Mixing Spacing Up

I had never considered how spacing might affect a poem until this class: my creative writing teacher was not very experimental, and emphasized rhyme scheme and syllable count more than stretching the medium itself to any kind of new technique. I was enthralled at the use of spacing everyone in class used- almost none of the poems we work shopped had a conventional format.

I feel silly, never considering how the spacing itself would have a massive affect on the poem itself. My highschool class had always focused on the deeper meaning, not the format itself. “It has to mean something,” my old teacher said. Any kind of experimental format never entered the conversation, but he wouldn’t oppose it. I was aware of it, of course, but never used it.

I noticed, when I read the poems we work-shopped, how spacing and line breaks added emphasis that italics couldn’t. I noticed it adds real weight, real emphasis apart from each other. I’m ecstatic our class is so creative, experimenting with the format of a written poem more than just meter, rhyme scheme, or metaphor. Feels like an essential aspect we’ve found to mess with in poetry- stir up the old formula, mix it up and keep it from getting stale. I’m hyped to see how far we can push this.

One Reply to “Mixing Spacing Up”

  1. white

    the shit.

    honestly, if we take pauses within our normal conversations, and poetry is as fluid as breath, as speech, as thought, then why should we not allow pauses and soft silences to be cradled and bred within the white space on the page?

    in the fracture of a thought, especially in an existential or fleeting one, white space can sometimes be the only thing that really mirrors it justly. & i mean, that’s just my own poetic intention–other poets use white space for other reasons and it is all frickin’ awesome if it honestly makes the poem into pseudo-thought, pacing it as we would while thinking it through in our heads.

    i think white space is the best to play with, too, because the concept of “breaking space” gets me really excited. you’re so right, nick, let us defy the laws of physics with poems that float with no tethering substance but meaning, emotion, sound, necessity.

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