Poetry Punctuation

Should all poetry lines end with a comma or period?

Some lines of poetry end at a natural point of pause, accompanied by punctuation, such as a period, comma, or semi-colon. These are called �end-stopped" lines. The first and last lines in this first stanza from Mark Doty's poem �The Embrace" are end-stopped:

You weren't well or really ill yet either;
just a little tired, your handsomeness
tinged by grief or anticipation, which brought
to your face a thoughtful, deepening grace.
The other two lines in this stanza�the second and third�are �enjambed." That means one line run right into the next. The line break doesn't occur at a natural pause. Instead, it separates pairs of words that, in prose, would read without a pause.
Poets use these different kinds of lines�end-stopped and enjambed�to create specific effects. In the first stanza of Doty's �The Embrace" the two enjambed lines create a forward motion. Some poets will use several enjambed lines in a row to create even more urgency. Once you get to the end of the sentence and to the end-stopped line, there's a brief release in tension. You are invited to pause for a moment and consider.
Be thoughtful in where you break the line. Your choices impact the reader's experience of the flow and motion of the poem. 
-Gotham Writers


Instructions on writing 5 different types of poetry. Read this as homework to decide what direction you want your poem to go in. There are multiple pages, be sure to click the orange 'next' button at the bottom of each page. - How to Write Poetry
Poetry Punctuation Poetry Punctuation Reviewed by ROSEOUS COM on November 10, 2015 Rating: 5
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