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Noy Holland on Punctuation

noy holland“There are standards, and we can be obedient to them. We can ask punctuation to be of service to meaning, in service of clarification, a hand to hold, a breeze at our backs. Standard punctuation is easy and safe and encouraged. It becomes almost invisible. ‘It was good enough for Shakespeare,’ a teacher once told me, ‘it’s good enough for you.’ Don’t be silly, I think he was saying. Don’t be a sophomore, or a sheep. Because he loved Bernhard and Beckett, too, their everlasting paragraphs induced by the substance and manner of what they had to say; there is nothing capricious about it. Nothing capricious about Merwin, whose unpunctuated, uncapitalized lines can look like leaves being blown from the page, light and dry and moving. Like wind in the fur of the foxes.” From Noy Holland’s Punctuation is When You Feel It, published in the Glimmer Train Bulletin #106.

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