Monday 23 August 2010

The lost art of punctuation

I realized today that I haven't written a blog post for almost a month. I was away for a week of that time but the real reason for not posting is that I have been too busy writing, editing and re-editing my work.  It feels like a struggle. Just when I think that a poem is finished I take it to a workshop and realise that there is more work to be done. I am trying not to get down about it. I know that the more I work on them the more rigorous I am being but at the same time I am trying not to repeat the mistake of over-editing until the heart has gone. These extra edits are generally small - losing words, phrases or lines and playing around with punctuation.

Talking of punctuation - I seem to have suddenly lost the art of knowing how to use it properly. I have never had a huge problem with it before - except perhaps the occasional over-usage of commas - but this semester I am struggling with it. part of the trouble is that it feels like the rules of punctuation should be different for poetry - if you took a poem and wrote it out as prose (I have tried this) and punctuate it like prose then reformat it as a poem it often feels over punctuated. I seem to be erring towards wanting less and less punctuation within my poems. Maybe it is to do with their subject matter - journey poems and poems about nature seem to warrant different treatment from the poems that I was writing before which were mostly about human concerns and very personal. Those semi-autobiographical poems seemed to need similar treatment (if a slightly lighter hand) to prose poems.

I came across an interesting blog on the subject of punctuation within poetry which you can read here