Write 2 Be Magazine

For the Artists Who Like to Remain Strictly Out of the Box

Wielding Your Poetic License by Jeremiah P Walton

Poetic license is defined as;

“The liberty taken by an artist or a writer in deviating from conventional form or fact to achieve a desired effect.” -The Free Dictionary

Your license is used when ditching the usual conventions of writing or fact with intent to further the piece you are writing, usually for dramatic affect. Many writers use this, and many writers use this well.

And many other writers use this poorly, hindering the piece they’re working on, rather than building it. Poetic license is easily abused. And it’s not just poets employing this writing technique. Lyricists, fiction writers, and all forms of literature make use of it.

Any person can deviate from traditional language or common knowledge to make their point clear and powerful. This is a beautiful part of writing, the plasticity of it. You do not have to follow rigid rules. The ability to bend language into any manner of shape and form is invaluable. Writing is a malleable art.

How poetic license is used is entirely at the artist’s discretion. You may understand your intent, but if a reader is left puzzled by your device, you may need to reconsider and revise.

Breaking the rules of grammar and structure is not the same as breaking communication. Communication is the goal of a piece of writing, to share your thoughts with the reader. If your experimenting hinders communication, you’re hindering your writing.

I am not suggesting that you abandon all rules of English grammar and completely reject what your 8th grade teacher told you. You’re not James Joyce, who managed to get away with destroying plot structure, and re-creating his own mind-bending form of narrative structure, plot, and language.

Examples of usage

  1. Creating      your own words
  2. Altering      traditional pronunciation of a word (commonly to maintain metre)
  3. Putting      adjectives after a noun (i.e. the deer majestic)
  4. Deviation      from historical fact
  5. Breaking      punctuation intentionally
  6. Using      run-on sentences for a particular effect (i.e. On The Road )

On an important note, your poetic license should be used sparingly and creatively, otherwise your “rule breaking” will lose its desired affect. The usage of poetic license can lead to controversy among grammar nazis, history buffs, and book lovers. You can be simultaneously praised or dejected for its usage.

The poetic license is a privilege for all writers. It’s an acceptable way to break the rules of English and flow your own unique way. There are thousands of resources available online for improving your writing, and bending the rules of literature. Do your research, build your talent, experiment, learn what works and doesn’t work.

Be careful with using your license, you don’t want it revoked.

About Jeremiah Walton

Jeremiah Walton graduated High School the spring of 2013, and is currently hitchhiking cross country, aiming to broaden the poetic community, hitting open mics and slams, and street performing. You can follow his poetry and travels at Gatsby’s Abandoned Children,

Jeremiah manages Nostrovia! Poetry, W.I.S.H. Publishing, The Traveling Poet, and is an editor at UndergroundBooks.


About jcladyluv

Jimmetta Carpenter is the Editor and Creator of the Free Fall Literary E-Zine and the Spoken Like A Queen E-Zine. She has dedicated herself to the power of the words and given into her passion for writing and has been writing poetry officially since the age of ten. She has a book of poetry titled “The Art of Love” published through lulu.com under the pen name Gemini. She is currently finishing up with her first novel and already working on her second. In 1998 she had her poem “Rest In Peace” published in an anthology put out by the International Library of Poetry and in the Spring of 2007 will have another poem titled “Through The Eyes of an Angel” published in another anthology also put out by the International Library of Poetry. She was also awarded the Editor’s Choice Award for that poem as well. She is looking forward to having a very long and rewarding career in writing and hopes that through living out her dreams she can inspire someone else out there to realize theirs. Her advice to other up and coming authors is to NEVER stop believing N your dreams and don’t ever be afraid to dream big. Jimmetta can be contacted by sending her an e-mail at freefall_lbp@yahoo.com or jcladyluv@yahoo.com.

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This entry was posted on March 15, 2014 by in Contributing Writers and tagged , , , , , .

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