The Oxford English Dictionary's definition [of sentence] focuses on the individuality of articulation rather than the rules of the game: "[a sentence is] a series of words complete in itself as the expression of a thought, containing or implying a subject and predicate, and conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command."
In other words, sentences comprise a large variety of language patterns, many of which don't follow official grammar-book prescriptions. So when I talk about sentences in poetry, . . . I'm thinking about the way in which a poet arranges words to express a thought.
Of course, whenever I even mention the word grammar, I immediately call forth certain readers' recalcitrance and defensiveness. Grammar has a bad rap. Too many people believe the term is limited to a punitive focus on correct or incorrect. But poetry is not interested in prissy constructs of correct or incorrect. It is interested in conversation. How does the structure of a sentence contribute to or detract from the conversation that the poet ideally hopes to spark?
So I'm asking you to look at the grammar of these four sentence-constructed poems and respond emotionally, intellectually, sonically to what you notice. You can respond in the comments or send me an email, if you prefer.