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Cutting punctuation

Started by bobjects, August 30, 2013, 02:17:42 AM

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Sorry if this reveals me as an extreme newbie, but are there guidelines regarding ellipses vs. dashes for use as a cut?


John McManus

Hi Bob, it depends on your reason for the punctuation.

If I want to indicate a quick cut then I use an emdash, and if I am wanting to slow the reader down, increasing the pause between the two parts of the poem I tend to go with the ellipses.

I hope this helps.



Dear Bob,

There's two questions here, I'd guess, one about punctuation in the English-language writing world as a whole, and rules or quirks picked up by individual haiku poetry writers, whether right or wrong.

It's best to know the general guidelines to correct grammar and then utilise that knowledge within your own haiku writing.

Sometimes we use punctuation as a visual feature, utilising some of its grammatical character, but also veering close to the concrete poetry nature.

I use both N-dashes and M—dashes, but there is contradictory advice on their uses, Oxford usage suggests M—dash is for brackets only.

It's an interesting question because I wonder how many of us are using grammar similar to the methods of other poetries outside haikai literature.

Ellipses were very popular back in the old century as were N-dashes, but it became monotonous on a visual level, because haiku are such incredibly short poems.

I feel variety in haiku is essential, especially if you consider a collection at some point in the future.

warm regards,


Quote from: bobjects on August 30, 2013, 02:17:42 AM
Sorry if this reveals me as an extreme newbie, but are there guidelines regarding ellipses vs. dashes for use as a cut?

Alan Summers,
founder, Call of the Page

Don Baird

I use:

. . .   For a continuum of movement (setting sun etc.) and for longer dream room

—      For a break that is similar to hyphen, a sort of "that is" feeling; & or, general pause; still
         connective but not as much as ellipsis.

;       For a greater disjunction

:       For two parts that are very equal in balance ... two halves that make a whole ... but of equal
        strength ... and also for the greatest disjunction.

And, occasionally, I simply choose one by feeling.  :)
I write haiku because they're there to be written ...

storm drain
the vertical axis
of winter

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