On my lunch break today, I read the semicolons chapter of Lynn Truss’ Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I have the illustrated version.
So I will give my opinion of that nice little device: I am in favor. Even in poetry. In fact, in college, I often used semicolons in my poetry; I have known people who found them annoying, or distracting, or something: simply didn’t like them meddling about in lines and giving unsure pause times at the ends of lines. Why not, they posed, make the second verb a gerund instead?
But to have a semicolon in a poem is to force your reader to hold the tension. And I like making people uncomfortable holding this tension. They can’t decide which verb, which clause, is more important; they must allow each to be equally so, must allow them to fight it out–like I imagine identical twins must do from time to time.