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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Throwing a wrench in rhyme


The expression, “throwing a wrench into the works,” typically refers to the effort to prevent a plan or keep something from working properly. In poetry, that wrenching can occur in wrenched rhymes.

True rhymes not only have echoing syllables at the end of each rhyming word, they have the same emphasis or syllabic stress. For instance, round/found echo the sound and also the accent. 

singing/bring wrenches the true rhyme of sing/bring, whereas rhyming/wing emphasizes the differences in syllables – i.e., RHYming/ WING.

Wrenches can also occur by forcing the poem’s syntax (i.e., normal sentence structure or word sequence) in order to make a rhyme. For an example of such violence to the English language:

Wrenched syntax puts words in a position weird
when a poet tries to make lines rhyme-adhered.

Or to say it the regular way:

Wrenched syntax pushes words around just so they’ll rhyme – even if the phrase or sentence now makes less sense!

That said, you might want to wrench your words and rhymes on purpose for the sake of humor.

For more on rhymes, see the prior post “Good Times to Write in Rhymes.” 

For more help on writing or revising poems in general, A Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry  will help. 

In addition to that paperback book (based on my former poetry correspondence course) the A to Z poetic terms in the e-book, The Poetry Dictionary for Children and for Fun makes a great way to enjoy the summer with creative kids of all ages.


©2021, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-writer, book author in all genres, including A Gathering of Poems


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