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Should I put a period at the end of every line in my poem?

Q: My question is about punctuation. Should I put a period at the end of every line in my poem? —Pointed Problem

A: This is a tricky question. First off, you can think of poetry as following the same rules of punctuation as prose. Put periods at the ends of sentences (complete thoughts that have a subject and verb), whether or not those sentences end when the lines end. If you need a pause at the end of a line, but the thought continues on, use a comma. Be thoughtful with your punctuation; it’s okay if a line ends without punctuation. 

With that said, there are a few schools of thought on the issue and, in the end, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your work. The modernist movement established a precedent for irregular punctuation, meaning it’s okay to put periods wherever you like. Whatever you decide, though, be consistent!