This generally places me in a position of inadvertent spokesperson for rhyming poetry. So, having decided to take up this challenge, I will attempt to teach an approach to writing in rhyme, here. Over the next few weeks, I will delineate, as best as I can, some steps to follow towards this end.
1. Seek out published poets who rhyme.
Where does one begin such a task? Though there are some present-day rhymers, such as me, I would prefer to steer you towards those who wrote in verse so well, so long ago. That is where I began my quest of trying to figure out how to write a poem.
I was fortunate to have access to my father's modest library, which I rummaged through in search of "Poetry." There I found the rhyming verses of Edna St Vincent Millay, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Blake, Thomas Hardy, (to name but a few), as well as many good anonymous works in verse.
Two books which I highly recommend reading are:
The Oxford Book of American Verse, by F.O. Matthiessen
The Oxford Book of English Verse, by Arthur Quiller-Couch
I endorse these two books as a way to get you started. Not all of the poems in these volumes are written in rhyme, (several of the pieces are examples of non-rhyming prose), but the majority the poems you'll find therein will help to illustrate two important aspects of rhyming verse: meter and rhyme.
In order to explain these two terms, I will draw from Wikipedia, where they are well described.
"Meter: Metrical rhythm generally involves precise arrangements of stresses or syllables into repeated patterns, called feet, within a line." An example of this can be found in my poem, Down The Narrow Ghetto Streets.
Line: Down the narrow ghetto streets
Rhythm: Dum ta dum ta dum ta dum
Line: Of noise and cobblestone
Rhythm: Ta dum ta dum ta dum
"Rhyme: A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words, most often at the end of the lines in poems and songs." Again, I will illustrate using my poem.
Down the narrow ghetto streets
Of noise and cobblestone
You found me lying at your feet,
My form reduced to bone,
Streets rhymes with feet. Cobblestone rhymes with bone.
There is a wide range of rhyme and meter schemes to choose from, but to be artful they need to work together with an innate harmony. They must bind the piece together while appearing to be quite natural, and never forced.
As you look through rhyming verse, either in the books I recommend, (above), or elsewhere, take special note of the use of meter and rhyme. They are the framework withing which this type of writing is formed.
As a skeleton gives shape to the body, whether human or animal, so do meter and rhyme help to shape rhyming verse. In each case, the frame is essential to the whole, though it generally lies well below the surface.
So, there you have a first key to my approach to composing works in rhyme. If you have any questions about this section, please let me know by leaving a comment on this page. I will respond to you ASAP. Enjoy.