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Enjambment - craig cornish's Blog

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Blog Posted:7/2/2020 5:27:00 PM

read this as one train of thought and you may realize the value of enjambment

If time were not a moving thing
And I could make it stay
This hour of love we share
Would always be
There'd be no coming day
To shine a morning light
And make us realize our night is over

When you walk away from me
There is no place to put my hand
Except to shade my eyes against the sun
That rises over the land
I watch you walk away
Somehow I have to let you go
Cause it's over

If you knew just how I really feel
You might return and yet
There are so many times
That people have to love and then forget
Oh there might have been a way somehow
I have to force myself to say
It's over

So I turn my back,
Turn my collar to the wind
Move along in silence
Trying not to think at all
I set my feet before me
Walk the silent street before me
Now it's over

Our mission as poets is to translate emotions into words so when we have a mind on the hook (metphorically) we mustn't let them go---this write/lyrics by Jimmie Rogers is an excellent example of that. It can realistically be one totally emotional thought without a true "stop"---discuss.

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Date: 7/10/2020 5:22:00 PM
Enjambment can be another tool in a poet's toolbelt when writing in meter, to help it not feel so predictable. As Shakespeare matured in his writing, both his plays and sonnets utilized more of this tool: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove. (Sonnet 116). If used well, it can create a more natural sounding phrasing yet meet the structure of iambic pentameter a traditional sonnet requires. Overall, as has been stated in your blog and the comments below, it offers the poet a freedom to not have to match lines to complete thoughts, and can provide a measure of ambiguity.
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craig cornish
Date: 7/10/2020 8:27:00 PM
Yes John, I was going to say exactly but that would turn the purpose back upon itself because we don't desire exactness - we desire a continuation of infinite thought/questioning the simple yet complex meanings of a Mona Lisa smile...the whys, the questions--and sometimes those can most effectively be achieved by relentlessly pursuing a train of thought without end!--if need be...
Date: 7/7/2020 6:57:00 PM
My understanding of enjambment (a type of lineation) is a poetic device wherein a syntactically complete line is broken into two parts and the second part is a word or phrase that completes the syntax. The purpose is to create poetic tension - to cause a question to arise in the reader's mind. E.G. "If time were not a" [the tension is "not a" what?] "moving thing" [release of tension]. I.E. "If time were not a // moving thing" As you can see, almost anything could release the tension which is why the tension exists. ~beto
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craig cornish
Date: 7/10/2020 8:31:00 PM
Thanks Beto, but I think it may be the obverse, that being the building of tension, perhaps never to be released until the reader does so in their own space.
Date: 7/5/2020 8:04:00 AM
The pianist/comedian Victor Borge did a magnificent comedic presentation of punctuation using sounds to insert punctuation marks while speaking.
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Pigeon Tart
Date: 7/5/2020 2:26:00 PM
I've seen that... He's brilliant!
Date: 7/3/2020 6:32:00 PM
I always thought enjambment was when you slammed your fingers in the draw.
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craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2020 10:39:00 PM
It's the door jamb silly!
Date: 7/3/2020 12:55:00 PM
I’m still learning, Craig. The topic of your blogpost is very interesting and helpful, as well as the comments you’ve received. Keep them coming! ~Mark
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craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2020 10:38:00 PM
We all learn from each other Mark; most of what I have learned is from other poets past and present who share their writing and what they have learned here and as you have said, it is still an ongoing process - I'm thankful for that.
Date: 7/3/2020 10:13:00 AM
I love enjambment! It’s one of those things that really brings a poem to life for me. The one thing I would change about this is that I would not capitalise the beginning of each line. For me, it breaks the flow. Also, I have such punctuation dilemmas with poems like this. Do you put full stops where they would naturally occur in speech? Do you omit them entirely? Do you put commas where in prose you would put full stops? Agh! I usually try them all out and then plump for one. But whatever I do, there are always little corners of punctuation that i can’t get quite right!
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Nina Parmenter
Date: 7/3/2020 11:24:00 AM
Thanks Craig - I shall repeat that phrase to myself next time I'm sweating over a capitalisation dilemma!! Nice use of a semi-colon in your reply btw ;-) ;-)
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craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2020 11:03:00 AM
You are a natural Nina and on the short list of those whose "not-quite-rights" usually add to those subtle ambiguities. Please don't labor over punctuation - they're speed bumps anyway; Emily Dickenson rarely used anything but dashes and form breaks. She capitalized most of the first word in a line probably because that was tradition then yet I agree totally with you that todays poetry when using enjambment is enhanced by only using caps after a full stop. The wonderful thing about writing poetry rather than prose is that it is less subject to restricted rules so "Damn the torpedoes"--like Bob Ross says, "It's your painting".
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 7/3/2020 11:00:00 AM
The all caps bothered me too, Nina.
Date: 7/3/2020 9:55:00 AM
Yes Craig,an interesting poetic learning curve the 'one breath length limitation ' naturally pauses and thereby punctuates.(looking forward the next topic in your guideline blogs)
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craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2020 10:41:00 AM
Brian, you certainly are one who appreciates the value of not "losing" the audience, yet in public speaking a pause can be very effective in setting up anticipation much like stopping a fishing lure at just the right time to tempt a strike - so, much is the same with the written word and the use of punctuation and/or form and presentation.
Date: 7/3/2020 4:03:00 AM
I liken this to an actor's soliloquy on a stage and the heartfelt passion that goes into it.
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craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2020 10:36:00 AM
Exactly Gary but please read my response to Andrea below for more elaboration.
Date: 7/2/2020 10:09:00 PM
I see what you mean. I was not familiar with the term enjambment, my first read was with a literal jab to the heart in mind, having looked up the term my interpretation is the stanza breaks are breaths taken akin to the beats of the heart in and out, the vagal pulse as the thought is processed. I like it.
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craig cornish
Date: 7/2/2020 10:19:00 PM
We do have that gift in the art of poetry that is more difficult to justify in prose because of inherent rules, and depending on the subject matter, can we or should we use that freedom effectively to hold the reader -- thanks Mo.
Date: 7/2/2020 9:50:00 PM
All capitals at the beginning of lines seems to balance with no punctuation at the opposite end. Nonetheless there are stanza breaks (an empty line) where the reader can breathe and take a moment to reflect before continuing.
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craig cornish
Date: 7/2/2020 10:15:00 PM
Exactly Reason, though many have changed the traditional use of capitalization to begin lines to follow more like prose where capitols are only used for beginning a sentence or for proper nouns and yes, line breaks and stanza breaks are a form of dramatic presentation that can replace normal punctuation used in prose.
Date: 7/2/2020 9:31:00 PM
I would prefer it with punctuation.
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craig cornish
Date: 7/3/2020 10:33:00 AM
My purpose for this discussion is not the quality of the write poetically and because it is song lyrics the simplicity of emotional thought is more necessary to hold the listener when paired with a melody. My purpose was solely punctuation/enjambment and how in many cases stops in a write can interfere with the thought as a whole. True poetry is done better when it is more complex because it stands on its own but it can be enhanced, I believe with fewer more strategically placed punctuation and as few full stops (periods) as possible - especially in a short composition.
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 7/3/2020 2:09:00 AM
I liked the repitition of "it's over" in his lyrics. Reminded me a little bit of kyrielle.
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Andrea Dietrich
Date: 7/3/2020 2:07:00 AM
actually I saw his writing as lots of well-placed phrases and great stanza breaks. It's a good poem, but frankly I've read lots of Poetry Soup friends who can do this kind of writing just as well. It's mature writing, of course, to know when to "take the break"
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craig cornish
Date: 7/2/2020 10:08:00 PM
Okay, but I'm not implying no punctuation (note "true stop") even though this has no punctuation it could have multiple punctuation without multiple periods which are true stops. Can it be one emotional train of thought without a "true stop" is the question, not the total lack of punctuation, which is truly a choice given as poetic license. My question to you would be the inherent one here and correct grammatical punctuation and form need not apply.

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