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Passions in Poetry

Punctuation in Poetry

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Christopher
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0 posted 05-29-2002 04:17 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher


Thoughts?
serenity blaze
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1 posted 05-29-2002 05:02 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

MANY!!!!


okay...for starters, in strict meter schemes? does punctuation that reads as pause count as a "beat"?

Balladeer
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2 posted 05-29-2002 07:19 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Punctuation is important....period!
Severn
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3 posted 05-29-2002 07:29 AM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

It's impt..but not always in freeverse...no, not at all..

Nan
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4 posted 05-29-2002 07:55 AM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

I'm with Deer... but then I'm a structured poet..

A skilled writer directs a reader's inference of their intent through punctuation.

It only makes sense to use less in 'free' verse.  If there are no rules in the format, how could we justify any rules in punctuation?... Darned rebels..
Janet Marie
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5 posted 05-29-2002 11:38 AM       View Profile for Janet Marie   Email Janet Marie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Janet Marie

are ellipses punctuation? heh
doreen peri
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6 posted 05-29-2002 02:04 PM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

the thing about poetry is
sometimes it's punctuated with
semi-colons stressing a pause
and the reader's lost not knowing
and sometimes it's not and there are
no periods explanation
points
no differentiation
of pragmatic platitudes
in the persuasion of
words attempting
emotion with only 26 letters
because that's all there is
you know

and i know
and you may not know
but there is a certain
infinity
in the flow of
things
with our without

punctuation

because life continues
oftentimes
without a breath
and i'm breathing
now deep
breathing
rapid
breathing
trying to get

to the end
of my thought but
here's the deal

styles come and styles
go as do loves so we must
let them

breathe in
breathe out
let them take hold
let go

punctuation is something
i often have and often don't
depending on the need of it
because sometimes
sometimes
sometimes

i don't want it to stop
i just want to keep breathing

Sven
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7 posted 05-29-2002 04:51 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

thank you from a rebel. . .

I tend not to use as much punctuation as I used to. . . only in the line, when I feel that it's necessary. . . other than that, I use as little as possible. . .

I let the reader insert their own breaks and thoughts. . .

is punctuation necessary for poetry??  well. . . yes. . . and, no. . .

waiting for more thoughts. . .

-------------------------------------------------------

To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

Brad
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8 posted 05-30-2002 07:16 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Serenity,

technically, no. But that's a technicality. Let's ask a different question, if you see a comma or a semi-colon, how long do you (anybody) pause?

Jamie
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9 posted 06-06-2002 07:38 AM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

half as long as when i come to a period; Brad
Sunshine
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10 posted 06-06-2002 08:36 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

...ellipses BETTER be part of punctuation,
or I'm going to lose my train of thought...
when I continue to thread them
together, y'know?
Sven
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11 posted 06-06-2002 04:47 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

yes. . . let's consider ". . ." or, is this: "..." more correct???

-----------------------------------------------------

To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

Severn
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12 posted 06-06-2002 05:19 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

...

is 'more' correct.

Ellipses are used for pauses, or unfinished/interrupted sentences in dialogue, or quotations..ie, if you are quoting from a sentence/paragraph and you leave out sections you replace the omitted words with an '...'

eg:

She walked down the road, thinking many things, slowly

quoting:

'She walked down the road...slowly'

K
Sven
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13 posted 06-07-2002 04:44 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

thanks K. . .

now. . . I'm wondering something. . . we're talking about Punctuation in Poetry. . . what about Punctuation as Poetry. . .

thoughts??

------------------------------------------------------

To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

cutiepiesugarbabie
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14 posted 06-24-2002 10:24 PM       View Profile for cutiepiesugarbabie   Email cutiepiesugarbabie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for cutiepiesugarbabie

hmmmm i don't like punctuation...i think poetry should be felt...not too structued!

o*~Everyone makes mistakes-get over them and make more tomorrow!~*o

clve527
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15 posted 07-08-2002 02:59 PM       View Profile for clve527   Email clve527   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for clve527

Punctuation and poetry should, wait need to go hand in hand.  How is a reader supposed to follow the direction the author intended?  Or are readers of poetry meant to be mind readers?  This was found on another forum, showing how important punctuation really is:

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous,kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior.

You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings
whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me
be yours?

Gloria


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior.

You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will
you let me be?

Yours,
Gloria

***
Casey
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16 posted 07-08-2002 03:10 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Excellent example.

Pete

Never express yourself more clearly than you can think - Niels Bohr

Severn
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since 07-17-99
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17 posted 07-16-2002 10:50 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

I completely disagree.

Prose may need punctuation (but I say not always), and the above example is - wait for it - prose. Show me a poetical example that proves that meaning can be twisted through the lack, or clever insertion, of punctuation thereby ruining the intent of the poem.

But hold on - you won't be able to. Because it is my opinion that most poems of any quality have a certain amount of ambiguity anyway..and are subjective things, interpretable on many levels by different people.

It really should go without saying that poetry often doesn't function by the same set of rules that apply to prose. (Yes, there are prose/poems of course, but even then..)

Oh - and for some prose that defies 'rules' I suggest reading Gertrude Stein...

K
Kielo
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Posts 1259


18 posted 07-17-2002 01:41 AM       View Profile for Kielo   Email Kielo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kielo

Punctuation is always important, even in free verse, because a lack of punctuation contributes to the poem as much as punctuation contributes to a novel. I think...

Kielo
janmew
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since 10-27-2001
Posts 135
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19 posted 08-04-2002 08:48 AM       View Profile for janmew   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for janmew

Old post, but here goes... I have read poems where I suddenly had to back up and say "whoa, the thought changed and I'm lost" That was because the poet didn't use a period where needed. As someone said, readers are not mind-readers. Puncuation tells the reader how you mean your poem to be read. Personally, I can understant using less, but I hate poems with none at all. Only my opinion.

And I have to disagree, quality poetry does not have to be ambiguous at all.

Jan
Sven
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20 posted 08-09-2002 04:33 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

quote:
Puncuation tells the reader how you mean your poem to be read

but, what if I want the reader to read the poem in his/her own voice?  to let them find all the subtle shades of meaning for themselves...interpretation is half the fun in poetry... everyone sees everything differently, even with punctuation...

Jan, I don't think that Severn was saying that a quality poem has to be totally ambiguous (btw K, love what you said about Gertrude Stein, great example!), just that any quality poem has a degree of ambiguity to it. . . I've always said that good poetry makes you think. . . that's ambiguity. . . it makes you think about what you've just read. . .

lack of punctuation also adds to the idea of the reader being a "co-writer" with the poet. . . the reader adds their own breaks and marks, and "writes" the final version of the poem for themselves. . .

interesting discussion. . .

----------------------------------------------------------------------

To the world, you may only be one person. But to one person, you may be the world.

Ron
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21 posted 08-10-2002 03:34 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Interesting idea. If we leave out the punctuation, the reader is more involved? Wow, just think how involved we could get the reader if we left out the words, too!  

Don't laugh, because I think, for the writer, punctuation and words are really the same things - tools we use to communicate. Most of us spend a lot of time and effort choosing our words, not just to communicate concrete ideas but also to communicate mood, atmosphere, and feelings. Calling someone "Poopsie" in a poem may mean the same thing as calling them "Darling," but one is playful and one is more serious. With a single word-choice, we've set the tone of the piece and, to some extent, provided the reader with some back-story (that they can even interpret on their own).

Punctuation, I believe, is no less useful to the writer than words. In a scene with a lot of action, I use many more short, choppy sentences than I otherwise would, in commensurately short paragraphs. Things are happening fast on the page, and the structure helps convey that. Short sentences in long paragraphs, often with implied subjects, can help convey strength and resolve. If I want to communicate confusion, I'll use short sentences, too, but they'll be tied together with "and" and become run-on sentences in longer, sometimes interminable, paragraphs. When I need to give the reader a break from a fast pace, I'll switch to more convoluted sentences, usually with longer words, often with more adjectives, and invariably with many, many more commas. Sentences like my last one force the read to slow down and think, taking the emphasis off story events and moving it to feelings. And yea when I want to imply a sense of rushed incoherence I might even write a few sentences that remain devoid of excess punctuation.  

Hemingway, I think, was the unqualified master of using punctuation as much as words to tell a story. Read one of his longer works some time, and pay special attention to his shifts. It's often pure brilliance.

About ambiguity

Comedians know that to explain a joke is to destroy it. If you have to tell someone why the joke is funny, you can bet it won't be. And, often, the best jokes are the ones that incorporate a "eureka" leap, that split-second between the final word of the punch line and the laugh that follows. That is the moment of understanding, and it seems that the effort required by the listener to reach that moment is very much a part of the intensity of the amusement.

Writing isn't greatly different, of course. We're trying to communicate, but if we have to explain too much, we're going to lose our impact. I think a large part of the skill in writing is being able to take the reader to that moment of eureka, and then let them walk the last few feet themselves. And, yea. With some stories, Kafka coming immediately to mind, those last few feet can turn into several miles.

I think it's a mistake to confuse the roles of ambiguity and profundity.

We should try very, very hard to avoid ambiguity. With a simple message, that's easily done. As we add depth to our work, we'll find it more difficult to avoid being ambiguous, but we should continue trying. At some point, though, we discover that introducing layers of meaning is inevitably going to result in an ambiguity that can't be explained without ruining the joke. It's a delicate balance, a trade-off that can't be avoided. Profundity results in ambiguity.

The problem I see is that too many neophyte writers confuse that cause and effect relationship. Throwing in a bit of ambiguity does NOT add profoundness to a story or poem.

I don't believe our job is to make a reader think. Our job is to communicate a message. If our message has any depth to it, if we strike a balance between communication and beating them over the head, they WILL be forced to think for themselves. As a side-effect. Not as a goal. The totally cool thing is, if we did it right, the reader will probably see things we didn't. That's not because our message was ambiguous, though. It's because our message had depth.
janmew
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22 posted 01-03-2003 10:29 AM       View Profile for janmew   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for janmew

Again, I'm coming back to an old topic... I've been away a while. Still, I have to agree with Ron on this. When the poets write a poem, they usually knows what meaning they intend. If more than one meaning can be read into it, great. However, with all the time we spend crafting our words I don't agree that we aim for ambiguity, nor that it is always desirable. I also don't think poetry is only to make the reader think,... I believe it is to allow the reader to feel, which is hard to do if you have to figure out a puzzle first. Punctuation has it's place.

Someone asked for an example.

The sun radiates its warmth
upon the waning night
and lo the angels sing
to wake us from our fright
with mournful tones
the demons of the dark
give way once more
to the singing of the meadowlark.

Now, without any punctuation... who's mournful tones are those? The angels, or the demons? Ah, we might assume it is the demons, but maybe the poet meant it to be the angels? No one can tell without the comma.

Jan

Joyce Johnson
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23 posted 01-06-2003 02:34 AM       View Profile for Joyce Johnson   Email Joyce Johnson   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Joyce Johnson

I just found this and as I am often confused about puncuation in poetry, I was interested enough to stop and read even though it is way past my bedtime.

I am going to add my thoughts on the subject. I think for beginners at least, we should be careful to use our punctuation.  It is an aid for writing after all and poetry is writing.  Only after we become important and well known should we try for our own style by ignoring the rules.  One has to really know his craft before he starts ignoring the basic rules.  Also, while we are on the subject, if I run across a poem in which the pronoun I is written i or the word you is written u I tend to pass on by.  Joyce
Kielo
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24 posted 01-06-2003 09:52 PM       View Profile for Kielo   Email Kielo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kielo

Raising the point of 'I' is interesting, and now that you mention it, I occasionally use 'i' instead of 'I'. Not because I'm lazy, but because it makes 'I' small and insignificant, lost among all the other letters. 'I' ceases to stand out when it becomes 'i'. Just a thought.

Punctuation is important to separate thoughts, but using less punctuation as opposed to a great amount of it can convey as much emotion as words. For example, I know many people who use less and less punctuation the more agitated they become. They stop capitalizing, and so on. So while a certain amount of punctuation may be necessary, and while punctuation helps convey meaning, a lack thereof accomplishes the same thing.

Kielo

I know only one thing, and that thing is that I know nothing.

 
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