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The Wildest Freedom, a Rhyme for the Banned

September 18, 2011

“I wish to write such rhymes as shall not suggest a restraint, but contrariwise the wildest freedom”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, June 27, 1839

Emerson would have approved of greengeekgirl‘s post in honor of Banned Books Week. Her call for free thought stood at the core of the transcendentalism he represented. I suspect her use of the rhyme would bring Dr. Emerson great joy.

Rhyming is an elegant but oft-neglected component of prose. It ranks up there with alliteration as one of the best attention-grabbers in the arsenal of English writing. The problem, as Dr. Emerson rightly penned in his journal, is that forcing our words into a rhyme often constricts us. If you’re like me, you probably have to resort to a rhyming dictionary just to assemble a four-line poem; even then, the structure is just a bit too stocky. Unfortunately, when you force a rhyme, it shows and it doesn’t look good.

A rhyme is meant to free the text from rigidity. A little deviation from strict sentence structure helps a lot. The rhyme should break through the reader’s emotions and spark a snicker or a shudder.

So then the question for someone like me is how to copy-edit a rhyme. My answer is you let the sentence form around the rhyme. Never force the rhyme to fit the sentence.

Thank you, greengeekgirl and your co-author at Insatiable Booksluts:

“So, banned books week is nigh upon us; starting September 24 and ending October 1, it’s a supposedly naughty way to kick off the season of chills, thrills, and stuffing yourself to the gills.”

One Comment
  1. (bows deeply) Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

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