September 26, 2009KR BlogKR

Short Takes

Recently, I have noticed my overzealous usage of semicolons. How I became addicted to this list-breaking, pause-inducing mark, I am not entirely sure. Samuel Beckett has called semicolons “hideous;” poet Thomas Devaney has softened the critique, kindly, towards aesthetically “unsettling.”

While Devaney may have been “seduced” by Poe’s mastery of clause separation, other commendable examples of semicolon usage certainly exist:

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;

Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;

At times, indeed, almost ridiculous…


Prufrock is especially worthy of inclusion on this day. Were T.S. Eliot still alive, September 26 would mark his 122nd birthday. I bring it upon myself to announce this special occasion, since—modest through the end—Eliot has refrained from mentioning it on his “TomStearnsEliot” Twitter page.

"Prufrock" + semicolon