Performance: Grammar and Punctuation

So, as well as line breaks and spacing, grammar and punctuation have a big impact on the way that a poem is read and/or performed.

When you next write a poem, take a moment to think about whether you want to give the reader guidance – in the form of punctuation – as to how to perform your poem. Or whether, like E.E. Cummings, you would prefer to be experimental and play around with grammar and punctuation.

If you want to perform a poem that does not include much punctuation or grammar, you may want to mark up a version with your own punctuation and grammar. This will help you know when to take a breath or pause – or change the tone or volume of your voice.