Craft, or: Authenticity

A villanelle

Many modern bards deem rhyming passé,
An obstacle to deep self-expression,
Though one asks if impatience~ craft betrays?

Artists must create, for it's thus they pray,
Each in preferred mode at their discretion...
Many modern bards deem rhyming passé.

Unfettered freedom is today's great craze;
And most art's wrought to make deep impression...
Though one asks if impatience~ craft betrays?

We oft dismiss tried-true old-fashioned ways,
Finding "self" ~ for most writers ~ obsession...
Many modern bards deem rhyming passé.

Rule-following natural flow delays;
Poetic forms can cause great digressions...
Though one asks if impatience~ craft betrays?

Deep authenticity deserves our praise...
So, why should poets make stiff concessions?
Many modern bards deem rhyming passé...
Though one asks if impatience~ craft betrays?


  • Villanelles are required to have an intricate rhyme scheme and two lines that are refrains;
  • If we call the first line A and the third line A’, and any line that rhymes with them a, the rhyme scheme is AbA’ abA abA’ abA abA’ abAA’;
    • The 1st line and 3rd line, the refrains, are repeated four times each;
      • The 1st line appears at the end of stanzas 2 and 4 and as the second-to-last line in stanza 6;
      • The 3rd line appears at the end of stanzas 3, 5, and 6.

d’Verse poetics prompt

Pounding the Pentameter!

At d’Verse, poets were encouraged to do write poems in iambic pentameter.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

65 thoughts on “Craft, or: Authenticity”

  1. I like the questions you examine through your Villanelle, David. For me, rhyming will never be passe (no way! 🤣)

    This line especially interests me ‘So, why should poets make stiff concessions?’ – do you mean by following a strict rhyme-scheme or metre?

  2. This is such a deftly constructed poem. As for its message, I suppose I’m in the minority nowadays (and likely because of my age), but I tend to prefer some sort of structure upon which I can build something. I love free-verse, no question about it, but there’s something about a syllable count–even if I just make up a format–that lends a deeper, more thoughtful aspect to my poetry. My preference is non-rhyming syllabic format. It gives the appearance of free-verse (no rhyme restrictions) with the strength and formality of structure. I love the classic forms and marvel at them, and sort of mourn that so many writers today eschew them out of hand. Perhaps those writers lack the ability and patience and creativity needed to add structure to their verse? Maybe they’re self-perceived “rebel poets?” 😀 Who know? Who cares? It’s poetry, amirite? I know what I like and unfortunately my preferences appear out-dated now. Oh well. 🙂

  3. Luv that worded impatience into the narrative. For a lot of us myself included, that is the hindrance to writing in form.

    Much love

  4. I’ve always liked the villanelle to drive home a point. This one asks an important question for the poets (modern and otherwise). I liken it to pottery. Only after you have mastered the various forms can you really master the formless…

  5. David, much appreciate you forming your poem around the dialogue. Just like I enjoy eclectic tastes in music and mixed media art, I have no bias for or against form. Some I marvel at the technical expertise at, but I don’t put it down if it has no heart because machine need love too. Bukowski has some choice words to say about poetry snobs. There is room enough in the world for them (snobs and snob caller-outers) as well.

  6. Excellent villanelle David, a poignant questions for poets — too form or not to form, to rhyme or not to rhyme? I say, be honest to the moment and the inspiration that arises, let that be your guide. For me, I find my more authentic work comes from that approach. Well written my friend.

    1. I write to form snd I write free form, and I write rhyme — and often not. If it feels real yo me, it will feel real to others. That is truth as I see it.

Leave a Reply to ben Alexander Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s