Accomplished writers respect the rules of grammar the way an acrobat respects the tightrope — grammar might be intimidating and complicated, but we need it in order to perform.
Yet sometimes, an acrobat takes her foot off the tightrope. She does a flip or some other trick of physical prowess that seems to defy the laws of gravity and exceed the potential of the human body.
Grammar rules lend structure and clarity to our writing and give us common ground rules that we can use to communicate clearly and effectively, just like the tightrope gives an acrobat a foundation upon which to walk.
So when does a writer take her foot off the rules of grammar so she can perform spectacular tricks?
Good Grammar in Poetry Writing
I’m often asked by writers and poets how they should handle grammar, capitalization, and punctuation in poetry. When it comes to grammar rules, is poetry writing the exception?
Many poets demonstrate grammatical expertise, neatly parking periods and commas in their designated spaces and paying homage to proper capitalization.
Consider the following poem and how it follows the rules of grammar. Note that in poetry writing, the traditional rule is that the first letter of each line is capitalized regardless of whether or not it starts a new sentence.
Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers
By Adrienne Rich
Aunt Jennifer’s tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.
Aunt Jennifer’s fingers fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.
When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.
Writing Poetry Without Grammar Rules
Poets don’t always follow the rules, which is why poetry is attractive to writers who are especially creative, rebellious, and enjoy coloring outside the lines.
Grammar rules, particularly spelling and punctuation, are nothing more than a creative tool for poets who choose to dismiss the rules altogether or use the them to decorate and add aesthetic elements to a poem.
Many poets have skirted grammar with great success. Many more have failed. E.E. Cummings is well known for giving grammar the proverbial finger, but he takes his anarchy one step further and actually alters basic sentence structure, and manages to do so quite effectively.
anyone lived in a pretty how town
By ee cummings
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.
Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more
when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her
someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream
stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)
one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was
all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
with by spirit and if by yes.
Women and men (both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain
Cummings has dismissed capital letters altogether, and he uses punctuation seemingly at random. Yet the poem works. Imagine it with the proper grammar rules applied, and you’ll quickly realize that his way is more effective for this piece and what he’s trying to accomplish with language.
Poetry Writing – Where Rules and Creativity Cooperate or Collide
As the poetry canon grows beyond measure, poets increasingly reach for creative devices to make their work stand out.
Toying with grammar rules is one such device, but it is not something that can be approached carelessly. If you choose to forgo the rules because you don’t know them rather than as a creative technique, your lack of knowledge will show and the poem will present as amateurish. Of course, that’s true for all types of writing: learn the rules, and only after you have learned them, go ahead and break them.
I salute anyone who breaks the rules in the interest of art and great poetry writing just as much as I admire poets who craft meter and verse within the confines of grammar. So for this language-loving poet, either way is the right way. Walk the tight rope or jump from it and see if you can fly.
What are your thoughts on applying grammar rules to poetry writing? Are you a stickler for good grammar, even in your creative or experimental work, or do you like to bend and break the rules? Share your thoughts in the comments.
I have been writing poetry consistently for 14 years and only in the past maybe 3–4 yrs have I actually not only been compulsive in my grammar, but even attempted it much at all. The reason for this is because I started as a lyricist and lyrics do not need punctuation when they are sung. But now as a full-fledged poet, I cannot possibly write without it. Comparing any good poem without grammar to the same with it is like comparing a handsome tiger without fur to one with it. Grammar is vital to all communication because it expresses urgency, hesitation, exclamations, questions, pauses, breaks of thought and much more. Personally I think E.E. Cummings was an atrociously amateur writer. His proverbial finger to grammar hasn’t helped him much. Compare Lord Byron, John Wilmot, or William Blake to E.E. Cummings. They make him look like a child. I am yet to see how any poem, including the one shown above, is truly benefiting from the blatant disregard of proper punctuation. Grammar is the very instructions for how you read what the words say. Without it, words are just words with virtually no guidance, direction, or purpose.
Anyway, that’s my take on it. Not sure if anyone will read this comment.
Hi Geddy. Thanks for sharing your opinion on the matter of grammar and poetry. I am of a different mind, and as a huge fan of E.E. Cummings, I have a great appreciation for experimental works, including those that question the rules of grammar by breaking those rules. It takes a highly skilled writer to break the rules effectively, and I believe Cummings was successful in his endeavors. True, many of his works have a childlike sensibility — I believe that is intended and executed effectively by flouting the rules (as children are prone to do). Also, I think it’s worth noting that not all of Cummings’ works were written in this style. Although I believe grammar is critical to written language, I also believe that there is a time and place for everything, including breaking the rules.
Melissa, you said yourself “Good writers respect grammar the way an acrobat respects the tightrope. Grammar might be intimidating and complicated, but we need it in order to perform.” I fully agree with that statement. I disagree with virtually any and all follow-up contradictions.
I would not be so quick to say it required a high amount of skill for e e cummings (whenever you write his name you have to use the same poor grammar he uses) to disregard the rules of the English language. All that it takes anyone is laziness, a lack of self-discipline, and at times a bit of good ol’ willful ignorance. I am very much unimpressed both by his proverbial finger to proper writing and his writing itself. He seems devoid of depth, wisdom, understanding, and something truly meaningful to say. On top of that, his writing skills/habits were horrid. If you like him, fine, but like a Van Gogh or a Monet (compare their dated work to the Renaissance master of Italy), he was reasonably decent at what he does compared to other amateurs in high school, but to be a man known for generations for his classic work, to me he just simple doesn’t deserve the right to be remembered. (As you can see I take punctuation and following the rules of the language quite seriously, especially now in an age where virtually everyone under 40 does not know how to spell “their” and “you’re” right.)
Well, I guess I’ll await your inevitable defense of this poor undisciplined and very much overrated writer. Thanks again for reading.
Geddy, I’m not interested in trying to convince you of the merits in E.E. Cummings’ work. I admire artists who defy convention and break the rules effectively, and I think he was successful in his endeavors. That is my opinion. Yours may differ.
I admire artists who defy convention and break the rules effectively as well and for this reason I cannot respect the work of “e e cummings” just like how I cannot respect the music of a band of misfits who never learned the proper way of playing their instruments. We need to have standards to the quality we demand and I personally draw the line well before reaching this guy. Now give me some John Wilmot . . . I’ll take his defiance of propriety and ceremonial norms over Cummings any day of the week.
P.S. Check out my link. My poetry book is now out. Enjoy!
Your opening statement contradicts itself…(?)
In all fairness, ee cummings didn’t always break the rules when he wrote. His other works demonstrate that he certainly had a grasp on the rules. Personally, I love his rule-breaking, but obviously, it’s not for everyone. As for musicians, one of my favorite guitarists (Lindsay Buckingham) can’t read music. Many of the world’s greatest musicians did not play their instrument the proper way.
I do think that an artist’s best bet is to learn as much as possible (academically) but true art does not come from learning; it comes from the heart, and if it speaks to an audience, that’s enough for me. Actually, I don’t understand why someone cares whether a band has “learned to play their instruments properly.” If you like the music, you like the music. Who cares how they play their instruments? Do you care how I hold my pen? I also don’t like the idea of locking people out of the arts who don’t have access to formal education. If you can pick up an instrument or a pen and make art that speaks to some audience, then I say good for you. I don’t want to give the wrong idea here — I believe one should practice, study, and hone one’s craft. But art is not about following convention.
To geddy: ‘He seems devoid of depth, wisdom, understanding, and something truly meaningful to say.’
For example, in e.e. cummings poem [little tree]:
it’s as if he’s dressing a small child, but this child lives in your mind and it’s not a really a child it’s a tree –– and the poem feels for all the children, and all the lost powerless souls in the world and the potential that exists in everyone to extend this happiness to others, as he does to the tree in dressing it, and he shows that this is what makes life so wonderful with all its possibilities.
All this is not said. yet said – in that, he is a genius. And he says it without preaching or from a holier-than-thou or didactic stance. ‘any one lived in a pretty how town’ is similarly meaningful.
Sometimes strict adherence to rules, in all spheres of life, can block or narrow the breadth of understanding. (And creativity).
So true, Eloise. “any one lived in a pretty how town” is one of my favorite poems. I absolutely adore it.
One thing some people in the creative writing professions do not take into consideration, is that there is a majority of creative writers who have a gift of writing in verse and other creative talents, who struggle with grammar, being dyslexic.
Poetry is for everyone, a piece of poetry is an expression of an emotion, a feeling, that is put into words, its the emotion from the poem that affect the readers, it’s not about whether the grammar is correct or not correct.
Being a stickler for the rules prevents creativity because creativity does not follow rules, it is fluid and changeable,
and spontaneous, you cannot be spontaneous if you are sticking to rules, and having rules which others are unable to follow is a disadvantage to many creative people who have something important to say or share with others,, and who have just as much insight and unique expression, as anyone who is academically correct.
Hi Nicola. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don’t think anyone should feel like they can’t or should not write. Writing is for everyone.
You’re obviously an academic poet not a non-academic poet. Your statement that e.e. Cummings is less a poet than Blake or Byron is ridiculous. You have a right to your opinion but not your own facts.
“As for musicians, one of my favorite guitarists (Lindsay Buckingham) can’t read music.”
Neither could Lennon and McCartney, but they sure knew their musical grammar (rules of composition).
I agree sir, and I’m not even a poet, I’m not even an amateur poetry reader.
But I woke one morning to find my husband had passed away, quite unexpectedly, through the night and for reasons that are beyond me, I have found amazing solace in reading poetry written by others who are grieving a loss. I can’t explain it so I’ve quit trying and I just hold close anything to help with the lost feeling. But, as usual, reading poetry I started having questions about the subject and decided to Google Poetry Rules.
Reading E.E. Cummings poem, or what I managed to get through, made me feel about poetry the way I used to when I attempted to read it, most definitely when I was in school, confusion. It always seemed disjointed, no rules of punctuation, leaching out some meaning by reading a section or a line over again. Reading anything should be enjoyable and not like a bad day at work!
The first time I read The Raven I thought, “now this is poetry I get, I understand where he was going with it, I followed the story without rereading, it flowed and the rhythm was beautiful and to this day, when I read most of Poe’s work, it’s the same, it sweeps me up and takes me to his dark and mysterious mind which is like exciting and scary at the same time, but you don’t want to leave. LOL.
Anyway, thanks for listening.
Yes you are right..
I admire your opinion.
Thank you. However, it’s important for us all to remember that opinions aren’t right or wrong. That’s what makes them opinions rather than facts.
I agree for the most part. I also think that E. E. Cummings is terrible! But i do disagree with you on one point! I have come acrosss some “free verse” that i like very much! I like the poets that you mentioned, off course, but even if you have to weed through some absolutely “terrible” poetry (free verse), it is worth it… There are many fine examples of terrific poems written in free verse, and there is even something “electrifying” about free verse when it really does work… The way that i look at it is that when a child writes, “I LOVE you,” and uses a drawing of a “HEART” instead of the word “love,” it is still language… even though it may not be grammatically correct!
Hello, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Here at Writing Forward, we might criticize writing, but we don’t criticize or insult other writers. You might feel that a poet’s work was terrible (or not to your liking) but it’s poor etiquette to say the poet himself is terrible.
It is important for writers to learn good critique skills, so I wanted to point this out, even though obviously Mr. Cummings won’t be viewing this.
can i read your any piece of poetry please
i think you are very right.
He over did it and ended up with just a bunch of words not in sync at all.
Break the rules just a little bit in any given peace.
Help me here with these lines frm my poem. A friend want me to change i want it as is.
Deep in the forest.
I sit. (original)
Deep in the forest,
the later while its correct it messes up the flow of the nxt lines which are crafted in similar fashion.
I totally agree with you, as I’m a person who cannot move on in writing without using punctuation. To me , punctuation is an important tool of grammar, for any expression of writing… I need to go through. it.
In simple words , English literature cannot be READ perfectly…without a use of punctuation… and so goes with a good poetry writing.
That’s my take, not to hurt anyone.
Somebody commented on one of my poems saying:
“Your spelling and grammar is terrible. Please, I beg of you, stop writing shitty poems.”
And I sent them this article, quoting some of the things said in it.
I knew I would immediately find a website page on this when I searched it because its very huge in poetry, and many, many beautiful poems aren’t grammatically-correct.
I told this person that I was sorry he was so closed-minded to poetry in that way, because of all those amazing poems out there, that are grammatically-incorrect, and he is going to immediately label them ‘shitty’.
His one-worded reply, was: “No.”
I think I somewhat stumped him. He had no argument back, because, what can he say to actual evidence? An entire website page completely against what he just said! And the fact that I didn’t personally attack him, so he couldn’t defend himself in that way, either, because I gave him no chance to.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for making this article.
Jelisa, the point of this article is that writers should learn all the rules of grammar and then break them, but only when it benefits the writing. Your grammar isn’t terrible, but your comment does contain several mistakes, which suggests that you’re not bothering to learn the rules at all. I think the person who commented on your poems had a tactless approach, but maybe you can take the message and run with it instead of looking for ways to prove the messenger wrong. Many writers don’t want to learn grammar so they look for excuses, and this article is not meant to be used an excuse for ignoring the rules. If you want your writing to shine, you’re going to have to work at it, and that means learning proper grammar.
Melissa, I do understand what you’re trying to say, and I agree completely. In order to break the rules, one needs to know the rules. However, I wouldn’t judge somebody’s complete knowledge of grammar based on a single comment or a single text message. Believe it or not, many people who do know how to use proper grammar do not do so all of the time because in some casual situations it seems inappropriate and harsh. for example, even though I am more than capable of applying all of the rules of grammar it is much quicker to type like this because it’s a super casual social situation. I’m replying to a comment on the internet, not writing my dang thesis, you know? it would be super weird and time consuming if I were to, say, text my mom or my boyfriend in perfect formal correct English!
That being said, don’t be so quick to judge a person’s formal writing if you’ve never actually read that person’s formal writing.
Hi Sofia. I don’t think you’ll find judgement in this post. That’s not what this is about. In fact, I’ve worked to be an advocate for writers at all skill levels, especially beginners. However, I also encourage all writers to learn the skills that are required for writing, and I encourage everyone to use language in a way that is appropriate in any given setting. This post doesn’t suggest that one shouldn’t use shorthand in text messages. I disagree with you somewhat about public comments on the internet. Those are online for eternity, and everyone would be wise to make public written remarks with caution and care. Each person can decide for themselves how much attention they should pay to their grammar in such situations. In any case, this post is about poetry writing, not writing text messages or comments on a blog. Thanks for your comment.
You are a good writer..
All of us must respect other writers.
I write short stories. I say this because the other side of grammar use is the nature of the story. Rappers call themselves poets and their “style” is hardly English. A story about Detroit inner city isn’t the same as a mountain meadow. So the point is, we shouldn’t mix the two in the same story. And then there is readability. I recently read a piece I wrote weeks ago and had to take it out of the done directory and place it in the almost finish stuff. It was difficult to read and lacked tune, voice, and the message was lost.
Hi Joe. I’m not sure how “the nature of the story” is the “other side” of grammar. A story should use grammar, certainly. I don’t see them as opposites, but rather grammar is a tool that one must use to write a great story.
As for your comments about rappers, I’m going to have to disagree. There is a lot of great poetry in rap and hip hop music (Jay-Z, for example, is a brilliant poet). No, a story about a Detroit inner city is not the same as a mountain meadow. A Detroit inner city immediately indicates human struggle whereas a mountain meadow sounds like an image on a greeting card. You can write poetry about either, and artists (especially poets and lyricists) may take any liberties with the English language that they want in their work. That is why we call it art.
We can talk about “high art,” which, to me, is art that comes from formal training or from people who have advantages (access to lots of books, museums, etc.). What makes rap and hip hop so awesome is that it can be magical and heartbreaking and inspiring even though it’s not learned in a classroom. And that means it comes from heart, soul, and raw talent. Which is beautiful, if you ask me.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I know what works for me and what doesn’t
Can wait to hear your new rap album. Careful with the high art crap you should snobby.
Well Joe, I guess you don’t take kindly to people who respectfully disagree with you. That’s too bad.
There was a Poet from Hershell
Who wrote all his verse in the vertical
When asked, “Can you cease?”
He said, ” Not in the least!”
And blinded them all with his ego!
Thanks for sharing your poem, Sara.
As always a wonderful article. I agree, without knowledge of proper grammar and usage we can not break grammar rules effectively when needed. I’m actually quite surprised by the comments left, I think your use of E. E. Cummings poem was the perfect example of someone who knew grammar intimately and chose to break the rules. Someone said he had no depth in his writing, the example poem in this article shows the opposite. The word usage is where the depth is and what pulls you in. What makes one want to understand each and every line.
As to your question, I think a true artist needs to understand their chosen field but once that understanding is in place they should have the freedom to bend, break, or even throw out the rules when needed. Because great art comes from somewhere much deeper than where rules and regulations reside. Although I do think those rules are what eventually gets us to that deeper place.
Thanks, Tiffiny. I agree with you 100%. “Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town” is one of my favorite poems. It’s whimsical but sad, and it has a childlike quality that reminds me of Dr. Seuess’s work. I love writing that is abstract in the sense that the reader is not sure what the author’s intent is, but the poem is understood nevertheless, sometimes at a deeper level.
When Eddie Vedder introduced R.E.M. into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he said (and I paraphrase) that in their early music, he had no idea what lyrics they were singing but he still understood the songs. That’s pretty powerful, if you ask me.
It is great to read people’s comments. I do write poetry, I may be someone who break the rules. I only put commas if I am naming things like ink, pen, paper etc. I saved my full stop for a new sentence and a final one at the end of the poem. I don’t criticise people’s work.
I agree with you ….sometimes writers and poets should handle grammar, capitalization, and punctuation in poetry.When writing poetry, you have quite a bit more freedom than when you’re writing prose. You can go ahead and break rules of grammar—but do so for a reason. Some writers will break all sorts of rules of grammar and spelling, either because they are poor grammarians or bad spellers or because they want to be different only for the sake of being different. My take on breaking rules is that one should do so purposely and with some forethought.
I couldn’t agree more, Dina!
I love this article and ee cummings was one of the first poets who truly inspired me to break the rules and try new things with my own poetry. I also agree that it should have a purpose. I went through a phase in my writing to try different things just because I could. Needless to say, I wrote a lot of terrible poems. But I learned from my mistakes and kept trying. And it made me a better writer, in general. Because, like you said, to purposefully mess anything up, you have to know how to do it right in the first place. I have a lesson I use with my students to have them try to write a poem breaking at least one rule. I think they learn more about grammar and mechanics in that one lesson than they do when I am trying to teach proper grammar.
Another thing to remember is that poetry is meant to be heard and if the voice is not authentic, the poem will not be as effective. I think that’s why rap resonates with so many: sure, there are liberties taken with grammar, but it is authentic and speaks to people. Isn’t that the purpose? (This is directed at the responses above from those who questioned this practice.)
I should note, however, that when one of my students does use improper grammar, spelling, mechanics, I ask if it was on purpose and, if so, what effect they were looking for in the piece. If it is not obvious to the reader/listener or if it distracts, by all means correct it. Most of the time my students will not even realize they are making the mistake, then try to cover it up by saying it was on purpose. That is not good writing. But it IS good practice. 😉
I would have loved to have been one of your students! I especially like that you include breaking a rule in a poetry assignment. I can see where students would learn more about grammar from an exercise like that than from actual lessons on grammar. I agree with you about rap. I think there are some fine poets in the rap world 🙂
I can recall two Ed Sanders’ poems, one for dogs and one by a seagull. The first was a period of complete silence and the for the latter Ed waved his outstretched arms and screeched loudly…
Currently I’m going nutz editing a book of poems by a woman who usually recites, rather than writes.
“ rap resonates with so many… but it is authentic and speaks to people”
Unfortunately most of it is forced into an artificial set of rules: autotune, gridding, compression… Give me Billie Holliday singing notes ever so slightly out of tune, Jimi Hendrix playing “Little Wing” with every bar a different length…
I’ll admit, I am an amateur, but I do believe that literature (poems, specifically) is a form of art. Is art not based on creativity and expression? Now, don’t get me wrong; I am a grammar nazi. However, when it comes to poetry, I think that grammar is only a loose guideline. Art has no rules, so I think poets should be able to play around with grammar and wording (perhaps even spelling?) in order to express what they want. I think people should be able to mess around with the rules, and if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
I’m with you, Stephanie. If writers can effectively bend (and even break) the rules, then more power to them.
Lovely article. I’m just shocked at some of the comments! They are very classist. Not everyone has access to formal training. This doesn’t mean their art is worthless! Geesh.
Also, the comment, “A story about Detroit inner city isn’t the same as a mountain meadow” … good lord. I’ve never heard a more upper-class, ultra-white statement about the arts before. It’s sad that people were arguing about your opinion, when it’s *your* opinion! Not everyone has the advantages in this world to write flowery poems about mountain meadows. A lot of people don’t even have the opportunities to GO to a mountain meadow. If that’s what you love to write about, go for it; don’t dismiss others as lazy/untalented/whatever because you don’t like the way they work. It’s their work.
Thanks, Erica. I find that in the world of writers, most people are open-minded and kind-hearted. But there are judgmental attitudes and classism for sure. I cringe every time someone says rap has no merit. Deep breaths all around!
I write poetry with the convenient consideration in mind that even the word “should” would most probably stumble upon grammatical compromise of its use. I read each poem as a separate artistic entity that does not require the extensional or intensional justification. If the poet has spoken, then the poet has spoken. Aside from that, Donovan, I find the engagement of comments above healthy for the discussion. However, the disease that ails poetry might grow worse when intolerance is not treated with sensible dosses of tolerance. Anyway, I can’t regard my opinion as absolute, as I do not know whether to some extent art…poetry SHOULD conform to the rules of grammar or not.
I can only maintain that all these assertions: breaking, acquiescing, bending, discarding, degrading et cetera, are the beauty of it.Art.
Thanks for sharing your perspective.
We love Woolf and Joyce just because they crossed the borders and broke the rules of their time (linear narration vs stream of cons..etc.) but cannot love rule breakers when it comes to poetry. Totally strange:)
While there are certainly people who have problems with rule breakers (in all their many forms), this post is about breaking the rules effectively, which is exactly what the poets you cited did.
I am active on a subreddit called /r/poetry_critics and I see a lot of poems that subvert grammar in order to make their rhymes work. However, this often comes at the cost of ruining the flow, and sometimes the image, of their works. It is something I dubbed “the poetic voice” – i.e. writing in a style that sounds more archaic because it is what more inexperienced writers think a poem needs to sound like.
As you said, and which I completely agree with, “If you choose to forgo the rules because you don’t know them rather than as a creative technique, your lack of knowledge will show and the poem will present as amateurish. Of course, that’s true for all types of writing: learn the rules, and only after you have learned them, go ahead and break them.” I have been seeking a good article to help explain this in a simple and coherent way, and I seem to have found it! So thank you!
If it’s alright with you can I link to this article when I leave critiques on the subreddit? I think it will be incredibly useful for lots of writers starting out (which are in abundance on the sub).
As for the e.e. cummings poem, I absolutely loved it. Despite its subversion of grammar it had a marvelous flow to it, and it was quite obvious that the grammar breaks were intentional and used that to spectacular effect.
Thanks for posting this article! I am excited to have found this blog!
Hi Sam. Thanks for your kind words. Yes, you are welcome to link to this article. That would be awesome.
Wonderful! Thank you!
I think this whole blog is a wonderful tool for many who are just starting out and still trying to find their voice/learn about the craft!
I tend to break the rules and create the word to fit the moment. As I am totally amateur in my approach to as well as the quality of my finished product; I appreciate a forum such as writing forward.com. I take my personal poetic license from the works of Ogden Nash, and try to write in a whimsical vein; creating words and/or phrases to fit the need.
I submitted a rambling a while ago with no other comment. It was probably deleted due to my not following your rules. Please accept my apologies.
There are a few reasons comments don’t get posted. It’s possible that the website put your comment in the spam folder if it didn’t make sense (you said it was rambling). It’s possible that it didn’t make sense in context of the post on which it was posted. It might not have posted at all (glitch in system or the submit button wasn’t clicked).
Excuse me, can we remove the word to control the form and the rhythm and the rhythm in poetry?
in” the son” can I remove “the” and write: son?
In poetry, you can do whatever you want. And yes, I have seen lots of wonderful poetry that tossed out articles like a, an, and the.
Poetry is considered, originates as the most condensed and highest form of philosophy. The sages merged with God the light in order to spread the message of God.
Unfortunately poetry has been totally ruined with time with all or most of the emphasis being given to the grammar,forms etc etc which is not more Inportant than the message itself.
Author of a Ponder Awhile
I think it depends on what the artist is going for that matters most, How well are they able to execute that vision to their target audience? Of course, if you break the rules you run the risk of losing that audience in translation. This happens to me all the time. I’m not an avid poetry reader. I personally like poems that rhyme, and tell a story. Of course, not everyone feels the same way. This doesn’t mean what I dont like is “bad”. Art is subjective. My deffinition of how well a poem works is; How successful was the poet in reaching his target audience? Can the poet make them feel what they wanted them to? Hey, that’s just me and my subjective opinion. By this deffinition, there are some phenomenal rap/poets out there. If you don’t get it, don’t assume it’s bad. You may not be the targeted audience! I generally hate mumble rap, but it has enough people who like it to make me think it’s me.
Don’t waste time hating on it. Use that time instead to find something you do! Thanks for the interesting article!
I’m always happy to find someone who not only understands–but emphasizes–that art is subjective. So many people express their opinions about art as if they are fact, and they’re not. Thanks so much for bringing this up.
Hello , you sound like a very deeply inspired man, we should talk.
I have been writing poetry since I was 17, I am now 36. I consider myself an amateur. I respect the English language and its grammatical constructs. Sometimes I don’t use punctuation or proper sentence structure. Sometimes I don’t want to tell you if you should be excited about a phrase or when to pause or when one thought ends and another begins. I want the reader to read it however they perceive and let it evoke whatever emotions are drawn out. Other time I want to give direction
Poetry uses lines rather than sentences, so we don’t really refer to proper sentence structure in poems. I like poetry that is lean on punctuation marks!
Hello, Thank you so much for writing this article! I am an amateur poet. I actually began as a lyricist and realized most of my songs read well as poetry also.
I recently wrote a poem for class and as an abstract writer, I like to be creative with my work and am a bit rebellious at times. I have left out grammar punctuations by choice but my professor said I must be able to explain my choice. I benefitted from your article because it was nice to see I am not the only one who writes in this style. Though at first, it was hard to grasp the poem of E.E Cummings, I still appreciated the art and style because I also am rebellious with rules. Thank you again!
You’re welcome! I must admit that I’m inclined to agree with your professor. Ideally, you can provide some reasoning for dismissing the rules of grammar. As much as I love E.E. Cummings’s poetry, I haven’t been able to parse any reasoning behind his play with grammar and punctuation. It could simply be inspired by nonsense (i.e., the absence of logic), which is a fair enough reason, I suppose!
I have long been searching for a site to find answers to questions about poetry and I found some as I scanned through these exchanges. I love to read poetry and have joined some sites last year and thoroughly enjoyed participating in many of their challenges/contests. My main question is -If a poem is published say, in any medium, to whom is it written for? Assuming that it is for anyone, what if it is just so nonsensical or impossible to follow the thought? While I can be a stickler for proper grammar, I just marvel at how some writers maneuver their lines to preserve beautiful thoughts at the expense of some grammatical “booboos” and leave me in awe of such cleverness. So to sum up my question which is more of a commentary, is it necessary that a published poem connects the writer with the reader? Thank you…enjoyed reading all the comments here.
Well, these are challenging and esoteric questions. Who is a poem written for? That is up to the poet, I suppose. Is it necessary that published poem connects the writer with the reader? No, I don’t think it’s “necessary.” But that’s just my perspective. Others may vary.