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WHY I DON'T LIKE CENTERING MY POETRY


Blog Posted:12/8/2012 11:27:00 AM


Research has found that we scan a page in an “F” formation. If the opening statement does not engage your interest, you are most likely to move onto the next tit-bit of news. That is one of the reasons why social websites are so popular. Think of the newspaper headlines and where your eyes wonder on the page as you scan for the main news items. Advertisers are aware of this and they place their adverts on pages where it will enjoy the most attention. 


Furthermore, when you center a poem, it becomes difficult to read as your eyes have to travel back to the start of the following line and it is not a natural tracking instinct, especially if the lines are unusually uneven.

I, therefore, kindly ask you NOT to center your SUZETTE PRIME poems. Thank you. 

THE FISH EAGLE


master of the river calling to his mate
I lift my face to the early morning sun
just in time to see him swoop
extending talons
scooping fish
bearing it aloft
he settles
on an overhanging branch
and savours his catch of the morning – ripping
all’s right with the world – the fish eagle and I 


OR - to illustrate the difference in the reading experience:


THE FISH EAGLE


master of the river calling to his mate
I lift my face to the early morning sun
just in time to see him swoop
extending talons
scooping fish
bearing it aloft
he settles
on an overhanging branch
and savours his catch of the morning – ripping
all’s right with the world – the fish eagle and I


© 2012 Suzette Crous


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  1. Date: 12/11/2012 1:26:00 AM
    Hello, Suzette! Im with you in this one! I think that the left aligned poems are more aesthetically pleasing. I use to centered the poems in the middle of the page BUT left-aligned. Wait a minute!!! Am I dyslexic?? Merry Christmas, Suzette! (...and be careful with the South African Santa in thong!) Ruben.

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  1. Date: 12/10/2012 3:04:00 PM
    Suz the lines must be written in a per line syllable count of PRIME numbers only YES? BUT do the y have to be ordered say 2,3,5,7,11,13 or can they be mixed up 5,11,2,13,7 etc? Please soup mail me as well as answering here. I tried i don't know if I did it correctly but i tried for you.

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  1. Date: 12/10/2012 12:56:00 AM
    I have read about this matter recently in a report posted by Yahoo (a trusted website). But this is not new, as can be seen in the following link: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/10/2012 5:34:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I do write other items besides poetry - listed in my Biography here on soup :-)
  1. Date: 12/9/2012 10:09:00 PM
    I find this topic interesting and pertinent. I suppose it might simply be your dyslexia? Without having considered something such as dyslexia, I always thought 'F-formation scanning' to be linked with Artificial Intelligence Optical Scanning(A.I. scans a line, jumps back to the left(sometimes right), then tackles the next line). I don't seem to jump back to the left when reading a centered poem; the poem reads smoothly, as I naturally 'tumble' down the lines when reading. I think with advertising, it is more to do with subliminal, and subconscious scanning? I might look into this 'F-formation scanning more deeply. Some poems/forms aren't meant to be centered, but all in all, I think centering poems is a great device for so many different reasons.

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/10/2012 12:39:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thank you for joining the discussion, Chris. You make some good points here. By the comments here, I can see that I am differently "wired" than most. It is not a case of preference for me, but an actual disability.
    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/10/2012 12:39:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    BTW My daughter, also, had problems reading, until she attended Leeds Uni - where one of the teachers identified her problem: She cannot read black on white and has to use a pink color screen for text. A friend of mine's daughter has to use a blue screen. So, it seems people see things differently.
    Aechtner Avatar Chris D. Aechtner Date: 12/9/2012 10:14:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Yeah, when reading the centered version of your poem, I actually find it easier to read than the left-aligned version; especially the four short lines in the middle of your poem.
  1. Date: 12/9/2012 5:41:00 PM
    Got to tell you each line has more impact for me centered especially when the form doesn't lend itself to complete sentences BUT you're the Judge! HUGS

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/10/2012 12:30:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Thank you, Debbie :-)
  1. Date: 12/9/2012 12:30:00 PM
    It does not matter to me as to whether it is centered or not. I sometimes center my poems to make them look more artistic but all in all a good poem is a good poem. love phyl

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/9/2012 1:50:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Yes, content is important - as long as I can read it without difficulty. I have written many poems (some very difficult poetry forms) which must be centered for the full effect to be appreciated. I might post some of them in the future, but for now I do prefer flush left for the contest - it is easier for me to read. Hope you had a great weekend. Love, Su
  1. Date: 12/8/2012 10:32:00 PM
    Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate your opinions on this matter. I have given it some thought and came up with the conclusion that to generalize is not a good thing. Maybe this all hangs together with the dyslexia and this is the main reason why I find centered poems difficult to read. Love, Su :-)

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/9/2012 7:33:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Yes, that is true, Charlotte :-)
    Puddifoot Avatar Charlotte Puddifoot Date: 12/9/2012 5:24:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    that's really interesting and kind of confirms what I was saying below, that we all peruse things in different ways and how the brain decodes what the eye is seeing depends on a person's particular brain chemistry...if people enter your contests then it is only courtesy for them to format their poem in a way that you feel comfortable absorbing - they can always change them again afterwards! :)
  1. Date: 12/8/2012 9:55:00 PM
    I don't "skim" poems when I read so it doesn't matter if they are centered or not to me, They are usually read aloud, like Jimbo does, and their format is not important other than to be pleasing to the eye. I have centered several of mine, and I really don't think centered poems are any more difficult to read than others, but its your contest, your rules, since that is what you find easier on the eye, if you have not also posted that on the contest page you may wish to do so, not all entrants read the blog updates unfortunately

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/8/2012 10:28:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Yes, I have made it part of the rules of the contest from the onset.
  1. Date: 12/8/2012 3:22:00 PM
    that's if you believe the research which I don't because I've tested it out for myself on several occasions; how people peruse things varies from person to person and I know I don't scan things in an F formation, but then, my brain has always worked differently to the majority! lol with my own poems I can usually see immediately which ones benefit from centering and which ones don't - acrostics definitely don't, for the reason andrea gives below, but in general very short pieces nearly always look better when centered on the page...

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  1. Date: 12/8/2012 2:02:00 PM
    I love it when properly structured.

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  1. Date: 12/8/2012 1:11:00 PM
    I like the centered work best..I use my mouse as a guide when I read anyway..When one has a contest, they have the right to ask any format or form or whatever they want..Interesting information...Sara

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  1. Date: 12/8/2012 12:25:00 PM
    I like them both. For me it makes no difference if a poem is centered or not. one that definitely cannot be centered is acrostic. when you read the first letters of each line, it doesn't spell out the title!!!

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    Richards Avatar Suzette Richards Date: 12/8/2012 12:59:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    :-) We all differ in our preferences. I find centering difficult to read and find it strange when someone centers a tanka for example. I'm just "old school". Hope you are having a good weekend, Andrea. Love, Su PS I saw an acrostic poem which had a "code" written in slant in each line.... very cunning :-)

My Past Blog Posts

 
Goodbye Soupers - with Omar Khayyam
Date Posted: 5/19/2013 1:42:00 AM
THAT'S WHAT YOU MEANT TO ME
Date Posted: 5/17/2013 5:18:00 AM
Happy Mother's Day
Date Posted: 5/11/2013 3:06:00 PM
PARADISE LOST results
Date Posted: 5/11/2013 1:09:00 AM
The Gag Factor
Date Posted: 5/10/2013 9:15:00 AM
My Perspective ...
Date Posted: 5/7/2013 1:39:00 AM
The Face of PoetrySoup
Date Posted: 5/6/2013 2:42:00 PM
ROUNDEL CONTEST UPDATE
Date Posted: 5/5/2013 3:20:00 PM
America's first settlers resorted to cannibalism
Date Posted: 5/3/2013 10:58:00 PM
HAPPY MAY DAY
Date Posted: 5/1/2013 2:03:00 AM
I DID IT MY WAY
Date Posted: 4/30/2013 10:17:00 PM
MOST AWFUL by Caleb Smith
Date Posted: 4/25/2013 12:35:00 PM
WORLD BOOK DAY, 23 April - Birth and Death of Shakespeare
Date Posted: 4/23/2013 3:16:00 AM
You are what you read - ROUNDEL CONTEST UPDATE
Date Posted: 4/22/2013 1:43:00 AM
GOLDEN AUTUMN
Date Posted: 4/19/2013 4:00:00 AM
DON'T ANALYSE IT, DON'T ASK OTHERS TO ANALYSE IT
Date Posted: 4/18/2013 1:09:00 AM
Suzanne Delaney and Suzette Crous
Date Posted: 4/11/2013 1:28:00 AM
ROUNDEL - PARADISE LOST
Date Posted: 4/8/2013 8:02:00 AM
GROOK contest finalized
Date Posted: 4/8/2013 3:17:00 AM
Suzette Poet and Author - new website
Date Posted: 4/7/2013 2:17:00 AM
GIBBETING
Date Posted: 4/5/2013 1:34:00 AM
Goodbye
Date Posted: 4/3/2013 2:49:00 PM
INFLUENCES ON OUR POETRY
Date Posted: 3/31/2013 11:44:00 PM
WHO IS THE POET? - No 4 - EASTER EGG HUNT - So far - - -
Date Posted: 3/30/2013 12:49:00 AM
WHO IS THE POET? - No 4 - EASTER EGG HUNT
Date Posted: 3/28/2013 12:26:00 AM

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PoemTitleFormCategories
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As Canvas Weeps Tankaart
Through the Winter Cold he Rode Villanellelove,winter,
Seasons to wonder Rhymenature,seasons,me,winter,
The Loss of Wisdom Quaternintrospection,loss,people
Autumn Love Acrosticlove,
Pseudonym Free verseallegory,hope,introspecti
swarm of dragonflies Haikuart,nature,
Dying Rose Haikudevotion,
Jokers Lament Senryufunny,life,
Distant Thunder - A Shan-zi Poem Free versenature,
Captive Bird - 12 Bars 12 Dreams Rhyme 
'Peace when needed' Free versefriendship,hope,life,lost
Wearied Wanderlust Rondeaulove,
The Allure of Your Lips Quaternpassion,romance,visionary
'Warfare' Verseangst,depression,fear,
Invitation to the Dance Free verseallegory,
TUNES OF WAVES Rhymemusic,nature,ocean,
Beauty of Nature Haikunature,
Do You Remember Free verse 
Nette Onclaud, Princess to be Queen Quatrainhistory,people,places
DARE WE Quatrainfunny,me,
Wayward Child Pantoumage,dark,introspection,li
Ewmer Fudd and Buggs Bunny Paint the Town Wed Coupletfunny,life,
Yesterdays Free verseangst,
When Tomorrow Dawns Verselife,garden,
paper boat Haikuhope,
The Ivy and The Brick Villanelleallegory,heart,red,heart,
Haste Quintain (Sicilian)faith,fear,introspection,
Crickets' Call Rhymenature,time,love,
Dream of Dawn Constanza Rhymenostalgia,flower,flower,r
Drawing on Time Versededication,faith,life,may
MY QUIET PLACE, SOFT Versespace,
Shadow Puppets Verselove,
The Greatest Love Story Quatrainlove,words,body,love,
After my death Epigramsad,
Her Epitaph Epigramdeath,nostalgia,
Between the Stingers Villanellelost love,
Phobia Free verseangst,world,light,light,
Let the Moon Watch Tankaromance,
The Zulu Coconut Speaks Nonetallegory,
Dark Dawn Diamantepolitical,
Injustice Versedeath,friendship,history,
The Ballad Of Prospector Pete Balladfunny,
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Under Moonlight Tankalost love,
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Hymns of Salvation 1 Suzette Primebirth,me,philosophy,relig
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Stardust Artist Coupletbeauty,imagination,nature
Never Forgotten Coupletdevotion,love,
Poe and I Rispettolonely,lost love,
Picture Postcard Free versenature,winter,
It's All In How You Ask It Footlefunny,
Table for One Ekphrasis (Ecphrasis)artautumn,lonely,morning,
The Mighty One Ekphrasis (Ecphrasis)natural disasters
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My Slutty Aunt's Wedding Rhymesatire,wedding,wedding,
Amassed ABCangst,nature,war,
Cling Sijoautumn,insect,nature,rain
A valentine poem 1 Acrosticlove,valentines day,words
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Your Ocean Free verseintrospection,
Past Passion Sonnetlost love,love,
The Accolade Balladchristian,faith,love,woma
Chilled Dawn Versedark,death,farewell,loss,
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Lekker contest Acrostichappiness,love,marriage,
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Colours Coupletnature,
SMAAK STUKKEND Carpe Diemimagination,introspection
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A Bit O' Ireland Quatrainlove,time,time,
A Pink Crystal Dawn Kimonature,
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The Potter's Wheel Sestinaart,life,
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