Monday, December 9, 2013
Poets, What do you think?
This post is from an article by Nancy Simpson, “Writing Free Verse: Some Questions and Answers,” posted on this blog December 17, 2011.
3) QUESTION: Do I have to punctuate?
ANSWER: No. This is your choice. Once in a while, in the literary magazines, I read poems that have no punctuation. However, it is as if the poem were punctuated and then the poet lifted out the punctuation marks. There is no rule, but caution would say, help the reader all you can. If there were a rule regarding punctuation, it would be: Do not lose your reader.
4) QUESTION: What is the rule for line breaks?
ANSWER: There is no rule. Line breaks are completely your responsibility and your choice. Some free verse poets work in unrhymed meter, some count syllables, some spoon feed the reader one thought on one line and the next bite on the next line. There are no rules, but there are a few guidelines.
A.) End the line with a strong word, not a weak word such as a, and, or the.
B.) Be aware of your one-word lines. That one word you want to use will draw attention to itself. It had better be great, for it will provoke questions, and it will slow your reader.
C.) If your line is too wide for a narrow page, it will wrap, and you will lose whatever it was you were trying to accomplish. Editors shun the wide line that wants to wrap.
D.) If there were one rule to line breaks, it would be, work your lines.
Read the entire article here.