Must a Poem Rhyme?

By Prev Info - January 19, 2023

 Poets, scholars and readers of poetry all have a variety of definitions for poetry, mostly due to poetry not having a defined shape or structure in most cases. As such, when you sit down to work on a poem, you can work with a style of poetry that feels natural to you and what you have to say. Although poems do not need to rhyme, you might choose this style, or you can choose other styles as well.

Try writing different styles of poetry to find your preferences

Formal Verse

Formal verse, a traditional method of writing poetry, involves working with rhythm and rhyme in your poem. You may use different types of rhyme, such as perfect rhyme and rich rhymes, depending on your particular style. Some types of rhyming poetry, such as sonnets, require specific rules you need to follow regarding length, meter and the rhyming pattern.

Free Verse

Another type of poetry, free verse, does not contain rhymes, and you can make your own rules to write your poetry. However, word choices will still matter in free verse since, although subjective, a good poem comes from using the right word in just the right place. You will want to carefully consider many aspects of poetry as you write and revise. For example, listen to the sound of the meter and cadence of the lines and how they sound when you read them, to create certain effects and emotions.


As a way to show that you do not have to abide by specific rules when writing poetry, you may want to explore flarf poetry. In this style of writing, poets use the results from internet searches, memos and other random sources. In these poems, you may not find a way to understand the meaning in them, typically because the writers do not have a meaning in mind, but you can see the use of rhythm and interesting language. For example, the first stanza from the poem “Der Explosion” by K. Silem Mohammad looks like this: “nothing but downbeat groovery in NASA spacegear / that’s what’s been holding me together.” As you can see, poetry can simply allow you to explore language without abiding by specific rules.

Choosing a Style

Beginning poets may struggle to find the style that works best, and if you find yourself in this category, you may want to try out both rhyme and free verse. Begin by writing a few poems, or even just a few lines if you prefer, to see how each style feels to you. Keep in mind, however, that one poem may work well with rhyme and another may not, and this will depend on your topic and your own poetic voice.



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