What's the name of the sonnet form that looks like it rhymes, but doesn't rhyme when spoken aloud?
June 4, 2012 12:49 PM   Subscribe

What's the name of the sonnet form that looks like it rhymes, but doesn't rhyme when read out loud?

Many years ago I remember reading about a sonnet form where the final words in lines would look like they'd rhyme, but they didn't (i.e. "rhyming" tough and through). I've come across references to it sometimes through the years but I can't for the life of me remember what it's called.

Extra bonus points if you can point me towards an example of the form.
posted by Kattullus to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sight rhyme.
posted by Gator at 12:56 PM on June 4, 2012

Here's a great poem about the irregularities in English, including eye rhymes.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:58 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

What Gator said, but just to clarify to the OP, it's not a sonnet form; it's just a type of rhyme. Sonnets are classified by their rhyme scheme, not by the type of rhyme they use (perfect vs. imperfect). And I can't think of any sonnets that use exclusively eye rhyme; most are a mix. Maybe someone else knows of one.
posted by désoeuvrée at 1:32 PM on June 4, 2012

Here's a Dutch-language one by Ivo de Wijs, which featuries a variation on the theme: it only rhymes when you take into account the punctuation marks:

De kinderen zijn naar hun bomma
Mijn vrouw ging gistermorgen scheep
Ik wijd mij aan de arbeid,
Het Rijmschap dus -
Ach zelden wordt mij rust gegund
Dit is één van die mooie weken
Ik roep bezield:
't Is herfstvakantie!
Rough translation:

The kids are off to grandma's
My wife set sail just yesterday
Myself, I turn to business [comma]
In other words, to Poesy [streep]
Oh, seldom do I get a rest
This is one of those cherished weeks
I call out spiritedly [dubbele punt]
Autumn half term is here [uitroepteken]
(The last line refers to a national school vacation week in October.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:04 PM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think Denis Johnson wrote a sonnet that was all sight rhyme, but all I remember about it is that it "rhymed" love and move and also had Chicago street names in it. As you might imagine, this is not helping me Googlewise.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:09 PM on June 4, 2012

I remember learning about eye rhymes when studying Shakespeare's sonnets. I guess the theory is that the words may have rhymed once upon a time but not in our modern-day pronunciation. Examples from Shakespeare, Shelley, and Blake
posted by book 'em dano at 2:13 PM on June 4, 2012

The following limerick was submitted to I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue by Mrs. Trellis of North Wales:

There was an old woman from Slough
Who developed a terrible cough.
She wasn't to know
It would last until now.
Let's hope the poor girl pulls through.
posted by Johnny Assay at 5:28 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for your answers, though I'm specifically looking for the sonnet form, not just sight or eye rhymes in general.

On the subject of punctuation poetry, Frederik Pohl has a great little poem called !
posted by Kattullus at 5:58 PM on June 4, 2012

I really don't think there are enough sight-rhyme sonnets for there to be a special name for the subgenre.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:31 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I really don't think there are enough sight-rhyme sonnets for there to be a special name for the subgenre.

This. I think I didn't state this as clearly as I could have before, but as a PhD candidate in English, I am 100% certain there is not a sonnet form that pertains to eye rhyme. (Regardless of whether or not eye-rhyme sonnets exist.)
posted by désoeuvrée at 11:06 PM on June 4, 2012

[On a completely unrelated note, Katullus, your About section might be the coolest thing in the world.]
posted by désoeuvrée at 11:14 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm almost positive that a name for the sight-rhyme sonnet form exists. There might not be many of them but someone went to the trouble of naming them. I remember reading about it.

Of course, I might have dreamt this.
posted by Kattullus at 3:20 AM on June 5, 2012

Best answer: A visual sonnet! According to someone named Avva, at least. I stand corrected!
posted by désoeuvrée at 5:01 AM on June 5, 2012

Response by poster: That could well be it, desouvree, though in my memory it was a less obvious term, but it'll have to do for now. It makes sense that Mathews has written some.
posted by Kattullus at 8:04 AM on June 5, 2012

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("Is it still safe to eat this guacamole?"),
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Asking questions is part of how we live,
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So thank you, jessamyn, Miko, scody,
All the rest of you, you always come through,
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Turning these fragments into something whole.
posted by verstegan at 4:37 AM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

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