Sunday, June 07, 2009


You know how people who don't know anything about it are always saying that they don't like modern poetry because it doesn't rhyme? Well, aside from being lazy and short-sighted, that particular prejudice isn't even true - a fair number of modern poets do, in fact, work in rhyme, and this month's issue of Poetry features two of the finest I know. Here's Stephen Edgar:

Look. The moon’s pale-copper sphere
Rings—a gong too faint to hear—
Through the city.
- Stephen Edgar, 'The Building of Light'

and A.E. Stallings:

I hate you,
How the children plead
At first sight—

I want, I need,
I hate how nearly
Always I

At first say no,
And then comply.
(Soon, soon

They will grow bored
Clutching your
Umbilical cord)

- A.E. Stallings, 'The Mother's Loathing of Balloons'

Go read.

P.S. Those of you who don't need poems to rhyme should also check out Armantrout, who is as delightful as ever.


km said...

You know how people who don't know anything about it...

You don't waste any time at all, do you, Falstaff? :))

One of the reasons for that complaint, I think, is that people read their poems silently. It is too easy to miss internal rhymes that way.

(But those are some good examples you've provided there. Thanks for the links.)

Annamari said...

At times I imagine that these people were looking for "the moon that was as round as the spoon" type of rhyme...
I am not sure yet if it is them or it is me that is so biased.

Cheshire Cat said...

Interesting throwback, Edgar. Those lines wouldn't have been out of place at the beginning of the last century, or earlier.

equivocal said...

yeah, sphere / gong too far too hear is a pretty darn good...

Kk said...

There is a fair amount of internal rhyme, assonance and alliteration in modern poetry. For rhyming poems, there's Michael Robbins' Alien Vs. Predator which rhymes pretty well:
"Praise this world, Rilke says, the jerk.
We’d stay up all night. Every angel’s
berserk. Hell, if you slit monkeys
for a living, you’d pray to me, too.
I’m not so forgiving. I’m rubber, you’re glue.

That elk is such a dick. He’s a space tree
making a ski and a little foam chiropractor.
I set the controls, I pioneer
the seeding of the ionosphere.
I translate the Bible into velociraptor..."

I wonder if those who belieev poetry is all rhyme like rap/hip-hop.