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Poetry: An Essay

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No, they are epics. To maintain rhyme across hundreds of lines would be onnerous, as Peikoff pointed out. Poetry is usually short, though shortness is not an essential, its just an accidental fact resulting from the difficulty of the task inherent in rhyme and meter.

Epics are poetry; the basic division of poetry in the Western tradition is probably between epic and lyric poetry. And in any case, even if we restrict the term poetry to lyric poetry, as you seem to have done, you'd still exclude most Latin and Greek lyric poetry (Catullus, Sappho, and many others); the Romans and Greeks just didn't go in for rhyming much. Did Catullus and Sappho write poetry or not? By your definition, no.

My essay primarily points out the invalididty of free-verse and shows that poetic-sounding lines or phrases can be re-written to rhyme without losing value. Indeed it adds value if done artisticly.

But your argument against free verse is too strong and your definition of poetry is too narrow.

I AM NOT ATTACKING NON-RHYMING PROSE.

Yes, yes, we know. But you are attacking the idea of non-rhyming poetry, which is a very iffy proposition.

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No, they are epics. To maintain rhyme across hundreds of lines would be onnerous, as Peikoff pointed out. Poetry is usually short, though shortness is not an essential, its just an accidental fact resulting from the difficulty of the task inherent in rhyme and meter.

Certainly the Illiad and Odyssey have meter.

Holy Cow!

I AM NOT ATTACKING NON-RHYMING PROSE.

My essay primarily points out the invalididty of free-verse and shows that poetic-sounding lines or phrases can be re-written to rhyme without losing value. Indeed it adds value if done artisticly.

I AM NOT ATTACKING NON-RHYMING PROSE.

My essay discards the notion of stream-of-consciousness poetry, showing how original notes can be made into a true poem. Not every sentence that comes from a pen is sacred, that's the point.

I AM NOT ATTACKING NON-RHYMING PROSE.

-Brandon

Apparently you have not read Swinburne's "Tristram Of Lyonesse". It is long, and is the most beautifully sustained poetic flight, in rhyming couplets, in the English language. Its length is not a disadvantage, but an advantage, as the cumulative power of the verse builds and the great actions of the hero come across as a splendor unmatchable, and which could not be achieved in a short poem. Short poems can be great, but the long poem is for the reader who wants to immerse himself in the joy of verbal rhythm and melody, becoming an end-in-himself with the measured sounds of his own voice comingling with the end-in-itself of the poem.

Brandon, all you have done so far is to repeat Dr. Peikoff. You have not demonstrated that YOU, having studied hundreds of great English poems, have come to the conclusion that rhyme is a necessary ingredient in a poem, or that YOU have concluded that long poems are not really poems.

Also, in the various examples of your own poems, where there is no regular meter, but a hodge-podge of varying feet, you have many off-rhymes, or slant-rhymes, serving no apparent artistic purpose. If, as you say, rhyme is essential to poetry, wouldn't pure rhymes be more essential than impure ones? (Of course, it takes quite an ability to continuously create pure rhymes.) It would serve your cause better to either practice what you preach or preach something different.

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But you are failing to grasp the fact that there is non-rhyming poetry.

[...]

The question may arise: “Why can’t a set of powerful, memorable lines be called a poem, even if they don’t rhyme?”

That really is the point, isn't it? I have defined poetry as rhyming, and Dr. Peikoff has defined it as "the art whose medium is the sound of concepts." So the sound of concepts could include alliteration, meter, etc. but need not be rhyming as such. I was thrown off by, among other things, the fact that he gave no examples of non-rhyming poetry, and he insisted that half-rhymes (like food-good) were "junk" as he put it. But what would a non-rhyming poem be?

Maybe we could call it an epic if it was long, or blank verse if it only had rhythm but no rhyme. We could even cross-clasify it as a poetic epic if it was long AND rhymed. My essay needs to clarify these definitions.

THANKS. :lol:

THAT is exactly the clarification and distilation of ideas that I was looking for in posting the essay.

I've taken a fair amount of guff and slaps in the responses, but I feel like I've made out like a bandit :) in terms of what I've learned from the criticism.

If anyone has anymore thoughts, I will gladly read them.

-Brandon

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" ... the essential characteristic of poetry, which differentiates it from all other written communication, is the quality of music, including rhythm, rhyme and meter. There is no other form of writing which mixes the qualities of music with the qualities of prose. When the properties of music are divorced from writing, then the remainder is no longer poetry by definition."

How much more reason do you need than this?

Any form of communication must have some essential which differentiates it from other forms of communication, some essential which belongs to it alone. If you don't accept this definition, I don't know what to tell you except read up on your epistemology.

If two things shared the same essentials, i.e. were not different in any essential way, they would be examples of the same phenomena. Definition by essentials is the only possible method of objective definition.

The essential of poetry is the primacy of the sound of concepts.

The above passage from Kate Chopin is not poetry, no matter how beautiful, and I am NOT saying things that aren't poetry are worthless. I'm saying things that don't have rhythm, rhyme and or meter are NOT poetry, because they lack poetry's defining characteristic. They may be beautiful, profound, whatever, but they are defined by their distinguishing characteristics, and the distinguishing characteristic of poetry is rhyme, rhythm and meter.

Its a matter of definiitons here. I don't see why all the confusion. :) ...

By the definition you quote, however, you do not exclude free verse poetry. Your quote requires that poetry have rhythm and meter, two essential qualities of music--not that it rhymes, which is a non-essential quality of some music. Yet even if your definition did exclude free verse poetry, that would not make it the definition. One may wish to associate with the collection of English letters 'poetry' some other concept which does include free verse. There is no logical reason why the letters 'poetry' need refer to what you are speaking of rather than to cattle. The definition associated with a collection of letters is arbitrary, even if definitions as such are not. You have arbitrarily chosen an uncommon definition--that is, one that speakers of English rarely if ever use--to associate with the letters 'poetry'.

I still see no reason why we cannot speak of free verse poetry. It is an artistic expression by means of words set to a structured rhythm. That's a definition of the word by essentials, which captures most if not all of the word's intended meaning in English as understood by its common use, and it is a definition which makes a useful distinction. Where goes me wrong?

Also, as a technical note, there can be no sound of a concept. A concept is a non-physical "thing" (or pseudo-object) which does not move and can cause no reverberations. There can only be the sound of the voice.

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Let me add that the line "The question may arise: 'Why can’t a set of powerful, memorable lines be called a poem, even if they don’t rhyme?'" which you quoted from my post was in fact your own text, accidentally left undeleted. Now then...

That really is the point, isn't it? I have defined poetry as rhyming, and Dr. Peikoff has defined it as "the art whose medium is the sound of concepts."
The essential point here is that Peikoff is right and you are wrong. Peikoff correctly grasps the fact that rhyming is just one of a number of forms that embody the definition of poetry, and you, rationalistically, do not accept the error of your definition. It's bad analogy, although not unforgivable, because Modern English poetry is rhyming. You are apparently unaware of the existence of other poetry (I should say that I think haiku stinks unless it is written in Japanese).
I was thrown off by, among other things, the fact that he gave no examples of non-rhyming poetry, and he insisted that half-rhymes (like food-good) were "junk" as he put it. But what would a non-rhyming poem be?
My god, have you not been reading the posts in this thread? Virtually every piece of poetry that does not descend from Arabic tradition -- Arabic poetry, and Western European posetry since the Middle Ages. The entirety of Classical Greek and Latin poetry, Biblical Hebrew poetry, the Kalevala, Beowulf, the Niebelungenlied, every frigging sloka of Sanskrit poetry. You've had a dose of Greek, Latin, Old English. Here, for chuckles, is the opening of the Kalevala:

Mieleni minun tekevi, aivoni ajattelevi

lähteäni laulamahan, saa'ani sanelemahan,

sukuvirttä suoltamahan, lajivirttä laulamahan.

Sanat suussani sulavat, puhe'et putoelevat,

kielelleni kerkiävät, hampahilleni hajoovat.

Veli kulta, veikkoseni, kaunis kasvinkumppalini!

Lähe nyt kanssa laulamahan, saa kera sanelemahan

yhtehen yhyttyämme, kahta'alta käytyämme!

Harvoin yhtehen yhymme, saamme toinen toisihimme

näillä raukoilla rajoilla, poloisilla Pohjan mailla.

Free verse is not poetry because it lacks any formal sound-based structure -- no metrical pattern, no alliteration, no rhymes.

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Let me add that the line "The question may arise: 'Why can’t a set of powerful, memorable lines be called a poem, even if they don’t rhyme?'" which you quoted from my post was in fact your own text, accidentally left undeleted.

Right, I thought that it was clear I knew that from the reply I made.

Free verse is not poetry because it lacks any formal sound-based structure -- no metrical pattern, no alliteration, no rhymes.

I agree - cut it how you want - free verse is a stinky modern abberation :( .

-Brandon

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Spelling counts.

--Schefflera

aberration

the difference is absolute, right vs wrong spelling, but it can be qauntified:

a = 1

b = 2

c = 3

d = 4

e = 5

f = 6

g = 7

h = 8

i = 9

j = 10

k = 11

l = 12

m =13

n = 14

o = 15

p = 16

q = 17

r = 18

s = 19

t = 20

u = 21

v = 22

w = 23

x = 24

y = 25

z = 26

abberation = 1,2,2,5,18,1,20,9,15,14 ... added equals = 87

aberration = 1,2,5,18,18,1,20,9,15,14 ... added equals = 104

104 - 87 = 17

or bb v rr

mistake of 1 letter x 2 were wrong in two placces, or

1 letter times four were wrong,

both eqauling 4 on a differtent possible system

1 x 2 x 2

or

1 x 4

= 4

But spelling is rarely taught today, and NEVER tested for on a quantifiable system like the ones I've suggested above.

- Brandon

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