Diapers and Dragons

Friday, October 16, 2009

Life Outside the Paragraph

Tomorrow is my one-year bloggiversary, sort of. I did take that three month hiatus. Maybe I'll do a second bloggiversary marking my return and my transformation into a much more truthful and transparent blogger. Yeah. That's a good idea. I'll do that.

I'll schedule a post for tomorrow, since I may be up north or at the very least in a non-Internet access zone.

Today? Today you get some more rambling. And maybe some poetry, since there's something stirring about in there. I'm not sure what it is. That's how poetry is with me--it tends to erupt without much advance planning, if any. I do tweak and edit, though.

It's a little odd, I suppose, that I break rules with my writing here on my blog. I don't use quotation marks for speech; I use italics instead. I don't use capitalization or punctuation at all in my poetry. I make up words. I use cuz instead of because or 'cause. I use fragments and run-on sentences and all sorts of grammar violations.

And it works. Or at least I think it does. (Does it? Feel free to tell me how awesome I am. Or how horrible, though then I might have to block you.) We're talking about the difference between formal and informal writing; personal narrative versus literary analysis, poetry versus academic prose, style versus standardization. The key to being allowed to break the rules, I tell my students, is knowing the rules in the first place and then knowing how and when to break them.

One of my favorite poets is e. e. cummings, bless his uncapitalized heart. His poetry is a constant experiment with language, a game with words and sounds and meanings. Every time I read one of his poems, I feel like I'm entering a playground filled with the English language, and I feel like giggling and diving into the fun. Some of them are even visual puzzles, like one of my favorites:

(im) c-a-t(mo)
& & &
away wanders:exact
ly; as if
hing had, ever happ

Can you figure out what he's describing? You have to see the poem as a picture, as a description in its form of what is happening.

And others speak to my soul:

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
- the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

How beautiful is that? And how can I not adore a poet who compares Life in terms of grammar and punctuation and syntax?

Perhaps the poem stirring inside me will figure itself out later. For now, I'll leave you with cummings' wisdom.

Live outside the paragraph today; dare to change your syntax.

6 bits of love:

Heidi said...

My blog writing is so different from my research writing. I can't force my blog, however, while I can compel myself to sit down and write a paper.

I get more frustrated with my blog, in all honesty, and my inability to capture exactly the nuances I want.

You do informal substantially better than I do and with rather more grace!

A Teacher said...

There's a lot in the ~why~ of blogging. I know I try to have a certain level of serious social commentary in mine so I try to keep it serious enough that someone could read it for, ya know, serious commentary on events. But heck, the artistic breaking of the rules is what makes for good art. Otherwise it's all just literary "paint by numbers".

Arby said...

For most people, death is an exclamation point. For a Christian, death is an ellipse.

oreneta said...

I too enjoy the frission of breaking known grammar rules....in the blog.

It's a good venue for it.

Todd said...

The first cummings poem gave me a hard time. Then I realized that he was the inspiration for L33tspeak.

Screw wisdom, I want a decent kiss.

Have a good weekend.

Draft Queen said...

Thank you for validating my assaut on grammar that I call a blog. Rest assured the papers I write for school are far better organized and grammatically correct. (Alright, there may be the occasional slip up, but hey, I'm so not perfect.)

Happy Blogiversary.

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