I think this is a fascinating insight. Rap may or may not be good
poetry, but it is clearly in the line of black oral performance poetry.
And that has links to many other oral kinds of poetry. If you listen
to Patience Agbabe or Liz Lochhead (I study Black British poets
and Scottish poets) you would see the parallels.
I tend to distinguish between good and bad poetry on the one hand
and real poetry and pseudo poetry on the other. And the real
poetry may not be good. I think at least some Rap is real poetry. I
am not sure how I would write a clear definition because I never
have, but this calls on one.
I think parts of Sweeney Agonistes also would fit in the comparison
you make, especially the ending chant.
On 2 Apr 2003, at 17:50, [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I wonder if those closer than I am to the academic side of poetry have any view regarding the degree to which Rap is considered "poetry", and studied as such.
> I'm not a rap fan myself (though I thought "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash was very good about 20 years ago), but it is plainly, apart from nursery rhymes, the major way poetry is presented to today's youth. Has academia taken account of this? And, to veer on topic, what do Eliot's
writings, as poet and critic, suggest his reaction to it might have been?
> As critic, I think his comments on Kipling and the verse/poetry distinction suggest he would at least have made distinctions between the better and the lesser rap, and not condemned the genre. Naturally, that's conjecture. But here's a bit of rhyme that would work pretty well as rap, which it
happens someone recently commented on as uncharacteristic of Eliot:
> Where shall the word be found, where will the word
> Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
> Not on the sea or on the islands, not
> On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
> For those who walk in darkness
> Both in the day time and in the night time
> The right time and the right place are not here
> No place of grace for those who avoid the face
> No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice
> I can just see Eminem up there swaying his arms to that. (There's reason to be sorry for choosin
g him as an example, but he's the only current rapper I can actually name.)
> Any thoughts, or other bits of Possum Rap to propose?
> Tom K