Poetry is a great form of self-expression. It is a special form of writing which allows you, the writer, to say or write practically anything with short lines, long lines, rhymes or in whatever style you want.
Although I don’t want to use the word “licence”, still I would say that poetry may also be considered your licence to express emotions in a language that you normally do not use in daily talk.
But like other forms of writing, the biggest problem with poetry writing is editing our own works. You are so “close to the event” that you are hardly in a position to edit your work. What is worse is that at times the “ego factor” comes into play that a writer would tend to say: “Don’t touch that. That’s my work. It’s already perfect as it is.”
As publisher of emanila, I have seen and read a number of poems submitted for publication and referred to me by Team Emanila for comment, for approval or simply for my entertainment.
The most common errors we notice in submitted works are:
Spelling errors – No question, these are best corrected by simply referring to a dictionary or online spell-checkers, especially for English poems.
Spacing – Lack of space between a period or a comma and the next character of the sentence on the same line. Again, this can easily be corrected by using an online spell-checker.
Grammatical errors – These are easy to correct. But again, we as writers sometimes forget that there are still conventions to observe when it comes to grammar.
The other error we notice is the improper and ineffective use of punctuation.
I know that punctuation in poetry is indeed a grey area. Others may even say that punctuation is part of a writing style and it is like an artwork. And no one can judge that an art is right or wrong.
But even artists look at their works with the critical eyes of an editor before they declare their works as finished. Would they not be also asking themselves: Why did they paint the way they did? What exactly are they trying to convey? Is the medium they are using the best way to convey emotions? I wonder how artists edit their works.
I wonder too how other writers, particularly members of our Writers Group, edit their works. Yes, it would be interesting to know what they think of punctuation in poetry.
Why punctuate? Why do you use punctuation? When do you use punctuation? Should titles have punctuations? When are the trailing dots most effective to use? Should you use a comma, period, colon or semi-colon? Or should the poem be left with out any punctuation? Or should formats, like: tabbing, line centering, line breaks, dropping, replace punctuation?
What do you think? Please share your thoughts.