Originally posted by
When I was in school, I had several professors declare that when reading or writing poetry, you only pause at the end of the line IF there is punctuation there. "You only pause without punctuation if you're reading a Hallmark card,"
When I was in school, I had several professors declare that when reading or writing poetry, you only pause at the end of the line IF there is punctuation there. "You only pause without punctuation if you're reading a Hallmark card," was their favorite wisdom. However, I've heard other people say that's absolutely not true.
Where do *you* stand? Do you automatically pause? Automatically continue without breath? Does it depend on what/who you are reading?
I would say it really depends on the material being read and the reader's interpretation. I know there are some long poems that are brilliant yet have no punctuation whatsoever. Try reciting 50 lines in one breath!
Also, the meter and form should be considered, if there is any in the poem. These can often determine how a poem should be read aloud, given the placement of the stresses and the physical orientation of the poem into stanzas (or lack thereof). As for myself, I first try to see if there is a meter to latch onto, and then I skim over the poem to see how the punctuation is used if present. I ask myself whether or not the meaning or rhythm of the poem would be different if I read it with or without pause at the end of a line. This is why it usually takes several readings to get the hang of a poem.
Consider also that for some poets, end-stops ARE punctuation. For their works, treating them as such can mean the difference between comprehending several different and distinct ideas versus trying to sail your way through a constant stream of thoughts that might not make sense all together.
In short, I would just keep an open mind when reading any sort of poetry!