Jump to content
Linguaholic

Is poetry allowed to break grammar rules?


Recommended Posts

Do you think poetry is allowed to break some grammar rules?

In order to express the inexpressible, sometimes you have to bend the language

(Of course I don't mean elementary grammar mistakes.)

I remember this story. Tagore translated his first book of poems into English, and because he wasn't a native speaker, he was insecure about the translation, so he asked a friend to correct it.

The friend, who was not a poet, made a few corrections.

Some time later, Yeats read Tagore's poems, and said he did not like a few words, complaining that the poem does not flow well. When Tagore checked the poems, Yeats asked him to remove the very corrections his friend had made.

You can read the whole story here

http://web-wanderings.blogspot.ro/2012/08/an-anecdote-of-bengali-poet-tagore-and.html

What do you think? Do you have any other examples of poetic quotes which break the rules?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Improve your knowledge of any language online

I guess poets are allowed to break the rules in order for them to convey their message without any hindrances. But it's not the only genre where grammar rules are flagrantly flouted. Try reading a movie script and find out for yourself. Anyway here's a poem that throws the grammar rule books out the window:

http://www.writingforward.com/grammar/grammar-rules/breaking-grammar-rules-in-poetry-writing

anyone lived in a pretty how town

(with up so floating many bells down)

spring summer autumn winter

he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men (both little and small)

cared for anyone not at all

they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same

sun moon stars rain

children guessed (but only a few

and down they forgot as up they grew

autumn winter spring summer)

that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf

she laughed his joy she cried his grief

bird by snow and stir by still

anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones

laughed their cryings and did their dance

(sleep wake hope and then)they

said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon

(and only the snow can begin to explain

how children are apt to forget to remember

with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess

(and noone stooped to kiss his face)

busy folk buried them side by side

little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep

and more by more they dream their sleep

noone and anyone earth by april

with by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men (both dong and ding)

summer autumn winter spring

reaped their sowing and went their came

sun moon stars rain

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am of the belief that you are fully allowed to break any rule you like... once you understand the rules.

When a writer purposefully uses bad grammar or odd spellings to convey a message it can enhance the poem or other creative writing piece. One can ask 'why' they made these choices. And it can give more possibilities when you stretch the bounds of conventional language.

Now as for the writer who doesn't bother to learn and just writes willy-nilly, it often shows that they don't fully grasp higher-level writing. It can impact how I much I can appreciate the piece.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a Professional Writer and a Published International Poet myself so I know.  :wink: Yes, poetry allows breaking of certain grammatical rules as it is allowed in creative writing. If you haven't known yet, writers commonly break grammar rules and still come up with a masterpiece. Breaking rules don't necessarily mean giving up on the quality and essence of your pieces. Modernist poets compose pieces which have a lot of grammar errors but because the dancing words sound good, the poems become famous. Not all writers are  good in grammar I tell you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

I think that artists in general break the existing rules and that is why they are called artists and what they produce is art that is admired for everyone. Surely that a poet is an artist and his/her creations don't have to be confined to grammatical rules, I think these rules apply only to day-to-day communication.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually any form of literature writing have some leniency towards grammar errors. They focus more on the artistic expressions rather than accuracy. Even song lyrics have grammar mistakes from time to time. Writers break the rule for the flow of their work.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When poetry is formed at the highest point art, it is not breaking the rules of grammar, but rather upholding them. When you break a rule knowingly then you recognize the rule. You the poet and your audience are acutely aware, I hope, of the broken grammar. However, there is now a new grammar. A grammar of thought that surpasses the grammar of the words. Grammar serves the thought not the other way around. When grammar ceases to serve the idea it takes a break -- no pun intended. That I believe is what happens in poetry.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I see it with poetry -- as with literature in general -- the writer is fully grounded in and familiar with the rules of grammar and chooses to use the language in a manner that is expressive, and yes, this may mean breaking rules.  Contemporary poetry in particular can often have unorthodox punctuation; sometimes the punctuation is completely absent and line breaks are indicated purely by spacing on the page.   

I think also we must keep in mind that poetry is as much a written language as a spoken language, and it's the rhythm and the music of the lines and of the language that are or greater importance that grammatical rules. 

So yes, definitely, as I see it, poetry breaks rules even as it breaks new ground thematically and culturally. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you think poetry is allowed to break some grammar rules?

In order to express the inexpressible, sometimes you have to bend the language

(Of course I don't mean elementary grammar mistakes.)

I remember this story. Tagore translated his first book of poems into English, and because he wasn't a native speaker, he was insecure about the translation, so he asked a friend to correct it.

The friend, who was not a poet, made a few corrections.

Some time later, Yeats read Tagore's poems, and said he did not like a few words, complaining that the poem does not flow well. When Tagore checked the poems, Yeats asked him to remove the very corrections his friend had made.

You can read the whole story here

http://web-wanderings.blogspot.ro/2012/08/an-anecdote-of-bengali-poet-tagore-and.html

What do you think? Do you have any other examples of poetic quotes which break the rules?

Poetry is an art. Art requires creativity and the mixing and matching of things that don't ordinarily go together. So, I have no problem seeing when writers break the grammar rules in expressing the inexpressible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's pretty debatable in my opinion. We could say it's a form of the English language so yes, it must follow the rules but on the other hand we could also say it's a form of art and art is allowed to change and shape into anything.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We write poetry to express what we feel, think or experience. I do believe that one is allowed to break grammar rules in order to be expressive. There doesn't have to be any formality in that. It is just the same as with songs, you tell it as it is then it is for the reader or listener to analyse.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always remember in English class how my teacher said that rules didn't apply to poetry. I can see how rules would restrict the artistry, but sometimes when things are in all lower case it hurts my eyes. I need some rules!

Link to post
Share on other sites

There isn't the requirement of structure technically. If you are writing a poem, it could be whatever you want in whatever way you want to say it. It doesn't have to rhyme, have a specific set of syllables, or only use metaphors or similes that make sense. That being said, there are many poem variants that do have structures and "rules" more or less (like a limerick for example).

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think so. I have made great poems when I was in high-school yet I didn't break any rules in grammar or tenses for that matter. Poetry should enhance the way we understand and speak English and not deprive it of it's form.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another response talked about "artists" which I believe poets fall within.  If you are discussing art there are always "blurred lines" depending on the artist and the style of painting.  In poetry, I don't think it is a question of whether breaking traditional rules is allowed, but rather does the work itself facilitate the message.  Poetry itself has many different types and some may seem to "break the rules" from other poems.  The question of success often depends on the way something is received, rather than the delivery.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Poetry breaks grammatical rules all the time! If you ever read anything by e.e. cummings, you will see that most if not all of his poetry breaks a lot of grammatical rules. In fact, his name does not even have any capital letters! You think that it would be spelt E.E. Cummings, but the correct way is with all lowercase letters.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Poets can do anything they want. They only play with that language while they're trying to figure out an idea and expose it in a metaphoric way. They're like philosophers, but they use rhymes.

So yes, they can always break grammar rules if they need to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If poetry is seen as its own art form, then it should not follow any rules but its own.  That being said, I have read poetry that bends traditional grammar but when used as a vehicle for expression, I think it should not be "regulated".  If you compare it to art, how fun would it be if everyone painted by numbers.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...