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1. The End of The Line

There are three basic types of line ending in poetry:

 

1. End stopped: when the line ends with the sentence.

“Would you leave before the end of lunch?”

 

2. Parsing: when the line is broken according to parts of a phrase.

“and take the chiffon with you, as the horizon

sometimes takes the spray”

 

3. Annotated: when the line completely breaks the syntax of a sentence and makes you read it oddly

“heaving the breath as if

more breath than for a

weekend of breathing”

 

 

Try this! ….

Below is a poem by Philip Booth, called Terms.  In this poem he uses the metaphor of ‘the line’ in shipping to discuss and extrapolate on the importance of tension and various types of ‘line’ in poetry – and some ‘other events’.  It’s a great poem, I think.  Here I am publishing it without any line breaks.  Can you recreate the various effects of line-breaking, intended by Booth to keep his poem moving and engaging?  Anyway, even if you can’t recreate exactly what Booth tries to do, perhaps you can experiment with your own effects?

(please cut and paste the poem into the comments box below and add your own line-breaks)

Answer

 

Terms

by Philip Booth

On land any length of rope that’s hitched to something beyond itself and takes the strain is called the standing part. Tossed over a beam or limb, with a slipknot tied in the farther end, the standing part could be said to end in a noose. At sea, put to use, rope changes its name to line. The part spliced into an eye or, say, made fast to a shackle, the part that does the work, that works, remains the standing part. Any loop or slack curve in the running part of the line, the part that’s not working, becomes a bight; and the part of the running part that’s let go, or finally eased off until there’s no reserve left, is known as the bitter end. As it is in other events, ashore or at sea, that come to the end of the line.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Jonny permalink
    August 21, 2009 2:44 pm

    On land
    any length of rope that’s hitched
    to something beyond itself
    and takes the strain
    is called the standing part.

    Tossed over
    a beam or limb,
    with a slipknot tied in
    the farther end,
    the standing part
    could be said to end
    in a noose.
    At sea, put to use,
    rope changes its name to line.
    The part spliced into an eye
    or, say, made fast to a shackle,
    the part that does the work, that works,
    remains the standing part.

    Any loop
    or slack curve in the running
    part of the line,
    the part that’s not working,
    becomes a bight;
    and the part of the running part
    that’s let go,
    or finally eased off
    until there’s no reserve left,
    is known as the bitter end.

    As it is
    in other events, ashore
    or at sea,
    that come to the end of the line.

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