Poetry Prompt: Rhymes With…

hey diddle diddle

This post is part of our series of found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer.

Incorporating forms can be a fun exercise when working with found language. Formal constraints, challenging as they are on their own, are especially difficult when made of a smaller pool of words. Rhyme schemes are of course common in formal poetry, but not very often used in contemporary poetry. As with other techniques, rhyme or near rhyme is present in a poem when it has to be present in a poem. It serves the poem’s needs as does the breaking of lines, or as does a play on words, or a sleight-of-foot.

Your prompt is not exactly to write a rhyming poem, but to use rhyme to discover the words that will make up your poem:

  1. Select a word: any word that comes to mind, or just stumble on something. I am in favor of following serendipitous paths, so you might grab a word from the last page you looked at (be it web or print). Or hit the front page of Merriam-Webster.com (we’re headed there anyway) and see what they have featured.
  2. So say you follow M-W.com’s current feature: “Surprising Words from the 1920’s.” Maybe you choose “robots.”
  3. Search the m-w.com website for “robots.” Scroll down until you find the “rhymes with”  section of the entry. Copy down the rhyming words into your word bank. Select a word in the list. Say, “ascot.” Click on it to follow it to its entry. Repeat until you have a large enough word bank.
  4. Write a poem from the word bank you have compiled.

Comment and let us know how this goes!


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