens when your rhyming words match in sound and also where the final stressed syllable falls in them. Perfect rhymes can be masculine, feminine, or dactylic, depending on where the final stressed syllable is found.

There are many other types of rhyme besides perfect rhyme, though.

There are also "eye rhymes" which look like they should rhyme but don't (like "cough" and "bough") and "mind rhymes" which trick you into think about a different word that rhymes with what's actually there by pairing it with certain other words, like if you said "neat" and "sour," your mind would make you think of "sweet" instead of "neat," because they rhyme, and you're used to hearing the phrase "sweet and sour." Trickery!

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