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What Are Rhyming Poems?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 23, 2024
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Rhyming poems are poems that feature rhyming words at the end of certain verses. Unlike free verse poetry, rhyming poems must contain words that sound alike. Generally, rhyming poetry follows some sort of set pattern, meaning the writer intends for certain lines to rhyme with one another. Besides the different kinds of patterns rhyming poetry follows, there are different kinds of rhyming poems themselves. Although most people learn about rhyming poetry during school, many continue to read and write this type of poetry for many years.

On the surface, there are two main kinds of poetry. These are rhyming poems and free verse poems. Rhyming poems, which follow more closely the requirements of traditional poetry, include rhyming words at the end of the poetry lines, and free verse poems are basically free from structure rules. Although poems with rhyming lines can follow different patterns, the main requirement is that there is some followed pattern of rhyming words at the end of the poetry lines. For free verse poetry, writers can use or avoid rhymes if they want, regardless of any pattern.

There are numerous kinds of rhyming poems. Such examples include the couplet and the triplet, which feature two and three lines of rhyming verse respectively. Similar to the couplet and triplet, the quatrain is a poetry form that contains four lines of rhyming verse, but the lines follow a pattern. Examples of common patterns include AABB, ABAB, ABBA, and ABCB, and each line must rhyme with all other poetry lines that share its letter. Sometimes quatrains and other groups of poetry lines are part of lengthier poems, such as sonnets, and are then referred to as paragraphs or, more commonly, stanzas.

People read and write rhyming poems for a variety of reasons. Some of the poems are meant to be humorous or witty, such as limericks, and others are meant to act as love poetry or narrative poetry that tells a story or captures an event. Many people are first introduced to rhyming poetry in school, and students may write them as part of creative writing classes or to demonstrate their understanding of certain types, like Shakespearean sonnets. Some people continue to read and write rhyming poetry throughout life, even professionally. Typically, greeting card companies, poetry anthologies, and certain kinds of magazines regularly seek poetry submissions from writers.

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