Why Rhyme? (Masterclass)

Why Rhyme? (Masterclass)

Who's afraid of traditional rhyme?

Poets have long known that rhyme is an effective tool that can enhance the overall meaning and impact of a poem. When used well, rhyme not only brings together unexpected words, but can also make a poem more ear-pleasing and creates a kind of expectation and aural satisfaction. Moreover, rhyme helps fix poetry into the mind of readers, and therefore renders it more memorable. Yet few poets seem to be using traditional rhyme these days. Why is this the case? Is rhyme a thing of the past, is the pendulum due to swing in the other direction; or might there be room for a variety of types of rhyme applicable to contemporary poetry? In this course, we’ll consider these and other questions. By examining not only traditional rhyme, but also slant rhyme, internal rhyme as well as experimental types of rhyme we’ll consider what makes a rhyme successful rather than “sing-songy”, learn how to implement slant rhyme and internal rhyme, and consider when it’s best to avoid rhyme altogether. We’ll examine poets such as Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, John Ashbery, Donald Justice, Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Richard Wilbur, and Susan Howe and others and craft our poems using everything from traditional to experimental rhyme schemes.

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

Image Credit: ja’s ink on paper

About Jodie Hollander View Profile

American poet Jodie Hollander was raised in a family of classical musicians. She studied poetry in England, and her work has been published in journals such as The Poetry Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The New Criterion, The Manchester Review, Australia’s Best Poems of 2011, and Australia’s Best Poems of 2015. Her debut pamphlet, The Humane Society, was released with tall-lighthouse (London) in 2012; her full-length collection, My Dark Horses, is published with Liverpool University Press and Oxford University Press. Hollander is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in Italy, a residency at Cheateau de La Napoule in France and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She currently lives in Colorado.


‘The Poetry School courses are well-designed, well-run and incredibly good value for money. The tutors are published poets and are fully engaged with contemporary poetry. A good student group is a bonus. I have taken five courses and feel that my work has improved with each one.’

– Spring 2019 survey response

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