From the time that I was very young , my father would recite poetry to as he would stand at the sink shaving . With me attentively watching and listening, he would very animatedly recite his favorites. One of those was "When Malindy Sings " by Paul Laurence Dunbar. As I got older we would recite that poem in sort of duet, almost like a song. Those are still cherished memories for me and have left a strong influence and imprint on my style of reading and writing poetry.
It is very sad to me that the "Modern Poetry " movement has, in many ways, tried to totally disregard, dismiss and discredit rhyming poems in general in this era, considering that the rhyming poems of the past have been the most remembered, most recited and memorized poems over the past hundreds of years. The rhyming poems have been the ones, for generations that school children have been given to learn. The rhyming poems are the ones that have been so frequently repeated and referred to in acceptance and motivational speeches. The rhyming poems have been the ones that have captivated the hearts of the general poetry lover.
Now, rhyming poems have been labeled by so many in academia as "hobby poetry"....so sad. Can you actually find a more famous or move beloved poem than Edgar Allan Poe's rhyming poem "Annabelle Lee"?
Are there any more beautiful poems than the many rhyming poems of Emily Dickinson?
Although he lived to be only 33 years old, Dunbar was prolific, writing short stories, novels, librettos, plays, songs and essays as well as the poetry for which he became well known. He was popular with black and white readers of his day, and his works are celebrated today by scholars and school children alike.
His style encompassed two distinct voices -- the standard English of the classical poet and the evocative dialect of the turn-of-the-century black community in America.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Web Site :