I have been struggling with line breaks in my poetry for years. Even so, I am a bit taken aback by a friend’s email promising me a copy of a text “which should definitively answer the question of ‘Why did you put the […] line break there!?'”
In my last post (on the present poetic) and in follow up comments, I have been pondering some of the reasons behind choosing to write in the present tense (a subject I intend to revisit soon).
In other posts about first-person narrators I have considered the question of the writer/narrator dichotomy and why I so often write in the first person if I am not writing about myself.
At some time, I’ve no doubt I will get around to considering other questions about writing poetry – including line breaks, stanza breaks and page layout. I’ve got plenty to say about line length and the use of rhyme, too, as well as translation and transformation, and a whole host of other issues.
But I’m not trying to give definitive answers in any of these posts: I’m interested in any thoughts that visitors to the blog might like to contribute, and I’d be more than happy to be shown where my arguments or theories fail.
To be honest, I don’t think there are many absolute rules about how poetry is, or should be, written. But that doesn’t stop me wanting to talk about it and find out what other people think about the subject. So, although I’m looking forward to reading the article on line breaks, I do hope it doesn’t “definitively answer” anything.
After all, as Majikthise said in THHGTTG chapter 25:
“[…]I mean what’s the use of our sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if this machine only goes and gives us his bleeding phone number the next morning?”