Thursday, January 4, 2007

Week 1: What is Poetry?

Daniel Garrison states in his commentary on the meter of Catullus that "without sound, poetry ceases to exist". He says earlier that "poetry is rhythmic sound married to meaning", making it clear that poetry is this mysterious melding of words, and not just any words--but meaningful words--and rhythm.

Rhythm requires sound. So, what does this say to a culture where we largely do our reading in silence? Have we become a society without poetry? Do we live, now, in our modern age, without the beauty, power, mystery and magic of poetry? Has poetry ceased to exist in us? When do Americans hear, speak, and relish "rhythmic sound married to meaning?" And as for the Latin classroom, what are the implications for Latin students of any age, any place, where the language is never spoken or read aloud, where all that is done to it is translation into English? Has Latin poetry "ceased to exist"?

What say you?

Magister Patricius