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ENGB04: Critical Thinking about Poetry May 9 2013  Community standards decides what obscenity consists of and what poetry’s role is in that  Prehistory consists of a time before written text/recorded history  Poetry comes from the word “poesis” in Greek which comes from the original “homophoesis” or blood-forming/making  Poetry is the act of making something where the poem is what is made  The act of poetry writing was referred through the old English word makynge which does not necessarily mean making something from nothing- that ideology came from the romantic period and poetry existed before this time.  The maker was like a craftsman or artesian in that they would have had to complete something like an apprenticeship- learn the secrets of the trade and attain and assimilate a familiarity of the conventions of the craft  Thinking this way negates the myth from the romantic period of a poet as a conduit for celestial inspiration, rather early prehistoric poets probably thought of themselves as representatives of a traditional craft What is the need for poetry and where do the conventions come from?  The origins of poetry date back to before the origins of writing- before written word recitation was used to preserve information, committing it to memory using mnemonic devices  Texts coming out of preliterate cultures have rhyming, alliteration, and rhythm (sonic effects) o We as bipedal organisms like things to be in multiple of two- this is also how we commit things to memory o It is easier to commit Jay-Z to memory because he writes in multiples of 2 beats whereas poets like Shakespeare wrote in beats of 5  You can’t have cultural progress without writing- if there is no way for history to be communicated to the next generation it is bound to repeat itself which is not progressive o Poetry originally served this urgent need by being the means through which knowledge could be preserved in a time before written text  English followed traditional Germanic language- contained rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration before literacy (Anglo-Saxon’s) which was a 4 beat line using alliteration particularly  Mora timed: East Asian languages time smaller units smaller than syllables referred to as mora’s (ex. Tokyo and Kyoto- both are two syllables long but Tokyo, using mora timed analysis would be pronounced To-ok-y-o, comprised of 4 mora’s which takes longer to say in comparison to Kyoto)  Languages such as Greek and Latin like to pattern the order of short and long syllables  Syllable timed: pattern of the number of syllables in languages (ex. French and Spanish)  The English language is neither mora or syllable timed but rather an accentual language which patterns stressed/louder syllables o There are two kinds of syllables- accented or stressed syllables and unaccented/unstressed syllables o In the English language words are pronounced correctly or incorrectly depending on which syllable we put emphasis on  Accented syllables are marked with a macron (ex. Śyllabus)  Short syllables are marked with a brevis (ex. Syllăbŭs)  Syllabus has three syllables where the first syllable is the stressed one  Early English poetry is called accentual or alliterative verse because of the use of alliteration (tends to prefer 1 , 2 , or 3 syllables)  Meter is the regulation of sound units into regular patterns which was originally for mnemonic purposes o Trimeter: three accented syllables o Tetrameter: four accent
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