Do you ever wonder what the poetic term “syntax” means? If you ever have to read poetry, especially for an educational class where analysis is part of your course work, then syntax is one of many aspects of writing, literature, and written genres or forms like poetry that you are going to wind up studying. Thus, being curious about the definition and practical nature of the term, as it relates to poetry, is quite understandable.
It’s even more understandable if you write poetry. Your desire to write poems is probably just a creative instinct that flows out of you naturally, and the words likely flow just as easily. However, learning all you can about your craft at a critical or academic and technical level is likely to help your poetry and understanding of the art form.
Syntax is generally the sets of processes, principles, and rules that dictate sentence structure within a language or form of literature. Punctuation and word order are of particular importance.
The word “syntax” itself is traced back all the way to Ancient Greece, from a word loosely translated as “coordination” formed from the base parts of “together” and “an ordering.” The concept of syntax as a school of thought is often traced back simultaneously to Greece for Western languages and to Ancient India for Asian and Eastern languages and their related dialects.
In the realm of poetry, the order of words in a sentence can emphasize or empower or even demote the energy of particular words, particularly subjects and verbs. Some poets even deliberately fracture their chosen syntax beyond what is usually acceptable in the language they are writing in, betting on the reader being able to understand points made outside of the boundaries of conventional syntax.