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Deborah Guzzi is a healing facilitator specializing in Japanese Shiatsu and Reiki. She writes for Massage and Aromatherapy publications. She travels the world to expand her knowledge of healing and seeking writing inspiration. She has walked the Great Wall of China and visited Nepal (during the civil war), Japan, Egypt (two weeks before “The Arab Spring”), Peru, and France (during December’s terrorist attacks).

Her poetry appears in Magazines: here/there: poetry in the UK, Existere - Journal of Arts and Literature in Canada, Tincture in Australia, Cha: Asian Literary Review, Hong Hong, China, Latchkey Tales in New Zealand, Vine Leaves Literary Journal in Greece, mgv2>publishing in France, and Travel by the Book, Ribbons: Tanka Society of America Journal, Emerge Literary Journal, and others in the USA. 

 


Take a Break


Blog Posted:12/31/2013 6:36:00 PM
The following is an article which helped me a lot in learning about where and when to make line & stanza breaks. I hope it will help you too. It is even more important WHERE you break the line in Free Verse than in rhyme.

Poem Structure - Lines and Stanzas

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/poem-structure.html

This page is an introduction to poem structure and poetry techniques. What’s the best way to
divide your poetry into lines? (Hint: "at random" is not the right answer!)

Poem structure - the line is a building block

The basic building block of prose (writing that isn't poetry) is the sentence. But poetry has
something else -- the poetic line. Poets decide how long each line is going to be. That's why poetry often has a shape like this:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

That's the beginning of a poem by Robert Herrick. No matter where it is printed, the first line always
ends with the word "may" and the second line with the word "a-flying" because the poet has written it this way.

The poet is creating an end rhyme pattern above is a,b,a,b. If you print a piece of prose such as a short story, the length of the lines will depend on the font size, the paper size, margins, etc. But in
poetry, the line is part of the work of art you have created.
How it looks visually on the page affects the
readers response.
The length of the lines and the line breaks are important choices that will affect many aspects of the reader's experience:

·       The sound of the poem - When people read your poem aloud, or in their heads, they will pause slightly at the end of each line.

·       The speed of reading - Shortening or lengthening the lines can speed up or slow down the way people read.

·       How the poem looks on the page - Does the poem look light, delicate, with a lot of white space around the lines? Or are the lines packed solidly together?

·       Emphasis - Words at the end of a line seem more important than words in the middle.

Poem structure - types of lines

If you are writing a poem in a standard form such as a sonnet, your choices about line length are
somewhat restricted by the rules of the form. However, you still have to decide how to fit the ideas and sentences of your poem over the lines. When you fit natural stopping points in a sentence to the end of your line, the reader takes a little pause. When a sentence or phrase continues from one line to the next, the reader feels pulled along.
[This is called enjambment and is often used in Free Verse, less so in Rhyme.]  If your line break interrupts a sentence or idea in a surprising place, the effect
can be startling, suspenseful, or can highlight a certain phrase or double-meaning.

Lines that finish at ends of sentences or at natural stopping points (for example, at a comma) are
called end-stopped lines. Here's an example:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:

Lines that in the middle of the natural flow of a sentence are called run-on or enjambed lines.
Here's an example:

But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.   
[Note the antiquated use of the capital T]

Here, Herrick interrupts the phrase "worst times" with a line break between "worst" and "times," focusing extra attention on the word "worst."

If you are writing in free verse, you have even more decisions to make than a poet writing in a
traditional form. You can decide to use short lines or long lines, or to vary the length. You can decide to stack your lines evenly along the left margin, or to use a looser or more graphical form.
Some poets even write poems that are in the shape of the thing they are writing about, for example, a circular poem about the moon. You have many options, but these choices should never be made randomly.

Poem structure - stanzas

In prose, ideas are usually grouped together in paragraphs. In poems, lines are often grouped
together into what are called stanzas. Like paragraphs,
stanzas are often used to organize ideas.

For example, here are the two final stanzas of the Robert Herrick's poem. In the first of these
stanzas, he is explaining that being young is great, but life just gets worse and worse as you get older. In the second one, he is saying: "So get married before you're too old and have lost your chance."

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

For a more detailed explanation of poem structure, I recommend the book Writing Poems by Boisseau, Wallace, and Mann. (This page makes use of some ideas from the book's third edition, by Robert Wallace, HarperCollins 1991.)

Poem Structure - Decisions about Form

So many decisions to make -- line length, line breaks, arrangement, speed, rhythm. How should you
choose? The right form for your poem depends on, and works with, the poem's content, or what it's about. If the poem is about flying, you probably don't want lines that feel slow and heavy. If you're writing a sad poem, short bouncy lines might not be the way to go.

You may feel overwhelmed by so many issues to think about. How can your inspiration flow freely if you have to keep track of all of these aspects of a poem? The answer is to do the work in two stages.

1.    
First, let your ideas flow. [Many poets get stuck in step one.]

2.    
Then, go back to the poem later and work on improving the poem structure and form.

In the second stage, it's a good idea to experiment a lot. Try breaking the lines and different ways
and compare the effects. Try changing the order of things. Try reorganizing things to move different words to the end of the lines so that the reader's attention goes to them. You've got nothing to lose -- you can always go back to an earlier version.

As you go through this process, ask yourself:

·       What is my poem about?

·       What feeling or mood do I want the reader to have?

·       Do I want the poem to move quickly or slowly? Are there places I want it to speed up or slow down?

·       What words or phrases do I want to highlight?

There are a lot of things to consider. But the more poetry you write -- and read, the more natural and instinctive some of these decisions about poem structure will become to you.

If you have a poem you’d like to work on the line breaks with let me
know, I’d be glad to help!



 



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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 8:24:00 AM
    Poetry Quaterly has just published a book with 3 of my verse in the beginning Go by the website to see the issue. http://PoetryQuarterly.com Or read it online for free: http://poetryquarterly.com/freeissues/fall2013/

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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 8:09:00 AM
    Lenora and Eileen if you want I will go find one of your poems and see if we can 'polish' it up a bit? I can send you the result in email or soup mail OR if you are not shy we can work in a blog?

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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 8:07:00 AM
    I am so glad you find this helpful. I have a new friend here on soup who writes such GOOD content! The editing is not done though, most of you have a function for grammar check [I know you do in Microsoft word] DON'T feel bad if you didn't know and don't have it set. I didn't have mine set until a YEAR ago! Ask some one to help you make sure its on.

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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 7:58:00 AM
    Also, I seem to like to end my line on a strong noun or precise verb, when it comes to enjambment. I dislike ending my lines -- usually-- on a preposition, pronoun or adjective. My nose wrinkles at a line ending with "of" so we can rhyme the word "love" UGH.

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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 7:57:00 AM
    - HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014,DEBBIE!! - oxox // Anne-Lise :)

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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 7:53:00 AM
    Fantastic blog, hon. One thing though, guess what? As a fiction writer, prose, I can testify that we actually do this, too. We INTENTIONALLY alter our lines and create white space. I choose to vary the length of my sentences and paragraphs to keep reader interest. I have "tidied" lines so they do not straggle and are more eye-friendly to editors. Thanks for the breath of fresh air. Whew. I needed that. And I hope this blog helps all those who would like to further their writing. Love to ya!

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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 7:11:00 AM
    I love free verse poems sooo much but free verse poems don't love me that much I think.:))) Most of the time, i have difficulty in finding where/when my line breaks. That's why I admire/adore sooo much those poets who write their poems in this form. Line breaking comes to them so naturally knowing exactly where & when they break their lines. This is a rich sharing from you my dear friend Deb. Thank you so much. This will also be a big help for me in my practice of writing the diff. special free verses forms aside from the great inspirations I got from the great verse poem poets here. Thank you, thank u so much and HAVE A VERY HAPPY & PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR! love lots and big hugs, Leonora

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  1. Date: 1/1/2014 12:48:00 AM
    And this is why I adore you!!!! You are amazing. What a fine blog this is! I'm so impressed! I often have problems wit my free verse and at times have felt that I've just butchered a thought by the way I've done the line breaks. This gave me lots of food for thought...especially as it talks about pulling the readers in when the line breaks are at "strange" places. I'm very traditional and find that hard to do, but I have seen you do it in your work. :) Thanks, Debbie. Hope your new year is off to a good start. Thanks for being so helpful! Hugs

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  1. Date: 12/31/2013 10:06:00 PM
    Thanks Debbie! Good stuff!

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    Guzzi Avatar Debbie Guzzi Date: 1/1/2014 8:11:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thanks PS
    MacMillan Avatar Cyndi MacMillan Date: 1/1/2014 7:48:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    :D

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7/13/2015 Just Desserts and Appetizers Haibunboat,fun,summer,
7/7/2015 Brooding Rooted Free versebeauty,blessing,
6/26/2015 Summer Stews Sijofun,
6/19/2015 False Love Quintain (English)lost love,
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3/27/2015 School's Out Haibunkiss,snow,
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3/20/2015 A Penny for My Thoughts Sonnetcreation,
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2/28/2015 The Doldrums of March Free verseloneliness,
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My Photos


Fav Poems

PoemTitleFormCategories
God Free verselife,mystery,
Hard Times Cowboycowboy-western,family,fun
For Things Once Counted Rhymeintrospection,loss,uplift
Petal Verselove,
Defender of the Wastes Free verseart,life,parody,world,
Birth Imagismchildhood,life
this is why i woo words Verseart,inspirational,philoso
Forbear Free versesad,
Belongings Rhymeloss,love,me,mother,
Gold Fever Free versefaithfaith,political,
Splattered I do not know?life
Echo Quatrainlost lovewords,love,
Bells (after Poe) Lyricpassion
Respectfully, Emily Dickinson Lyricintrospection
Give the End Back to the Beginning Free versededication,faithme,
The Bruised and Rotting Pear Coupletfaith,hope
fly Free verseanimals
ABC's for a Young Captain ABClife
Not Entirely About Living In New York Free verselifeworld,light,light,
Woodcutter I do not know?warold,old,
Dreams Free versefaith,forgiveness
A Feed of Chips Narrativefunny
Weep O Willows Versedeath
Harlem Blues Free verseblack-african amerchildre
Summers Everlasting Free versenostalgia
EASTER IVY Narrativefriendshipeaster,,cousin,
The Sowing Free versedevotion,
End of days Rhymeinspirational,lifeme,war,
Past-Life Nightmare Narrativemystery,autumn,
I dream of you (to JEW) Free verseimagination,lovenight,swe
jellyfish back strophe Imagismallegory,nature,on writin
Disposable Wisdom Rhymeage,cat,life,wisdom,
Loneliness Rhymeintrospection,life
Remission (In Memory of William Watt). Elegybrother,death,nostalgiawo
The Day That Died Forever Free verseadventure,angst,art,confu
Heritage Quatrainadventure,cowboy-western,
Summer Matinee Narrativebrother,me,
The Moon and I I do not know?hope,life,love,nature,pea
Seeking, Searching Free verseimaginationlove,
BEFORE SPRING CAME Narrativeadventure,animals,childho
Pledge Sonnetdevotion
Wild Cherries Free versechildhood,devotion,nature
Words from the Oracle Layallegory,philosophy
Science Free verse 
Mona Lisa resembles Chokaart
AND WITH MERRIEST SPIRIT Quintain (English)faith,father,holiday,insp
Cotton-Pickin' Paradise Versechildhood,life,nostalgia,
Where The Sycamore Grew Free verseautumn,family,house,life,
Larks Free versedeath,devotion,imaginatio
Big Bang Limerickfunny,science,
winter (do not forget among the loss of flowers) me Free verse 
Let I do not know?loveme,me,
He Was Smoking Hot I do not know?funny
Alabaster Night Free versenature,sea,
Haunted Orb Haikufantasy,nature
This Night Sonnet 
Tombstones & Teacups Rhymeallegory,childhood,death,
Today Not Tomorrow Free versededication,depression,gir
Years Of The Rose Free verselost love,loveday,
The Joy that Sweetly Stays Free versehappinessjoy,
Cinder Girl Rhymelovelove,
Biography (Thesis Statement) Versehistory,life,philosophyli
Figure Fusion Verseart,sports
Dancing Bird - with video link Free verseanimals,introspection,nat
Poem for a sensuous poet Free versefantasy,on writing and wo
The Road Walked Down Through the Years Rhymelife,on writing and words
The Iceman Cometh! Rhymenostalgia
He says/ She says Narrativelife
I've seen so many Sonnetintrospectionnight,night,
Searching for Michelangelo Free verseart,hope,life,people,imag
When Madness Rides on Moonlight Sestinalovegod,light,god,life,li
Falling Stars Free versehopestar,star,
Violin Personificationdeath,love,rose,
Before the City Wakes Sonnet 
realisation of self (War Child) Free verseme,me,
Reporting Live On The Soup (Colorado) Rhymefunnyme,me,
Late at night Lyricimaginationme,fear,me,
Reverencing Nature Balladfaith,naturenature,heart,
Dreams Coupletimagination
Simple Pleasures Rhymehappinesssummer,summer,
I Exist Pantoumintrospectionlife,me,
Leaving Madrid Blank versenostalgia,travel
Magnolia Song Free verselove,romance,
yellow bus roars through Haikuallegory,nature,places
Ethel's Remedies Rhymefunny,people
A Dream In The Mist Narrativefantasy,imagination,natur
volga 1 - 3 Prose Poetryfantasy
Mama's Cleaning Quatrainintrospection,life,mother
UPROOTING THE HEART VEINS Free verseangst,hope,mysteryme,
Revelation Free verseimagination,lifesong,epic
Sports Limerick Limerickfunny
Don't Come Free versedeath,lost love,me,
The Snowflake Italian Sonnetgirlfriend-boyfriend,roma
Love Beyond the Pale Quatraindevotion,lost love,
Jack Lyricintrospectionlife,
Night Visions Free verselost love,passion,
The Ghost That Travels Far Personificationnature
Kite Flying - Test Free verseallegory,art,imagination,
Dining with Crow Rhymeanimals
Beauty, yes Sijohope,imagination,philosop

Fav Poets

PoetCountry 
Carolyn Devonshire United States Flag United States Read
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Deirdre Omaidin Ireland Flag Ireland Read
Andrew Crisci United States Flag United States Read
Jim Fish United States Flag United States Read
Debbie Guzzi United States Flag United States Read
Nigel Fawcett Italy Flag Italy Read
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Andrea Dietrich United States Flag United States Read
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Chris D. Aechtner Canada Flag Canada Read
nette onclaud Philippines Flag Philippines Read
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Cyndi MacMillan Canada Flag Canada Read
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