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A Voice for Rhyme - (Contest Results)

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  • A Voice for Rhyme - (Contest Results)

    It’s no secret, free verse and I don't often agree.
    An unstructured story's not as poetic to me.

    So along comes a site with a promising stance.
    An internet ‘zone’ where the rhyme has a chance.

    Then a contest was open with ‘understanding’ theme,
    To test a poets prowess in content and scheme.

    So many great verses posted during this time.
    The works I felt best, no surprise, filled with rhyme.

    But when the winners announced, free verse, it had won…
    Eight out of ten, how could this be done!

    In a place where rhyme was touted by name,
    Yet again we fell victim to free verse’s game.

    I guess I just don't ‘understand’ the appeal of prose.
    But I can't seem to accept that this is just how it goes?

    I don't know how to make a poet's world right,
    But to play bitter fool holding on to a fight.

    I declare this rant unselfish, not just for me,
    But for what I firmly believe is ‘true’ poetry!

    I want it to first to be known that with this poem I mean no offense to the winners of the contest, as I do believe they are worthy of merit with great messages, interesting content, and are well written stories. This is just my light hearted attempt to voice an extreme disappointment that more traditional poetic works were not better represented among the winners. It felt like such a great irony that in a contest put on by “RhymeZone”, only 2 of the 10 winners had any rhyme structure!

    While I did feel my entry had a slight chance of getting recognized, I was even more so inspired by some of the other works I read here that I feel will push me to be better. I suppose I simply wanted a few more of those to get some recognition? In the end, I do wish that free verse would be a separate category and hope the administrators of this site might take note for next year, that the mass of users of this site may likely be those who covet the skill of rhyme?!

  • #2
    As a fellow lover of rhyming poems, I share your disappointment. Your suggestion of a separate category is a great one and I will make sure to pass it along. I have yet to read the winning poems (been busy this weekend) so I cannot comment on their merit except to say I trust the judges did their best to pick the winners. That of course was no easy task. Thanks for noting you meant no offense to the winners. No one needs another Kenya West moment.


    • B.Ginn
      B.Ginn commented
      Editing a comment
      If a judge loves poetry,it is not hard to read all the over 3000 poems.Went through all entries,all of mine are not listed that rhyme,they were posted as an entry,when I first posted.It is Kanye West .

  • #3
    Much like you I’m not here to argue with the judges. I hold no animosity and found it quite the hoot. But can you imagine The midnight ride of Paul Revere in free verse. The challenge I find to poetry is in finding the proper cadence without forcing the rhyme. Free verse lending itself more to the personal story. I was once told the only trick to writing it, is correct punctuation. The top poem His hand and a Question though is a fine example of it and quite worthy. For it comes off without bias.


    • #4
      Thank you J. Worth 13 for your post. It expresses my thoughts exactly. I too love rhyming poetry, but it is so eschewed nowadays, you hardly ever see rhyming poems anymore except in children's verse. I thought for sure, though, that rhyming poems would have their day in a poetry contest sponsored by a website called RhymeZone. I have to say I was very disappointed in the winners. The majority were not at all what I had hoped for. Free verse is for those with tin ears.


      • #5
        Thank you all for the replies… it is always good to know that your point of view has company. And I feel it is important to emphasize again that I don’t envy the task the judges had in choosing the winners. There were so many good submissions, many of which I do believe were better than mine. And while I don't enjoy free verse as much as traditional, one of my all-time favorite poems is actually a free verse piece titled “George Gray” by Edgar Lee Masters. This was just a case where the discrepancy was so glaring that it was hard to ignore, given the nature of this site.

        It felt something like if the “Chocolate Lovers Association” were to put on a baking competition and only 2 of 10 winning cakes had chocolate in them? I really didn't want to rock the boat, but sometimes you need to stand up for an art form you have a passion for. And if there is any place to stand up for the art of traditional rhyming poetry, it has to be the RhymeZone, right???


        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          Well said, J. Worth, I applaud your honest reply and the chocolate metaphor is excellent.There were many excellent examples of form poetry in the contest which were overlooked perhaps by judges' seeming bias towards free verse.
          Thanks for speaking up for many of the rest of us.

      • #6
        Hi J. Worth, Though I do some free verse I liked your take on the issue. Here is mine.

        Rhyming to Risotto

        Upon mid afternoon of cold sad drizzle
        Such as to end my golf game a fizzle,
        To CD Boccelli and by art prints Giotto,
        I think I'll stir up a nice salmon risotto.

        From pantry a sack of white rice arborio,
        Bought in the shop of one Mario Vicario,
        He, my shady dealer in cheeses imported,
        Those we suppose not to customs reported.

        In hot oil sizzles finely chopped shallot,
        To this some dry white, salt and pepper to pallet.
        Now that uncorked can Pinot Gris be thought mine,
        Just a small glass before you and I dine.

        Once rice hits the pan to the stove I am chained.
        Be sure ceaseless stirring is not for the untrained.
        For those would disdain this chore more than sweaty,
        I suggest red basil sauce o'er al dente spaghetti.

        For those would from love write down words poetical,
        Yet find mere thought of rhyme, let's say, heretical,
        Would you then think me some sort of crass yobo
        Were I to suggest at least some ostinato.

        John Wertz


        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          John, had my first experience with making risotto this past Christmas. It is indeed a lot like writing poetry, you got to stick with it or risk burning. I have never stirred so much in one half-hour + as I did then. My son has started a tradition of cooking our Christmas dinner and I helped by stirring and adding the liquid until the point of perfection was reached. Love your reference to ostinato, another beautiful poetic technique of form poetry. Thanks for your support of rhyme.

      • #7
        At the risk of beating a dead horse, I just wanted to say that I, too, expected that the winning entries would rhyme. If "RhymeZone" is not going to tout rhyming poetry then the Forum ought to be renamed.


        • #8
          Here are some questions to investigate: How do we define free verse? What exactly constitutes a "rhyming poem"?
          This is a very interesting topic and has a rudimentary foundation in the definition of art. I don’t believe that there is a clear answer. I also do not believe that there is a clear distinction between formal and informal poetry. Or at the very least, whatever distinction exists, any attempt to qualify the distinction quantitatively will yield arbitrary results. For instance - what is a “rhyming poem”? Do 10% of the words need to rhyme; or is the minimum allowed 20%? Or must there simply be a single rhyme at some point in the poem. You begin to see that the definition of a “rhyming poem” is arbitrary. The same situation occurs when you examine meter. At what point do my lines become too long or too short for a line break?
          Let’s take a more Boolean approach (Something either is or it is not and it is not composed of parts). So, I might argue that formal poetry always permits type classification (i.e. its type or category is determined through its conformity to a set of standards). Thus, if a poem is not among a type, then it is not formal (or its type has not yet been formalized). This argument yields a quagmire of difficulties, as it does when applied to any form of art. If I wrote a poem metrically and rhythmically structured as a sonnet, but then added one extra word, would I then call it an informal poem? What if I added two lines of iambic pentameter? Is it informal until some English don decides to name and recognize the form? And what is the process for the structure’s formalization? Couldn’t any poem become formalized?
          The best definition I could come up with is: To have formal poetry there must exist within the poem a recognizable and intentional, metrical and rhythmic pattern and order. But this definition is a fail. We have already determined that meter and rhyme are unsuitable criteria because they only qualify a poem (as say formal) in a quantitative sense, and that sense is arbitrary. The other part of my definition (recognition and intention) is too subjective to be usable in determining an objective reality (the reality being the “formality” of the poem). What I mean by that, is that whether or not a poem is formal would depend upon one’s ability to recognize it as such.
          I can’t find a good answer either way and my instinct is that the difficulty is in qualifying art; defining beauty, which to me ultimately transcends language and reason.
          For myself, I find that technical limitations are useful for expression. Writing within the rules of some meter and rhyme scheme has always aided my self-expression; however, I usually write free verse and then change it and give it form. My favorite poems happen to be free verse. But this only goes so far… When I go to an art museum and see a picture on the wall that is just a dot… I find that irksome. Lol.
          Last edited by Matewitofusys; 03-04-2015, 02:03 PM.


          • #9
            I understand your point Mat and I think you make it well. Defining art, or anything for that matter, is often very difficult since there are always exceptions and gray areas, etc. The deeper you think about it the harder it seems to become. Kind of like when you drop something from 6 feet off the ground and realize that it has to go through the halfway point before it hits the ground (which is 3 feet) then it has to go through the halfway point of 3 feet, then that halfway point on and on to infinity and therefore it will never hit the ground since you will never get to infinity. Yet when we drop it we find it does hit the ground. And when we read the any of the submitted poems, despite all the difficulties you noted, we are all able to categorize them as rhyming or free verse.

            That all said I have read most of the winning poems now and they are all really, really good and worthy of winning. The hard part is there were so many really good poems submitted and not all of them could win. I am sure if all the submitted poems were examined by a different set of judges the second list of winners would not exactly match the first set of winners (although I would not be surprised if there was some overlap). That is just the nature of any event that is judged and it does not mean that the winners are any less worthy because I think they all are worthy. But just realize that if your poem didn't win it might have won in an alternate universe. So keep writing and get ready for the next contest (I do not know for a fact that there will be a next one but I am hopeful since this one was so successful).


            • #10
              John: I agree with you completely that with a little common sense you can distinguish between free verse and more traditional poetry. But maybe what we are really talking about is what actually constitutes poetry as opposed to prose? The line may not be as sharp as it once was, but don't we intuitively understand the difference. When you read a Thomas Wolfe novel, he goes on for a chapter of two with standard prose narration and dialogue, then launches into poetic passages. You know exactly when he is doing it. According to Webster, poetry is: writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm. The current taste seems to put emphasis on the first and disregard for the second and third. One wonders how Gabriella Lombardo's "Among A Cypress Silence" could go unrecognized in the competition. While free verse, it is loaded with sound and rhythm, and some highly imaginative use of words. Thanks to Rhyme Zone for spurring an interesting conversation with the competition.


              • #11
                I suspect this will be the first of many such competitions and the criteria will be more defined in the future. I too shared in the surprise of the type (not quality) of the winning submissions. Also, in response to Electron.John I will keep my eyes peeled for my alternative reality check.


                • #12
                  Electron.John – After briefly considering the terrible implications of your post, I dashed into my garage and retrieved my most faithful blue volleyball. I kissed the inanimate object, explained that it would be the subject of a crucial experiment and then I proceeded to raise the ball six feet off the ground. It was then dropped. I observed anxioiusly as it passed through the half way marks, undettered, like a champ – 3 ft, 1.5 ft, .75 ft... As I write these remarks, the ball, whose spatial distance from the floor is no longer visually perceptible, continues to descend through the deep and dark innards of the numberline (no doubt in terrible anxiety and dread), ever and never nearing a resting place, the dead zone of 0.
                  John Wertz – I once argued that certain paragraphs in F. Scott Firzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" is poetry. Although I definitively lost the argument (I was debating with English majors – my fault I know, but still unfair), I now believe that Webster at least would have agreed with me
                  The Johns – I agree with you guys. The overwhelming majority of poetry is, to use John Wertz's word, “intuitively” recognizable as either free verse or formal/traditional, and that we can and do make that judgment with clear and reasonable confidence. Electron.John's point implies to me the difficulties that arise when art is too subjected to the methods of math and science. Especially for something like poetry or even language, which is so living and organic. Science knows things through dissection and one cannot dissect something living without killing it.


                  • #13
                    yada, yada,yada. Poetry should be fun to read and easy to understand. If I want to go back to college, listen to some boring professor. Well their are those and then there are the minions. Lighten up boys, there is always next year. Mate-- wit, it's really not a debate more like---- Just Saying.


                    • #14
                      If I asked ten people
                      on the street
                      What is poetry?
                      Eight out of the ten
                      would mention rhyme
                      and quote something like
                      roses are red, violets are blue.
                      If I asked ten college graduates
                      the same question
                      likely free verse might
                      come up but fully six
                      would again comment
                      that poems rhyme and have rhythm.
                      Also they would call this
                      specimen, prose - broken up
                      into shorter lines.
                      Which it is.

                      I too was more than surprised that the sponsor, Rhyme Zone, would not have
                      made some suggestions to the judging panel that rhyme is a significant part of poetry
                      for many people. Poetry with forced rhyme is bad but free verse
                      without cadence is equally bad. Free verse to many is simple as brainstorming with
                      no structure.
                      I didn't read of any judge's emphasis on other such poetic devices such as alliteration,
                      metaphors, similes, personification, assonance, onomatopoeia, repetition, along with no mention
                      of internal rhyme which adds a different flavor to structured form poetry. What about the
                      multitude of different form like acrostics, haiku, sonnets, ghazals - there is no end to the
                      variety of rhymed poetry.
                      Perhaps for a later contest, some of these elements might be taken into consideration.
                      This time it was all pretty freely up to the judges likes and dislikes.
                      Last edited by Reason A. Poteet; 03-05-2015, 06:41 PM.


                      • #15
                        J.Worth13 is a poet to the nth degree.His poem describes my feelings accurately.Rhyming......the cause for and solution to some of the contestents misery.WITHOUT it a POEM is JUST a STORY.