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Perhaps I can etirw you a meop,
Or some esrev with or without semyhr,
Extra sdrow with serugif and segami?
May we still llac this yrteop?

What do you call the stanza above? Just a joke? A mind-teaser, or poetry? Farce, fantasy, or literature?….

The answer is yours.

But [no matter what you call it] at least it proves how much reading and writing mean interpreting a message, decrypting letters and forcing them to adapt to human communication. It shows that assembling letters into words implies we decode the messages they organize.

Poetry in particular is never a neutral means of communication.

[When we write a poem,] let’s make sure that what we convey is fully understood and fully adapted to what we think, imply and want to transmit.

That is why sentence structure and punctuation matter so much. They are the landmarks that enable our minds and hearts to decode the message sent by words. They are the codes to decipher the texts.

This is the reason why you can’t write (using an extra simple sentence):

‘I think that, he’ll love it’


‘I think that
He will love it.’


‘They never know where
Punctuation must be added.’

Recently I edited this sentence (again simplified):

‘She killed 3 men that had not paid her with rat poison’; Isn’t your first reaction: “Oh, what a currency!”?

And so many more!

It is fashionable today in French poetry to dismantle sentences. Here’s an example of a stanza written by a poet published with honours in a recent anthology at “Le castor Astral”.

I’ve added an exact translation with the exact setting and lack of punctuation.

Peut-être que si nous avions cru
en ses mots noirs et tranchants, nous
ne serions pas où nous sommes
comme des petits malappris


Maybe if we had believed
in his dark and sharp words, we
would not be where we are
like little uncouth kids

I am not amused. Using words must be fun. But not at any cost!

by Brigitte Poirson

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