Monday, April 4, 2011

Poetry Contests and the Punctuation Olympics

I recently sponsored a poetry contest at my middle/high school, and this year my judges were vocal about the punctuation, or lack thereof. Many beginning poets have this misconception that poetry is free, and the rules of grammar don’t apply to it. Guess what? You STILL GOTTA USE COMMAS AND PERIODS IN POEMS. Yes, enjambed lines do not need to be stopped, but if you write a line that in prose would use a comma, PUT A COMMA IN YOUR POEM. Otherwise you risk confusing the reader. A line like : This poem reminded me of running into an old friend years later the conversation picked up where it dangled thirty years before. is a run-on sentence

For clarity, I punctuated (and tightened)it ;

This poem reminds me of running into an old friend,
the conversation picks up where it dangled thirty years ago.

Today's Exercise, visit :
link to chomp (Grammar Bytes) and do some interactive grammar practice.

If you live in Ohio, you may be intereted in the follwoing poetry festival:
Please mark your calendars for April 15 and 16 for the 10th anniversary weekend of Power of Poetry. After last year’s remarkable event, we are once again bringing great poets, music and surprises to the scenic Hocking Hills.

Please visit our updated website at

All donations are tax-deductible. Please make checks to:


26488 Starr Rt.

Logan, OH 43138

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Happy Writing.

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