to answer your questions about being pretentious I need to go back to 2013 when I wrote a poem using three line stanzas. It was a decent poem but it did not excite me. So I thought of John Ashberry and pantoums, the blues and a recent painting by Raul Cordero. The original stanza lines in the poem
became the new lines
1 (made up of the old lines 2+3)
2 (made up of the old lines 1+2)
3 (made up of the old lines 1+3)
I was struck at how powerful the tercet now sounded as the rhythm and rhyme became intensified. So I applied it to the other 3 line stanzas in the poem. The next problem was how to capitalise the start of lines and how to punctuate? It would look silly capitalising the original line 1, the new line 1 would be at odds with how the poem was put together, and as I’ve always used a lower case in the start of each line unless it was the start of a sentence. It was a no brainer. Luckily the stanza is end stopped at line 3, so as there is a line break and a blank line there’s no real need for a full stop. However I still need to indicate a pause between line 2+3, 1+2 and 1+3. I tried putting them on separate lines but I preferred the three line structure (must be the catholic in me), commas didn’t look right, spaces meant that some of the lines ran over, stepped lines would almost do the job but then magazines could not print them easily and it did look a little pretentious. I wanted something simple and straightforward. When I read the poem out loud I used a red slash to indicate a pause and a slash is actually a punctuation mark known as a virgule – offset by spaces to either side is used to mark line breaks when transcribing text from a multi-line format into a single-line one. It is particularly common in quoting poetry, song lyrics, and dramatic scripts, formats where omitting the line breaks risks losing meaningful context. I settled with that. It’s sharp, simple, looks good and does just what I want it to.
As to the lower case I. A few months ago I read “milk and honey” by rupi kaur. I liked the way it seems to bring a level of equality (both in the poem and in the social hierarchy), deflate the ego and make I=we. In these particular love poems that was exactly what I wanted.
Clear reasons I think. Poems using the same form as this (only not using the lower case I) have been published in Tears in the Fence, The Journal, Message in a Bottle and are forthcoming in Envoi and Brittle Star. Interestingly the editors did not ask about the repetition or the virgules