Poetry and end-stopping

SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
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?
09/06/2012
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So Long Ya Doofuses! So Long Ya Doofuses!
Quote:
Originally posted by SneakersAndPearls
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," ... More
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!
09/06/2012
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
Quote:
Originally posted by So Long Ya Doofuses!
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 ... More
Of course keep an open mind! I was just curious to see if there was an automatic habit that people fall into.
09/06/2012
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by SneakersAndPearls
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," ... More
In oral interpretation or storytelling you pause when there is punctuation because if the author put the punctuation in they are meaning for you to pause there. It's all about the interpretation. HOWEVER, and it's a BIG however, if the interpretationist (or storyteller) knows the author and has performed the piece for the artist he or she has obtained permission to reinterpret the breath (punctuation) marks.

If the author is dead or the poem is public domain then the artist is free to interpret the piece as he/she is free to perform it as he/she feels best.

Like most performing arts there are rules and then there are rule breakers...honestly, it's really up to the audience if they accept the interpretation.
09/06/2012
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
In oral interpretation or storytelling you pause when there is punctuation because if the author put the punctuation in they are meaning for you to pause there. It's all about the interpretation. HOWEVER, and it's a BIG however, if the ... More
Good answer!
09/08/2012
Total posts: 5
Unique posters: 3