Neither Rhyme nor Reason

For some, poetry is not part of their lives, perhaps being only a vague memory of reading examples at school. For some, it is an essential means of expression: exploring their feelings about a potential partner, the end of a relationship or of wonder at the natural world during their last walk. Welcome to readers who have just come to this blog.

Starting with The First I have tried to convey my belief that everyone can try to write a poem and with persistence, curiosity and diligence forge their creation into something of lasting value for them, if not for others. After school, I tried. In the tumult of intense relationships, I tried. And only later in life, during a creative writing course, determined that I should try again when fellow participants pointed out that the best things in my writing were the descriptive passages. It was a key realisation.

Everyone should look for at least something they are good at; not everyone finds such a passion early in life. I tried and failed at so many creative pursuits until I found something for which I showed some competence.

A sonnet is an echo chamber of sounds, a closed form, allowing sound patterns to form consciously, or otherwise, in the reader’s mind. Rhyming is part of that sound patterning and rhymes can appear either at the end, the beginning or inside each line. Rhymes at the end of each line have characterised sonnets for centuries, they allow meaning to be highlighted, structure to be delineated. Inner rhymes are more often a feature of free verse. Rhymes at the start of lines are much rarer.

In the next blog, I’ll spend some time on end-of-line rhymes and what patterns they form. Although as ever for details, you’ll have to look at poetry manuals. An excellent introduction to sonnets that also provides comments on an anthology of many examples is “101 Sonnets”, edited by Don Paterson, Faber and Faber Limited, ISBN 978-0-571-21557-7.

Last time, in The Promise of Magic I spoke about feedback through journals and I’m pleased to say in Reach Poetry Issue 263 had at least one reader place my early sonnet “The Old Bookshop” first in their top three. Another, in their “Highly Commended” list. Always heartening to get positive feedback from informed readers.

Writing poetry now has made my journey of self-discovery worthwhile. I wish you success too in whatever that is.

20200826 No Rhyme or Reason with title


Copyright, Clifford Liles, 26th August 2020



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