Does Poetry Need To Rhyme?

A couple of days ago, an acquaintance asked me whether poetry needs to rhyme. My response was that there is no necessity as regards the use of rhyming in poetry. Eliot’s The Wasteland springs to mind as a poem where free verse is employed throughout large portions of the work.
Most of my own poetry does utilise a rhyming scheme. I feel most comfortable expressing myself in rhyme. This does not, however mean that my poems rhyme throughout, (there is no point in sticking to a rigid rhyming scheme if by so doing the poet loses the sense of what he is trying to say. It is better to have a line which doesn’t rhyme than force one and thereby garble the essence of the poem).
I would, as always be interested in your views. Does poetry need to rhyme? And at what point does poetry become poetic prose or simple prose as opposed to poetry as it is usually construed?



13 thoughts on “Does Poetry Need To Rhyme?

  1. 9tankz

    All I’ve got to say is

    Even if the poem doesn’t rhyme
    The readers don’t give a dime
    The words maybe difficult like ‘orange’
    Some idiot will still rhyme it with stonehenge

    Butt poetic devices have their role too

    Always allowing alliteration will make the poem easier to remember
    Anthropomorphism will help the reader connect better
    Imagery will help them visualize
    Irony is difficult to actualize
    Similes make me as intelligent as Einstein
    Breaking the fourth wall really makes the character come alive

    Lol. I should never try my keyboard at poetry.

    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your comment. As you rightly say, ” Sometimes creativity works better outside known rules”. Do you have a view as to where prose ends and poetry begins? I must confess that there is, to my mind not always a clear dividing line between the two. Kevin

  2. Sue Vincent

    I grew up on rhyming verse… it sticks in the memory and I have a feeling that is why we invented rhyme in poetry, to use it as a teaching tool. On the other hand, free verse allows expression of things we might not otherwise have words for. I think it is the act of writing that matters more than the rhyme.

  3. Mark David Goodson

    Poetry definitely doesn’t have to rhyme. Sometimes I’m writing a poem and I have to let the rhyme scheme go because I need to get out the words. But overall, I’m a formal list. And pay close attention to Rimes meter things like that when I write


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