Skelton – Masculine & Feminine Rhymes

Anne Waldman: A couple of notes here, if you want, this is in the Collected Skelton

AG: Oh, great. Where did you get it?..

Anne Waldman: In England.

AG: Well, do you have anything specific? Is there something that you particularly wanted to read?

Anne Waldman Well it just says, “Such vernacular..” – it talks about the vernacular energy of his vocabulary..

AG; Uh-huh

Anne Waldman (begins reading) – “.. Such vernacular vigour releases itself in the verse form that bears his name – the “Skeltonic” or the “Skeltoniad”, readily identifiable by its mono-rhyme leashes that extend for twelve to fourteen lines at times and are eternally distinguished by two or three accents per line. The stresses are often underscored by alliteration, which in turn may link together two or three lines. The real elements of control in the Skeltonic, however, are the couplet and triplet, which provide both points of departure for, and pauses within, the more spectacular itemization and documentation, mental excitement…

AG: Slow, slow.. So couplet..

Anne Waldman: Couplet and triplet.

AG: That’s the key thing, I think, that was… What was that sentence?

Anne Waldman: “The real elements of control in the Skeltonic, however, are the couplet and triplet..”

AG: That is two lines rhymed or three lines rhymed together.

Anne Waldman: “..which provide both lines of departure for and pauses within the more spectacular itemization and documentation, mental excitement and verbal virtuosity of the rhyme leash..”

AG: “Rhyme leash”. By “rhyme leash”, you mean a leash that(was the) same rhyme running for five, six, seven, eight lines ..

Anne Waldman: Or sometimes fourteen lines AG: Yes, and then that’s interrupted by a triplet or doublet or triplet – double-rhyme or triple-rhyme
Student: What is a doublet (or triplet)? AG: I mean…”So joyously/ So maidenly/ So womanly/Her demeaning/ In every thing,/Far, far passing/ That I can indite/Or suffice to write” – Those are, you know, just two..two lines rhymed…two.. See, it runs on, sometimes, six short lines in a row with the same rhyme, but every once in awhile, or more often, broken up into two lines in a row with a rhyme, or three lines in a row with a rhyme – Dig? – So I just said “doublet”, I just made up “doublet” (doublet is a pair of pants!) Student: Six-lines-in-a-rowrhymes, so why not a sextuplet, or a..

AG: Well, yeah Student: Why a doublet? AG: I just said it right out of my mouth that minute, I didn’t mean it! I was just trying to say there are.. the book there says, very interestingly, that one way you can (kind of) bring it back home, to control, one way you can bring it back home, is all of a sudden you just have two lines rhyming, or three lines rhyming, instead of a whole run of six. So that, in other words, it’s not this invariable monotonous same rhyme over and over and over,line, line, line, line, six times, seven times. All of a sudden you have “trip/trap “or “trip/skip” and “merry/cherry/berry”, and then “moon/June/spoon/.. foon/ goon/ boon/oom /woom/ boom

Anne Waldman: “Pull My Daisy” AG: “daisy/maisy” – then “daisy/maisy” And also, apparently, I think, from my own ear, it varies from masculine rhymes, (which are single syllables, like “find/kind”, right?) – does anybody know about masculine and feminine rhymes? – The masculine rhymes are a single syllable. Feminine rhymes are two.. double or triple syllable – triple?

Anne Waldman: Can be.

AG: Yeah – “Madness/Badness” – two syllables. That’s considered what is called a feminine rhyme. See, the masculine is the hard . So, “right/light”, “creep/sleep” – but “indict/rewrite”.. well, that’s not.. what else is there? Student: “Flower/hour” AG: – “flower/hour”?, – “maidenly/womanly”? (that’s a three syllable line, “maidenly/womanly” – the words are all three syllable, but “-enly” is two syllables that rhyme – “..enly/..anly” – “maidenly/womanly”) – “meaning/everything” – I guess the accent is on the first of the two syllables in the feminine rhyme – (When it’s) one syllable (and) (then) the accent naturally (falls) on that one syllable – “Heart/smart” – “You’re entered in my heart/That’s why I got so smart”. So the accent falls at the end of the line. In the feminine rhyme, apparently, the accent will fall not on the last syllable but the syllable before. So.. so.. or the… an earlier syllable in the word, like “joyously/maidenly”, so it’s actually ” joy-ously/maid-enly”. Is there any distinction between two syllables ending rhymes and threesyllables ending in rhymes? does anybody know? Are there different words for those? Is anybody unclear that there’s one-syllable rhymes, two-syllable rhymes, three syllable rhymes? Everybody knows about, not knows about, but everybody knows what we’re talking about?

Student: I don’t quite know

Peter Orlovsky [sitting in on the class]: I don’t…
AG: Okay.. Peter doesn’t…this..this..there is some dyslexia, occasionally, among geniuses, that can’t follow one-and-one-is-two. So – “glad/bad”, that’s masculine and it’s one syllable

Peter Orlovsky: How do you know it’s masculine? AG: It’s called masculine.When it’s just one syllable it’s calledmasculine rhyme.

Peter Orlovsky: Where’s theone syllable? So is one syllable?

AG: Glad

Peter Orlovsky: Glad’s one syllable.

AG: Mad – “I am so glad/You are so mad” – “I think I am so glad/to find you are so mad”

Peter Orlovsky: I get it, I got it…

AG: “I think I am so glad/to find you are so mad”, or “I think I am quite glad/to find you are so mad/that if we had to sit/I sure would lose my wit”. So “glad/mad”,”wit/sit”, they’re one syllable..

Peter Orlovsky: That’s masculine?

AG: ..and it’s got one accent, and it is called “masculine” (it might be called “glump rhyme”, or it might be called “hard rhyme”, but it happens to be called masculine). And then “feminine” rhyme is one where there’s more than one syllable – “Much mirth and no madness/All good and no badness” – “madness/badness” – “Much mirth and no madness/All good and no badness” – that’s different, that’s feminine form and it has two syllables, in that case, and the accent seems to fall on the first of the two syllables – “Much mirth and no madness /All good and no badness”. Then there are three-syllable lines – “So joy-ous-ly/So mai-den-ly/ So wom-an-ly/Her demean-ing/ In every-thing” Student: The rhyme there is only two syllables?

AG: Huh?

Student (2) : The rhyme is only one syllable(“-ly” and “-ly”)

AG: No, well, “..endly/..anly” . (It is) “joyously/maidenly”. I think they’re.. (we’re on page seventy-six of that…) Student:(I wonder) if all the syllables have to rhyme?

AG: They… At best they do . If they didn’t all rhyme, then you would have feminine rhyme but the second syllable off-rhyme, first syllable off-rhyme (they have a thing called “off-rhymes” too – do you know “off-rhyme”? – it’s only a slant rhyme or off-rhyme, they don’t exactly rhyme, like, “In this room, I am a bard/I’ll write on the black board” – “I’ll write it up on the blackboard” – “In this room, I am a bard/I’ll write it up on the blackboard”. So that’s off-rhyme, feminine off-rhyme – (no, “bard/board” would be another thing, you can get them mixed)…well, anyway. Well, what does it say about feminine rhyme in the… you have a dictionary at the back (of your anthology)? – Okay, on page thirteen-ten, there’s more of an explanation – “Where rhyming comes from nobody knows”..anyway..”In prosody, rhyme refers to a.. (this is page thirteen-ten) close correspondence of vowel and consonant..”

– [Allen breaks off reading] –

I don’t know what that is, it’s (too hard to contemplate” [resumes direct explanation] “rude/brood“, “be mute/dispute” “singing/springing” “relation/sensation”. Now.. when lines end on the accented line, like “rude/brood” it’s called masculine. Otherwise (“singing/springing”), feminine”. Then there’s a thing there called arime riche, which is puns, where the two word that are spelt sound alike but are spelt different, but that’s, sort of, not fair! (well, it doesn’t sound so good, unless you want to be a little bit sly), so that’s used for sly-ness or logopoeia (logopoeia , the dance of the intellect among words), when you have rime-riche or pun rhymes rather than a real difference between the two words

Student: Sometimes it’s very hard for the eye too – the sight rhyme

AG: Er.. I don’t know. What is a sight-rhyme. What do you mean?

Student: Like the words are close but they don’t rhyme

AG: They’re not pronounced the same? They’re not pronounced.. like..can you give me a instance Student : Like “rime” and riche”? – the “r” and “i”.? (I don’t know. I thought of sight rhyme, and I thought that was…)

AG: I’m not sure. I forgot. I’ve heard of it. – that would be actually, a. kind of…what’s the word for that when the first syllable, where the beginning of the word rhymes rather than the end?

Student: I don’t know.

AG: Okay, well there is one. They’re interesting, where you’d have the beginning of the word rhyme rather than the end of the word. I/we’ll check it out. It’ll rise, it’ll come up sooner or later in the course of these things. Anyway, I just wanted to point out the difference between masculine and feminine rhymes.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-three minutes in and concluding at approximately fifty-three-and-three-quarter minutes in]


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