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Nancy wrote:

> As for rap, I frankly cannot stand it, and I cannot offer an example of
> it that IS in my "poetry" category, but I do not think the form in
> itself precludes poetry.  One could see it as a contemporary extension
> of ballads or oral formulaic recitations.

I'm quite glad to see people generally avoiding the "rap is awful and
cannot be considered poetry" stance.  There is no doubt that there is a
lot that is awful in rap/hip-hop, but as soon as we call the likes of
Dylan, or Cohen, poets--such people who write words which are set to
music--then we cannot fairly dismiss all "rap" as unpoetic.  If we do
so, what we're saying is that there is something intrinsic in rap music
that means it cannot be considered poetry. 

I imagine that most people who do rail against rap music have heard very 
little of it, and very little that is good; but for those people to say 
"rap music is terrible and cannot be considered poetry" is akin to 
saying that poetry is all terrible, on the strength of having read a 
selection of high school poetry. (As an aside: 
http://scribble.com/dghq/gothlyric/ is a lot of fun, for kicks.)

I'm not a big hip hop fan either, generally; I'm not a big fan of the 
music, and most of the words I've heard haven't been all that brilliant.  
But if you do get the chance to see a certain Sage Francis perform, I 
highly recommend it; or if you would like to experience a peculiarly 
compelling slice of the utterly mundane, try 'The Streets' (who will 
very quickly challenge your perceptions of what "rap" is).  

Strip it of the music and of the scary black people, and which is the 
more poetic?:

"I played connect the dots with your beauty marks
And I ended up with picture perfect sheet music
I read your musical notes with a composer's eyes
And heard our song for the first time.
My spine is still tingling, mental images of your fine tune
is what I've been nodding my head to lately
Every now and then you can catch me humming
your nudity under my heavy breath"

..

"Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'"

- heck, at the end of the day most lyrics don't make for very good 
poems.  But to suggest that the line can be drawn by something so neat 
as a genre just seems a little silly.

--George