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Would an unusual contraction for the sake of meter be considered a cop out? (1 Viewer)

Nate Gallon

Senior Member
I enjoy fusing words together a lot because I believe that, especially if done tastefully, it can be musical and aid a piece's legitimacy/divinity to art. This can also help readers feel in touch with the author and their personal quirks of how they speak so as not to feel alienated by a plain, monotonous narrator. The thing is, I've read somewhere that this is a sign of laziness on the writer's part, but I disagree. What do you think? :)
 

ehbowen

Senior Member
I enjoy fusing words together a lot because I believe that, especially if done tastefully, it can be musical and aid a piece's legitimacy/divinity to art. This can also help readers feel in touch with the author and their personal quirks of how they speak so as not to feel alienated by a plain, monotonous narrator. The thing is, I've read somewhere that this is a sign of laziness on the writer's part, but I disagree. What do you think? :)

What some call laziness, others call originality. There are only so many words in the English language...if you don't have one which fits, make it up!

"She can't tell kids not to make up words! She's not the president of the world!" 'Ramona Quimby' in Ramona and Beezus (2010 movie).
 

TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
Nate, we can say a lot about what poetry is or is not but one thing is indisputable, poetry is where we get to play with language and there really are no limits. If you want to throw words together for some effect then goaheadanddoit. You can do whate’er you want and critics can say whate’er they want. Just because someone says it’s “lazy writing” doesn’t make it so. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what your poem is and how far you wish to push one technique or another and if meter is important to you and you chop up a few words to get there, more power to you. You can take advice or leave it. Some critics are just Gatekeepers who don’t want to see anyone step outside the compound. If we adhere to every critique, poetry will never evolve and will die out from stagnation.
 

clark

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
I can't second Tim's central point strongly enough. Tim often makes the point that poets have an obligation: to stretch the boundaries of language, to challenge the reader's sense of relevance, of how words and units of language work as tools to bridge the gulf between isolated individuals. Put bluntly: who the fuck is going to do that, if not us? And to the specific question--fusing words, perhaps 'creating' unusual contractions--my only caution would be, just be careful you don't produce an inadvertent and unwanted comedic effect. I would also add that one of the hallmarks of English vocabulary is our willingness, perhaps eagerness, to live with rich levels of ambiguity within specific words. Specific application is provided by context. Just one example: the word submarine. It means "beneath a surface of water of some kind". We then apply it to plants, water creatures--oh yes! along comes a steel boat that goes beneath the surface of waters, so we'll apply it to that, and what about ideas or motives or plans or intentions? . . .sure, that'll work, throw all that in there too. I mean, what a mongrel, dog's breakfast sense of how to work with a word? Just in passing, this incredible flexibility of English, the fact that DEFINITIONS are so often little more than blurred signs seen from a speeding train, is one of the main reasons non-native speakers have such a hell of a time learning English-in-depth.

In contradistinction, German speakers invent specific words on the spot for new specific applications. But usually the 'newness' applies ONLY to that new application. The German word for a steel boat that moves beneath the surface of waters is unterwasserboot ​. I am not making a judgment here. Simply describing.
 

Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
What some call laziness, others call originality. There are only so many words in the English language...if you don't have one which fits, make it up!

"She can't tell kids not to make up words! She's not the president of the world!" 'Ramona Quimby' in Ramona and Beezus (2010 movie).

I had to laugh at this one. Currently the Oxford English Dictionary runs to about a couple of hundred thousand words words - There's no shortage...
 
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