My relationship with punctuation in poetry grows ever more strained. I now feel, when I punctuate a piece in standard fashion, that I am stringing pink neon bulbs or polystyrene sandwich boards onto it that say STOP HERE or TAKE A BREATH HERE or THIS IS A QUESTION HERE.
Update: Gravitating (naturally) towards what supports my position, I lose no time in pointing out this interesting essay which says, among other things:
What this all really comes down to is that punctuation is up to the poet. Moreover, do not let punctuation get between you and the art of writing poetry. Unlike in writing prose, punctuation in poetry exists as a secondary function and sometimes is not even incorporated into the body of work until the poem has been completed. And always remember when it comes to poetry punctuation, less is better.
Then there’s this agreeable site which says:
Every poem you write has the possibility of being a new poem with the addition (or deletion) of just a few punctuation marks.
And finally, this lesson plan, which lets you know that students will:
..experiment with line breaks and how they affect rhythm, sound, meaning, and appearance, and can substitute for punctuation in poetry.
And so on. (Hat tip: Those links were provided by a very cool moderator at a workshop site in response to a critiquer who said in so many words that a piece submitted to the workshop was fatally flawed because it was not “properly” punctuated.)
On a more general note, there is this brief essay (look in the comments) on punctuation graciously added to this blog by C.E. Chaffin.
You know what this means, right? Yep.