Dear Jennifer,

Good questions.  I very carefully said "I distinguish" because I was not
dealing in fact or a tradition of critical analysis.  So this is simply
my own perspective.  

There may be many kinds of pseudo-poetry, but I include mainly rhymed
platitudes--the sort of hallmark card or newspaper verse that says
obvious things with rhyming endings, often forced.  You may say this is
"verse," but many people think of it as poetry, and I do not think
Eliot's definitions any more use than any others'. I cannot imagine,
say, Emily Dickinson saying they "make the top of my head come off" or
Marianne Moore calling them "imaginary gardens with real toads" in them.
 So now that you have pushed me to be more precise, I think my point is
that "poetry" is more than simply a formal construct--even if it is
found poetry or even if it is extremely formally organized like, say,
"Epithalamion."  It think there does have to be a real toad, though that
won't be enough in itself.

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.

On the other hand, I do like Quasi-Johnson and Zephaniah, and I think it
is partly the fusion of the words and the music.  But Child ballads do
that.  So regardless of my liking or not liking, music does not either
make or preclude poetry.  And then there is Burns.

As for content, there is a great deal that is brutish and violent and
degrading and vulgar in Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dostoevski, the Bible.  I
don't think those categories preclude poetry either.  And opera at its
most passionate and glorious often is full of such things.  Tosca? 

>>> [log in to unmask] 09/21/05 3:36 PM >>>
Dear Nancy, 

Not to sound flippant, but I wonder on what criteria
you distinguish between what you call psuedo-poetry
and bad poetry; and what then is your distinction
between poetry on the one hand (as opposed to pseudo)
and good poetry on the other (as opposed to bad) based
on ? And is poetry | psuedo-poetry   |  good
poetry|bad poetry your only set of distinctions? 

Eliot distinguished between poetry, prose and verse;
sensibly tripartite, I think, and intelligently
seizing on a valid (but not necessarily easy to
enunciate or illustrate) distinction between poetry
and verse. On the other hand, he also wrote that the
worst poetry, to him, is that in which poet does not
know what he wants to say, and doesn't know that he
doesn't know what he wants to say (he said it better
than that). He elaborates on this in UPUC and in some
of the essays in OPP. 

As for rap, I did not read the linked article, so
these remarks are off the cuff, but much of what I
have heard (very little, thankfully) is brutish,
vulgar, degrading, simplistic, impoverished and
violent; in short, neither music nor poetry. 

I have yet to see anyone who can substantiate their
critical remarks about rap with quotation, elucidation
and comparison attempt to raise it to the level of

Yours, Jennifer 

--- Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I sympathize with your concern for quality, but I
> think one can have
> more than one category.  I distinguish between
> poetry and pseudo-poetry,
> and between good and bad poetry.  The Medieval
> ballads were also all
> music, as was much of the poetry in Greek plays.  I
> don't see why that
> is an exclusive category.
> But I agree that rap is not a new form of poetry.  I
> think it is a new
> kind of poetry in a long oral tradition.  Consider
> Linton Quasi Johnson
> or Benjamin Zephaniah.  This British style is also
> music as well as
> poetry.
> Nancy
> >>> [log in to unmask] 09/21/05 1:09 PM >>>
> I'm sorry I just don't see how rap can be classed as
> poetry.  it is MUSIC.  people have always listened
> to
> bad music.  it does not, to me at least, point to a
> new form of poetry, although I acknowledge that this
> is just my opinion.
> Beat poetry is an entirely different thing.
> Tabitha
> --- Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > 
> > > Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 16:42:08 -0400
> > From: Eric <[log in to unmask]>
> > Subject: Poetry at the End of Print Culture
> > 
> > Just got a copy of this. I think you'll find it
> > useful. Gioia has helped
> > a lot by providmg a lot of evidence and leads. The
> > writer does miss the
> > retrieval of recitativo secco in rap and hip-hop
> and
> > slam, but gets much
> > else. Down we go into the "foul rag and bone shop"
> > of the language. The
> > logos lives.
> > Enjoy.
> > Eric
> > 
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