Jan 26, 2005

Why would a poet choose to punctuate mid-line?

For example:
     I could give it back to you, perhaps in a season, 
     say summer. I could give you leaf back, green 
     grass, sky full of rain... 
Like fine art, there's so much plasticity in poetry. What you add to it by reading it is not the least of it, either. Many poets simply "play" with punctuation like that. Or others craft their poetry off-kilter to lend an awkwardness that is in keeping with the mood of the poem.  
To say anything goes in poetry is brushing it all off too lightly, but one would hope there is some effort and art poured into the arrangement of the sounds and rhythms as indicated by the words as they spill out into line lengths, and the punctuation that tells us how to say it all.
Pushing the medium even further, I've read poetry that IS prose--a word dump into a solid paragraph--with no shortening of line lengths to guide you.
What I think is that all methods are good if they have something to say and it speaks to you somehow. If it leaves you guessing, and that fits in with the poem, then it's effective.

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