Did You Know: Punctuation – to use or not to use it?

Punctuation is something quite controversial nowadays in the world of poetry. While some of the poets affirm that it is a proof of rigidity to follow the classic rules of punctuating, others condemn the contemporary currents for the freedoms assumed, disagreeing with the rebellious lack of signs or with other experimental aspects of poetry.

The truth is that both categories are right – but each on their own slices of creation. There is no right or wrong in the way of punctuating a poem, or a text, as long as the message is properly conveyed and the effect rightfully obtained. People simply have to understand that punctuation – or the lack of it – represents only one of the technical factors meant to support the final outcome of poetry.

To put it very simply, in order for everybody to understand, there are poems in which the use of such signs is justified, and poems in which it is superfluous.

Punctuation and the need of using all the range of semiotics evolved in time, because man modified his perception of the message read, needing lesser and lesser means to guide his understanding of the written text. Presently it came to the point where a poem can be simply a flow of words, punctuation being replaced by empty spaces, for instance breaking the lines where there could be commas and separating stanzas with blank lines.

We could say, therefore, that punctuation didn’t actually disappear, but morphed in time, transforming into a different manner of shaping the poetic message. So when you are writing, the only rule you have to keep in mind is that of being loyal to the message you want to convey to your readers. If the message was properly perceived, then you can be sure you used the right punctuation.


2 thoughts on “Did You Know: Punctuation – to use or not to use it?

  1. Thanks for this article. I hear so many conflicting things, but I much like this explanation. It’s freeing to trust that you know what’s best for what you’re working on 🙂

  2. I often struggle when I go over my poems about the punctuation. With English not being my native language, most of the time I find myself using the rules from my language, which are not in every case the right ones for English! Thanks for this little lesson Lily!

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