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

45 comments:

Gretzky said...

As a culture we do our reading in silence, but music is a form of poetry. It requires rythm and sound. People do not sing silently to themslves. Modern poetry which consists of rhyming is mostly dieing out, but poetry as the achient peoples saw it, is still around in the form of music. Songs still influence people today, not as much as Greek and Latin poetry but, still influence people. War songs are exelent examples of music influencing people. Poetry as rythm and sound connected to meaning still exists inside of us in the form of music and song. The people of the world remeber songs. When latin is translated into english or read silently to ones self it looses the quality of being latin, and becomes Americanized latin, addapeted and changed to surve a purpose. When it is translated, we dont learn Latin as Latin, but as English. Latin poetry writing has ceased to exist in its true form.

Eureka! said...

I think that we have become a society where very few people enjoy poetry because we were taught to read in silence. I do not think that poetry has ceased to exist entirely, but it may in the near future.
I really love the way that Garrison describes poetry because it is so true. I mean think about a person that is reading a poem out loud and has to stop every few lines to sound out words or a person who reads the poem with no regard to punctuation. It is annoying and nerve wrecking. I think the reason for this is that when a poem is read in this way it becomes nothing but sound. It has lost the element of rhythm.
I think that the only time Americans experience "rhythmic sound married to meaning" is through music, but I don't think that all music qualifies as poetry because of the all important missing ingredient of meaning As for Americans speaking "rhythmic sound married to meaning", I don't think they do.
I do think that Latin poetry has ceased to exist not only because it is not read out loud, but also because when Latin is translated into English it is no longer Latin. Something is lost in the translation. If poetry is "rhythmic sound married to meaning" and translation changes the meaning and the sounds of the poem and perhaps alters the meaning of the poem ever so slightly, hasn't the poem been turned into nothing but mere words. Translation demolishes poetry.

Wolf Angel said...

Poetry does seem to have vanished from the modern world. If it weren’t for music, Americans probably would not hear and speak “rhythmic sound married to meaning,” as it seems to be the only form of poetry that exists in the current times. Since we have been taught from young ages that reading should be silent, our ability to read well out loud has faded. In poetry, if the words are not heard, some of the feelings they are meant to give are lost, which has happened with Latin poetry. Latin students that have never heard the language cannot fully appreciate it because it is a language that was meant to be spoken, and the words lose some of their power when they are kept silent. So, yes, Latin poetry has ceased to exist.

LOL said...

I do believe that we became a society without poetry. Generally I find that people don't have positive attitudes towards poetry. For example, whenever poetry is to be read in my language arts class, people express their dislike for poetry and how they have a hard time comprehending. I think people in our modern age have lost the capability to enjoy and realize the beauty, power, mystery, and magic of poetry. The main reason for that is in our culture, we largely do our reading in silence. As everyone said, Americans hear, speak, and relish "rhythmic sounds married to meaning" when listening to music. But sometimes, even music, the only source of poetry for Americans, fails to deliver truly meaningful words as Latin poetry does. As for the Latin classroom, I believe that students can never fully enjoy and learn Latin if the language is never spoken or read aloud. Translation does help in some ways, but speaking and reading aloud are crucial. I think Latin poetry has somewhat ceased to exist because in our modern age, it does not exist as it was originally meant to be. Latin poetry was meant to be read and spoken aloud, but now, that is not necessarily the case.

welchie said...

Poetry, I believe, has not ceased to exist in modern American culture. Most modern poetry does not possess the complicated meters and rhythms of the poems of Catullus, and therefore it does not have to be read out loud for the reader to get the full effect. Ancient poetry exists in the modern world in the form of song. The variety of rhythms and beats in song allows it to be the "sound married to meaning" that Garrison describes. Songs can also invoke beauty, power, mystery, amd magic into an audience. Even if a song is not in a language the listener understands, there's still something spectacular about hearing sound and rhythm combined. In a Latin class that does not speak Latin, Latin poetry has ceased to exist. On a larger scale, though, Latin poetry is very much alive in the modern world, both in song and in certain forms of modern poetry, and it is alive in certain classrooms where speaking and reading Latin aloud are encouraged.

XRoSeSrReD317X said...

Because rhythm requires sound, it shows that in our culture rhythm does not exist. I think we have become a society without poetry because poetry contains words and rhythm and we lack the rhythm that poetry needs. Poetry might have ceased to exist in us however we hear it in our music. There is a rhythm tied in with meaningful words that people can hear. Implications for Latin students who have not heard the language being spoken is at a loss because in order to really learn the language they need to hear it and speak it. In today's society Latin poetry has not necessarily ceased to exist because there are students out there who learn the poetry by listening and reading it. However, the students who just translate the story tend to not catch the real meaning of the poem because when it is translated, the rhythm of the poem is lost. In order to understand the poem, one must read it in its own language so that he/she can receive its meaning.

Bragi said...

For me as well as many others out there, the power of poetry has not ceased to exist at all. No matter how great the degree of technology, or whatever the form of poetry may be today, the magic and rhythmic sound of a poem echoes and resonates within the mind of the reader. The mystery and power of poetry are as evident today for a reader as they have ever been. For example, Sherman Alexie's "On the Amtrak from Boston to New York City" written in 1993 conveys a sense of emotion and power when read not only aloud if one so chooses, but read in silence. The poet is a Native American, and he uses his sentiments to paint a picture of his view of the world.

Poetry in its oral form does convey a greater experience, but the reading of poetry is not a commonplace event in America today. While media is dominated by music of varying forms and types, movies, television programs, and magazines, poetry still has its place, although it is highly relegated to the classroom. In times past when legends and tales were conveyed orally in stories such as the Kalevala and Illiad, oral poetry had its secure place, and yet also in the ancient world, plays, songs, and books also were present in some cultures. Oral poetry has always had competition, yet exists still today.

Latin poetry, or any other poetry outside the language of the reader whose language differs from the language of the poem, will always lose some of the magical aspect that characterizes the congress of words in the poem. To say that the poem ceases to exist does not capture what happens in translation of a poem from Latin to English, but what does happen is that the meaning and soul of the poem is changed, for it is impossible for a modern reader to grasp every idiosyncratic aspect of each word that a poet chose two-thousand years ago. Alternately, if the poem is read and understood in Latin, aloud or silently, the meaning which the poet intented might be approached more closely than a literal translation would convey.

Frank said...

I think the fact that our society reads mainly in silence has made it harder for people to understand and enjoy poetry, but I don't think that our culture can be said to be a society without poetry. Poetry is still composed and read aloud, just not as much as it used to be. I think music can be said to relish "rhythmic sound married to meaning" because music has a rhythm and a beat and all lyrics to a song have a meaning.
The beauty of poetry can be lost when it is read silently, and Latin poetry can "cease to exist" since Latin is a language meant to be spoken aloud. But I don't think that it has ceased to exist, at least not yet, since there are still students out there who learn by reading Latin aloud.

Jeep said...

Rhythm does not necessarily have to have sound. When I go on long roadtrips, I often look out at the beautiful scenery, creating a poetic scheme of words in my head. That poetic form of absorbing what I see outside comes with its own rhythm in my head--a rhythm created without sound, because the sound is all in my mind.
However, in this modern-day culture of reading silently in class, I do believe that we are gradually taking away the beauty of the written poetry. Not everyone has the time to create a rhythm or a sound in his head and therefore, students, to a certain point, require that the poems be read outloud in order to really connect to the lyrics of the poem.
Although our modern-day classrooms tend to require students to do much of their reading, quietly, there is no concrete connection between the methods teachers use today to limit outloud reading and the "extinction" of poetry. Because during the ancient times, only the (Roman)scholars, well-educated and well-dedicated, were able to write, read and comprehend such poetry--is that not the same with us today? I believe that today, the percentage of our population who are true poets is the same as it was back then because only the extremely dedicated, gifted individuals can create and understand (Latin)poems to such a level. Therefore, (Latin) poetry has yet to cease in existence.
We still live in a world of beauty, power, mystery and magic, it has just become more difficult to see those qualities of poetry. If someone truly sees that poetry is just as alive as it was before, then he would argue that "poetry is rhythmic sound that complements, but does not necessitate, meaning."

hahaha psyche said...

I think that Latin poetry has ceased to exist in some ways. It is true that most of society reads poetry in silence to one's self, but not everyone does.
A lot of my friends are into something called "slam poetry". This is simply the recitation of poetry in the voice or emotion the writer originally intended. Sometimes music is added in order to enhance the quality of the poem. In Garrison's quote he talks about poetry without sound, and how this is not entirely possible, and if it is, the quality of the poem is seriously deminished. I think that by reading aloud, and even adding sound and music to poetry it can be seriously improved.

Minerva said...

Has poetry disappeared from the American consciousness? Not entirely. But it has certainly changed. I think that the most accurate equivalent to Roman poetry in modern American society is probably our music (at least some of it anyway - that containing true artistry and intelligent thought). We have likely separated two things which the Romans most often took as one. Our songs frequently have lyrics, which if well composed serves as poetry with the added dimension of music, yet that which we call poetry is seen as something different, dryer and less relevant to the general populace. Most Americans simply derive more pleasure from listening to a favorite song than sitting down to decipher poetry from a page. This is understandable, because the written poetry has largely lost its performance aspect, that which entertains and involves us in the world the author has created for his audience.
We are not necessarily a society of dead poetry, just ignorant of how it is meant to be experienced. We are like a younger generation that can't appreciate or understand the foundations upon which our lives are built. Our elders created the foundation, and in return we have lost their wisdom and history in our making.
When the original language and poetry is skewed through translation and the death of the oral tradition, the origins of this art begin to fade and the hope of revitalization dims. The words of Catullus may still exist, but they will have been fossilized into an ancient relic of poetry's true meaning.

jro said...

We ,as a society, have somehow forgotten that words were meant as a form of communication between people, not to oneself. While I have no problem reading in silence, the original intent of words expressed in poetry was to communicate an expressed meaning that could not be found in silence. Silence, by definition, is a lack of sound and poetry is one of the few forms of literature that must be read aloud to comprehend its full meaning. So, obviously, poetry is not poetry in its entirety unles read aloud and while it is still words on paper that convey a meaning, that meaning does not reach its full original potential unles read aloud. I would not completely agree with Daniel Garrison in his opinion that "without sound, poetry ceases to exist" because the words still have meaning, nothing can change that, but they do not carry their full meaning and their weight as a whole is severely diminished. I do believe that Latin poetry has taken a dramatic blow due to its classification as a "dead language" and probably will not recover to its height during the Roman Republic and Empire ,but as long as people still study, comment, and read it in Latin, I believe that it will continue to survive for many years. Although, translation from Latin into English is definately hampering the language as a whole, and unless Latin poetry is taken as Latin poetry, not as an English translation of Latin poetry, then poetry in the Latin language will eventually cease as a genre of literature.

tram192 said...

Poetry as Garrison says it is for the most part is almost gone, but there are people out there who still read poetry out loud. True without sound poetry ceased to exsit, but what do you call music? Music is a form of poetry which is sung. So poetry in our modern age still exist according to Daniel Garrison. As for the latin classrooms, when poetry is not read in latin but is translated, some of the meaning is lost. Many students today have learned to translate latin into english, so I believe that latin poerty has ceased to exist. Latin poetry was written to be read out loud in it's natural form, so that listeners can experience the mood of the poem. When it is read in silence the strong emotion is lost.

awavehello said...

As a culture, we have lost the power to express. We haven't lost poetry, because many people can ready poetry in silence, and it retaines full meaning. It's when we try to read aloud that we lose the meaning. We've lost the ability to express much of the meaning of poetry. As a society, we still have the beauty and power of poetry, we just no longer seem to find the beauty in it. But the poetry is in all of us. Sometimes it's just a discription of the things we see around us. Latin is far easier and much more meaningful when read aloud. It connects visibly and audibly when you hear a passage read out loud rather than just looking at it on a page. And largly, Latin is no long appriciated. It's never read in Latin, always translated into English.

ARP Rocker said...

I see what Daniel means when we are asked to "popcorn" read in Language Arts class. No one knows where to pause and emphasize in sentences. I think that maybe through our own insecurities of the past generations, we just started reading to ourselves. Maybe it was to be polite. Also, if we were able to get a large enough following to start reading outloud, would it catch on? I don't think it would just because it is inpolite to be loud, which is what would happen if everyone was reading their own books outloud. I think we still have poetry, and there are still many instances where poetry is read aloud. Look at the many coffee houses, and poetry nights. I think poetry is still nesecessary for America and the world to get out many feelings, ones that can't just be expressed in a conversation. As for the Latin classroom, it would make sense to read outloud, since that is how they did it. And again, i dont think that poetry has even come close to inexistence.

Kirro said...

It is hard to imagine what Roman poetry would be without sound. Without rhythm, Catullus' poems are just words on a page. These words then hold no more magic than a conversation held between two people on a street. The poetry dies without sound, and there is no longer any point in reading it.
Poetry as the Romans knew it is dead or dying. Poetry is no longer written to be read aloud, and it is hardly ever written with meter. But although the form has changed, the essence is the same. Poetry is still the instrument of choice for conveying emotion, beauty, and magic. Poetry as a whole has not died, only changed.
Unfortunately, the result of all of this change is that Latin students who do not read the poetry aloud can never fully appreciate Latin poetry. Trying to read Latin poetry silently is like trying to appreciate a picture without color. You can try it, but you'll never fully understand the artist's intentions. Indeed, Latin poetry died long ago. But one can bring it back to life by reading it as it was meant to be read.

latin blogger said...

As a whole, we really don't know how to correctly read poetry aloud incorporating rhythm. People are just accustomed to reading silently. Even when hearing yourself while reading poetry, you don't incorporate the rhythm of the peom. Without this, the "magic" of peotry is lost.The full impact and the importance of poem is nonexistent. The writers had a rythym in mind and every stress and sound is important. I think that some music does match meaning and sound, but there are definiely songs that don't correctly incorporate the right sound to the words. Latin, like any other language, just cannot be taught with full meaning and importance without being spoken or read aloud. With pure translation, the impact of the words is lost. My family speaks another language and there are just some words and phrases that cannot be translated. Sure you can have the grammar and mechanics right, but the true meaning is gone. Latin poetry has not completely ceased to exist because I'm sure there are many people who know how to read it correctly.

shocka said...

Even though our modern practices of reading texts silently has hindered the magic of poetry, I do not believe that poetry has ceased to exist entirely. Our society has become naive to the way poetry was meant to be performed, but the words on a page still convey some or part of the meaning the author intended. The rhythm and sound just augment the beauty, power, mystery, and magic of the arranged text.
Lyrics accomplish and take the place of the Roman poets place in society. Their poetry was used as a form of entertainment, as music is today. I don't think we have lost the element, just altered the execution.
As for the Latin classroom today, the Roman author's intention was for their poetry to be performed outloud with specific meters. When students are exclusively taught to purely translate English to Latin, of course the true meaning the author contracted is lost somewhere in the process. But, for students who still learn the entirety of Latin poetry along with the desired rhythm, they are left with a surplus of knowledge compared to the students who expend their time in translation.

82 said...

I think the best way to read poetry would be outloud. Rhythmic sound and styles of poetry can be easily lost when read silently. However, just because our society does do a large amount of our reading in silence, does not mean we have become a society without poetry. Every year in my Language Arts classes we have usually read stories silently, but when it comes to poetry we always read outloud. This is probably so that we can hear the "rythmic sound married to meaning". Americans also hear this when listening to music. As for the Latin classroom, when latin is just simply translated into english it loses its meaning. In those situations Latin poetry has been lost as well. However, since there are people who continue to speak Latin poetry outloud, it still exists.

Vance224 said...

i seem to agree with several others in thinking that although poetry is no longer commonly read aloud, it hasn't ceased to exist in our society, rather it has become integrated with music.

Dr. Gregory House said...

First of all, I think making the assumption that reading to oneself is the same thing as reading in silence is completely off base. Just because the words aren't spoken aloud does not mean that the reader can't hear them. The rhythm and flow of the piece is still beating away in the reader's mind. This absence of external sound says nothing about our culture except the fact that we find the rhythm of the poem on our own.
Poetry is far from absent in our culture. Although formal written poetry in the form of haikus and sonnets is not very predominant in society, poetry thrives in the form of music. We even discussed in class how when carmina were performed on the streets they may have been very similar to what we consider music. Think about it, music is rhythmic sound married to meaning so poetry and music are basically two similar outlets to express the same themes.
Latin poetry definitely still exists. I mean, we are studying it, aren't we? But in all seriousness, Latin poetry may not be the most popular form of reading material these days. I haven't seen any in the latest Cosmopolitan or Sports Illustrated. But the poems by Ovid and other great epic writers have gone on to inspire the artists of the Renaissance and writers such as John Milton who wrote the epic poem "Paradise Lost." (Which by the way he did when he was completely deaf, so obviously he was able to still meaningfully meld his words even though he couldn't hear them aloud.) Just because we don't often see the works of Catullus on our shelves, doesn't mean it hasn't impacted great artisans. Latin Poetry continues and will continue to exist in its true form and in the form of all that it has inspired. As for the students who are never asked to speak Latin poetry aloud. I think they lose a good deal of the meaning and rhythm of the poems simply because they don't know how to "marry the sound to the meaning." For them, the poetry has ceased to exist. It isn't poetry. It is simply another set of lines to translate. And while the words may be nice, and the message lovely, English does not carry the same rhythm as the original Latin. Therefore it does not carry the same meaning. As long as you have heard the words in the original context and how they're supposed to flow, reading them to yourself should make no difference. It's only when you have no clue how to find the rhythm of the poem that the poem loses its integrity.

Ian said...

I don't know about everyone else, but I speak in my head. When I think, I hear my voice speaking my thoughts. So, for me, poetry is all around me, as there is never silence. As to the future of poetry in our society, it depends on the desire of the society to feel. That is the point of poetry- to evoke emotion from the reader. In a deadened society like ours, who can tell how to best make the populace feel? many succeed where we would not have thought.
We have fallen into the trap of thinking of poetry only as something written by old dead men when clearly poetry is all around us, in speech, in song, and in thought. George Sand said "He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life." This makes poets of us all for surely we have all enjoyed poetry in some form or another.
This teaching style does more damage than it ever could do good. In classrooms where Latin is taught in this manner, cut and dry, dead and gone, simply to help with the SAT, it loses its power and its anima. Sure, these students can chant their declension endings and conjugations but they are meaningless, and the language is turned into something lifeless. Latin needs to have a beating heart and be taught as any other living language. Latin poetry cannot disappear- it has been read, understood, and felt- but it can lose its meaning to its readers if it is taught as a dead language.

chmathew said...

I believe that rhythm doesn’t exist in our culture because after we are able to read fluently, we are often discouraged from reading aloud. Because we don’t have rhythm that poetry requires, I believe that in our society poetry has ceased to exist. However, in music we quite often hear the rhyme and deep words that we see in poetry. Latin students who do not hear Latin being spoken are at a deep loss because without hearing the language, they really don’t know Latin; they only know to memorize words. Latin poetry has not ceased to exist because there are still many people who study Latin and speak it verbally to get a deeper meaning when reading Latin poems.

I can't beleive magister is a Florida Gator!!! said...

I reluctantly disagree with Daniel Garrison who is making a very broad generalization of poetry, and that it can not exists without sound. I believe that poetry is written for people to vent their feelings good or bad for themselves or possibly for another person. Poetry is a vent for oneself and, I do not believe most people write poetry to become famous. Thus, people do not have to follow a set standard of beat and contain a rhythmic sound. Poetry can be enjoyed silently, and poetry can show further insight into what is in a person’s heart and mind.
However, just like in Catullus’ day we have poetry that is said aloud it has just taken on a new form, song. Starting at infancy we are sung lullabies and old folk songs. Later in life we are still immersed in poetry. We can hear other people’s poetry always waiting to be heard on the radio with many listeners singing along to all types of genres of music.
We have two wide-ranging varieties of poetry. We have poetry that can be written and read quietly, or poetry that can have a complex beat and rhythm that is meant to be sung. Both these varieties go back to what poetry is all about self-expressions. That is why I disagree with Daniel Garrison’s generalization of poetry.
In response to the final question that says that: In a Latin classroom where students have never read Latin poetry aloud is poetry dead? Catullus’ poetry was written in the way it was popular, with a rhythm that can symbolize pounding, chanting, or water flowing. Not reading this aloud or reading it with respect to the rhythm the students lose a lot of what the writer was trying to express. The students can only get the literal meaning which may convey only some self-expression. Therefore, I would have to say in a classroom that does not speak in Latin or read poetry aloud, Latin is half-dead.

cullenforhire said...

Garrison's definition of poetry is not all-encompassing, and therefore cannot be grounds for saying that poetry has ceased to exist in American culture. While some poems' rhythm and sound help to bring out the meaning, it is not necessary in all cases. However, Catullus uses very precise rhythmic structures, and molds the language to convey his thoughts is such a way that the beat of the words creates a feeling that cannot be replicated in a silent reading. So while it may not be necessary for certain American poetry to be read aloud, the Latin is, and thus students who learn in an atmosphere solely based on translation, and not understanding, will assuredly not "get" Catullus's true mastery of the language. So in response to the last question: Latin poetry ceases to exist when the first and only action taken towards it is translation for understanding, because in the case of Catullus, the meaning is in the rhythm. yup.

gabaseballer7 said...

Latin poetry has ceased to exist in modern day culture. We have read in total silence from a young age, giving us the mindset that this is how reading should be done. Yes, we do read some poetry outloud, but we do not take into consideration the words and feelings that are actually being portrayed in the poem. The way our society expresses rythm is by music. Everything from classical to get crunk music has rythm. I don't know if you could actually call our music poetry, but it is a vital part to every American's life. Latin poetry has not been practiced the right way and defeats the purpose of reading it. So really, Latin poetry doesnt exist anymore. By the way..why is it so serious in this blog? Loosen up people! Im out..peace brotha!

unbuma said...

In our classrooms today, we read silently most of the time when reading poetry. But "without sound, poetry ceases to exist," so I think classes should start reading outloud more. There are some classes who do read aloud, but in a monotone voice, and I do not consider that do be poetry because you have to have a rhythm and sound.
But I do believe we still have poetry in our society. Our music is "rhythmic sound married to meaning." Many songs may be just words to the listeners, but a lot of them have a deeper meaning to the writer. So I believe music is a form of poetry.

Orz said...

Although teachers encourage young students to read aloud to practice their pronunciation, students, as they get older, have the tendency to read silently. This occurs because students begin to understand poetry without making a physical sound. They can hear the sound and comprehend the meaning mentally.
As for the students who learn Latin without speaking in Latin, they are missing the beauty of rhythms in Latin poem which flows from human tongue. They may understand if the poem was written on a piece of paper, but if it is spoken aloud, they have no chance of understanding it because they're not accustomed to hearing it. For example, when Magister taught our class for first time, he introduced himself in Latin. We could not understand him because we weren't accustomed to hearing it. Writing conjugations doesn't help until you physically pronounce each word.
As for the Latin poetry, it has not ceased to exist because there are scholars who study them in pure Latin.

baseball0808 said...

Latin poetry has absolutely ceased to exist in modern day culture. If it is a fact that everything back in the "hey-day" of Rome was read out loud and many thing are read silently today, then Latin poetry is most definitely non-existent. Personally I have never seen the point in reading things out loud anyways. If people really wanted to hear pieces of literature, they would read it themselves! However, our society today gets rhythm from music. To me, music is the soul's right to breathe. Music is where some people can lose themselves and find themselves at the same time. Think about it. Our rhythm today comes from music. So in essence, modern poetry is alive in the form of music.

whereisyourboytonight said...

Poetry has not ceased to exist in America by any means. Although we have become a nation that reads in silence, which, in my opinion, is necessary because it would become obnoxious if every person read out loud during literature class, we have other outlets through which sound is married to meaning. Flip on the radio to any FM station and wait for any song to come on. Whether it is a pop song by NSYNC or rap like “Walk it Out,” an oldie or the latest song atop the Billboard charts, there is no doubt that, by Garrison’s definition, it is poetry. Songs are clearly rhythmic sound, and all songs have meaning to someone, even if it is only to the writer of the song.

Traditional poetry has also not lost its place in American society. Shakespeare and Milton are numbered among the greatest authors of modern English and are read by students across the nation. Both authors wrote in iambic pentameter, which is an evident example or rhythm. Other various poets and poems are examined daily. These might be read aloud by the teacher to aid in understanding, but regardless of how the poem is read, it can still be considered poetry. The words on the page do not change just because they are heard.

In addition, the definition and forms of poetry have changed drastically in the past few millennia. Poetry no longer requires a rigid form that follows strict rules. Poets often experiment with new forms, playing with rules of capitalization, punctuation, and rhythm. Many poets now write in a form that, to most people, has little or no rhythm; many poems could in fact be turned into prose with little difficulty. However, these are still considered poems, despite their lack of rhythm. Many of the poems by e e cummings lack traditional rhythm, yet very few would dare argue that they are not poems.

Latin poetry has also not ceased to exist. As far as I am concerned, as long as there is one person, any person, who studies and understands the poetry, then it cannot cease to exist. And, although Latin was perhaps not intended to be studied silently, it is still important that Latin is studied. When people learn about a subject, it may still hold some traditional meaning for someone, even if it is just one individual. Because of this, Latin poetry as well as prose may continue to be appreciated and enjoyed in new ways.

Pinky said...

Every society is different and thus their language and there uses for it will be different. Reading in silence may not be widely used by the ancient Romans or Greeks but it dose not mean that we shouldn’t reading in silence. I do believe that we are currently in a period were poetry is no longer as popular as before but it is still present in our society. However, it is not because of how we read as to the content of poetry. I am reminded of a quote from the English poet Adrian Mitchell who said, “Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.” We are currently living in a fast paced world were everything in globally connected thus we (our society) demand things that are fast and efficient and reading in silence do fall into this demand of ours. Now because our society is a fast moving one, most of us no longer have the time to enjoy some of the newer literary works that are present today. The literary works that we do know are those of the past and we have little interest in those poems because their subject’s dose not reflects our current life style, which links to that quote from Adrian Mitchell. What I am saying is that poetry is still present but most of us simply dose not see it because we don’t have the time to find it and thus creating a concept that poetry (in general) no longer express the feelings of our society because the poetry we know are that of the past.

Now back to the questions, when do Americans hear, speak, and relish "rhythmic sound married to meaning?" I would say that Americans hear, speak, and relish "rhythmic sound married to meaning" everyday because it is present in today’s Rap music. Most Rap music contains heavy beets and low melodies married with lyrics related to gain-warfare or life. I would say it’s a perfect match because in music heavy beets and low melodies are used to express anger, war, and inner conflicts (conflict of the mind).

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"? We as Latin students and as students of any foreign language are not only obligated in studying our language (vocab. and grammar) but also the society that uses it. Thus, we are obligated to read and use it in the same manner as those in that society. Now because we were not raised in that language in the beginning thus luring to relate it to something that we know is most important and from there we can move into our final objective, which is using that in the same way as the society that uses it. Latin poetry will not "ceased to exist" as long as there are Latin Scholars and Latin Students present in our society.

srivatsanenator said...

I do agree with Garrison that with our culture becoming a culture that reads in our heads and there is a loss of rhythm. I also agree with many others in the blog that the rhythm also exists in today's music. But I think there might be another reason that there is a loss of rhythm is due to modern poetry. Here is an example

The Red Wheelbarrow


so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

"The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams is a perfect example of the poems of today. Quite frankly i do not see anything in a poem like this and I definitely do not feel a sense of rhythm.

As for the death of Latin poetry I think that certain people such as Mr.Patrick have a large hand in keeping an ancient language like this alive. Reading out-loud everyday in the classroom will definitely make sure that the Latin poem will not die.

~Sg~ said...

I disagree with what HE said. Basically beacuse poetry can be read silently and still interpreted in the same way. I think it really depends on the person and how they want to understand what they read. Therefore, with that avowal, I dont think that poetry has vanished from the modern world. People still enjoy it and interpret it emotionally and some just for the fun of it. I believe poetry deals with spirit and feeling that many people in which the modern world have acknowledged. Poetry influences many people's lives and still exists today in the modern world, even if most of it is read in silence.

Youknowdis said...

Well, I don't think poetry as a whole has disapeared from our society. Yes, reading silently takes away the purpose of hearing the rythm, but I think for most people when they read to themselves they read it to themselves, where its possible to hear the beats and rythm. I do agree that rythm requires sound and can't exist without it but sounds don't always need to be heard by everyone but as long as you can hear it within yourself. But, latin poetry I think has decreased because in the classroom students are just trying to immediatly translate it into English and not the original language we are trying to study. American rythm is very different from the classic latin and when its turned into American the beats are completly different. But, I think it still exist otherwise I dont think we would be doing work in class, I mean I am working on it. I also think that the poetry that most Americans are growing up with is music, but not so much as the rythmic words poetry used to be.

inthecake said...

Reading in silence does not imply the absence of poetry. Reading silently instead of aloud has become traditional in the world today. In literature class, students are told to read stories to themselves instead of aloud. While sitting at home reading a book, most people do not sit there reading aloud but instead quietly to themselves. While on a plane or a bus, it is viewed as impolite to sit there reading aloud. If everyone starting reading aloud, the noise would be obnoxious. In this sense, reading to yourself does not mean that the rhythmic sound of what you are reading has disappeared. Most people are hearing themselves speak when they read to themselves, and they can still hear the sound of rhythm. Therefore I do not agree with Garrison when he says you must have sound to have poetry. Our society still contains poetry today, but it is not in the same form as it was once upon a time. Modern age poetry still has the same beauty, power, mystery and magic of ancient poetry. Americans hear, speak, and relish "rhythmic sound married to meaning" when they are listening to music. Whether it is the latest rock song or a classical piece, every song has a meaning. Every song has some type of rhythm as well, so this rhythmic sound is used to portray the meaning. Poetry may not be read aloud anymore, but that does not mean it has ceased to exist within us as a society. Reading to yourself still requires you to hear the writing, therefore you still have sound.
As for in the Latin classroom, when all the students do is translate without reading, they do not know how the poetry is supposed to sound. This does not mean they have to sit there and read it aloud to understand the rhythm and meaning. By reading to yourself, one can still achieve the same as reading it aloud. For that reason, even though poetry may not be read aloud anymore, it has far from ceased to exist in society today.

In_other_words said...

If you think about it, poety has never come naturally to the world as a whole. There are simply people who cannot see poetry as something more than a bunch of words forming nonsense. Poetry is somewhat like a new language. One cannot view poetry with a blank face or mind, but with incredible curiousity and flexibility to all ideas. Society today does not welcome poetry. Poetry appears either unconventional or ancient to all students. Yes, there are a number of people who can read and fully understand poetry, but those same people for the most part would never dare share their ideas or read out loud. Even if a person can read poetry silently and recognize its beauty, that same person will end up reading it out loud in a monotone with no emphasis on words or expressions. We study in Language Arts the different time periods and the styles that are found in each literature movement. We never dare consider that ancient poetry set up the building blocks and is in fact, another time period for writing. Latin poets were not bound by society to write in meter or have a rhyme scheme. This lack of boundary set the feel for the true freedom of expression. If society encouraged people to express themselves and to not be afraid of seeing beauty beyond the words, then perhaps poetry would be thought of more fondly.

hannah-is-cool said...

What is "rhythmic sound married to meaning"? I don't know about everyone else, but that's what I call music. Sure, maybe as a society we have lost the Latin tradition of rehearsing and memorizing stanza after stanza. Maybe as a whole we have lost respect for Latin meter and rhyme, but was that really the only goal coming from the brillance of Latin literature? Of course not. Poets of the time, such as Catullus, were simply telling a story. Poems simply re-lived life through literature for the Romans, exactly as our music does for us today. Of course the Romans weren't any Beyonce or Mariah, but in essence they were singing using words and rhyme (just as modern entertainers are in essence recounting lines of poetry). Personally, I don't believe Latin tradition has been deminshed in the least. But America, as a society, has taken this tradition and molded it into something that is widely appreciated by nearly everyone in some form. What is out culture known for? Being unique and diverse. We have formed our own government, changed our entertainment, molded of education system, etc. Just because we approach poetry very differently, it does not suggest that it no longer thrives. Music and poetry are interlinked arts that have survived, and will continue to survive, throughout the ages.

said...

In this day and age, i do think that poetry hardly exists. In schools we are taught to read in silence and even when we are at home by ourselves we read silently. Poetry does still exist but not by much. When spoken, poetry expresses feelings like being sad, happy, excited, scard, or mad and one can only express the true feelings of a poem by saying it outloud. As for latin poetry, i do believe that it has ceased to exist becuase i had never heard of it until now. But i think by learning in this class how to speak the poetry of Catullus we can bring back the beauty of latin poetry not by translating it but by just reading it just like we read american poetry today when we do read it outloud. Daniel Garrison was right when he said that "without sound, poetry ceases to exist," because when these poets wrote their poetry they wanted people to speak it with feeling and exaggeration not silently. Poems have so much meaning in them and by speaking them outloud we can bring that meaning to life.

TiPViking said...

Sorta depends how you're talking about poetry disappearing. In terms of extinction, definitely not. There are still plenty of people who do love poetry, and I don't believe that such a core group will ever really fade. They will keep alive the true meaning of poetry, just as many "objectionable" writings were kept alive by some monks in the Middle Ages. It is quite definitely true that poetry is becoming less and less mainstream, however. The number of people outside the core poetry fanatics who appreciate poetry and the skills required for the proper production/presentation of potery are decreasing. They find their creative outlets in other areas. For example, as Gretzky said, music is extremely prominent in modern culture. Much of the music is regurgitated stercum, but that's true of all areas of art. There remain many musicians of all kinds who produce "rhythmic sound" that carries true meaning, that can touch the very soul. I don't believe that the power and mystery of poetry is dying out; the public attention is focused on finding that essence in other areas, but the core vitality that makes poetry so powerful remains alive.

Of course, discussing Latin poetry specifically brings up a major issue. The modern world, America most especially, has become obsessed with convenience. We always want to find the easiest, most comfortable way out; the problem with that is that we miss much of the rewards given from the true work. Translating the Latin poetry removes the real rhythm, it destroys the power of the actual composition. Another major damage that translation causes is word choice. The best poets in the English language are recognized as such because they choose precisely the right words to evoke precisely the right feeling in precisely the right way. When you remove the words from their language, you take away all the implications those words hold. As Latin students, we aren't taught connotations as much as pure simple translation, so we miss the beauty of the word choice anyways. However, it's still not easy to dismiss the destruction of the perfection of the message that the Latin authors might be composing.

Will Ravon said...

I think Latin poetry exists in a different form. Rap uses rhythm, meter, and sound. Although most wouldn't think of rap as Latin poetry, but you could change the topic of the rap into a Latin topic and then it would be Latin poetry, but with a kick and gangsters. However, rap doesn't have quite as many honorable quotes or euphorisms as Latin poetry does, but it does have more gangsters, African-Americans, and sick-nasty beats.

p4cHippie said...

Garrison seems to be encompassing traditional poetry when he makes his statements about the ability of poetry. Traditional poetry is characterized by this so called "marriage" and is written to be read out loud; performed for a society that was prodominately illiterate and without instant entertainment such as movies and television. "Modern" poetry has strayed from this structure and is more open for interpertation from the reader.
I'm crazy. I hear myself speak in my head. I have the ability to read poetry outloud in my head. I have a gift to perform the art of poetry in silence. If I were not crazy, I would miss out on these beutiful texts.
Our ADD society follows suite with modern poetry and entertainment, missing the intended purpose of poetry.
As for the problems the current Latin program faces, students abroad miss out on the intended purpose of the language. It is forced to convert latin into english, understand the concepts, and then regurgitate it in latin. Different languages have different ideas associated with word choice; ideas that are affected by society, events, and the times. By learning the language with the language (reading outload and speaking latin), students retain a the concepts and text in the way that those who use latin as a vernacular.
The program and society both have a long way to go in order to stay on the path towards creativity, and individual thinking.

5ABIblood said...

In my opinion, we have been taught at a young age to read silently. In doing this, poetry if it hasn’t already will cease to exist. I say this because poetry requires rhythm and sound which can’t be accomplished if one reads silently. In Latin poetry, if one does not read out loud the feelings expression in the poem will be post. The only form of “rhythmic sound married to meaning” in today’s society would have to be in the form of music. There is a rhythm and beat which is connected to words to form music. When we listen to music we always catch ourselves singing out loud with the lyrics of the song. In doing this, we understand and appreciate the song more, and if we did the same thing with poems the outcome would be the same if not better.

jimi said...

Garrison says w/o sound poetry ceases to exist. Smart guy. And I agree with this.. true as a society and developing culture we seem very different from say the ancient Romans in that we treat Literature as education and leisure where as they do the same but also as a form of art. Music is a good contradictory example of our cultures view of poetry. So i believe Americans live in an environment surrounded by poetry a, modern art form, if you will. Not limited to any particular genre and not only lets people feel emotion but also experience rhythm. People sing to themselves in the shower. In front of the mirror. in the car ..And pretty much anywhere so it is safe to say we live it.. And it is definitely within us as a form of art. I feel it is a mistake to deny students the right to hear a language Latin included. Its a part of learning you should use all your senses when exploring something new. Especially a language. Latin poetry I’m sure is on the decline in classrooms but i wouldn’t say it ceases to exist. we are learning rhythm in class and trying to rewrite the ways of educating Latin students each and every day.

Postransky said...

In our modern age, we have adapted poetry to fit our lifestyle. While little is spoken out loud, it still exists at an individual level. And as long as we still read poetry, it exists in us. Latin poetry is the same. It may have more effect if it is read out loud, but as long as it is being read in one form or another, it continues to exist.

M. said...

You can listen to Latin poetry read aloud here:
http://latinum.mypodcast.com

This website is devoted to putting as much spoken and recited Latin online as possible, so that students learning latin can download the files to their MP3 players, and surround themselves with spoken Latin. Not as good as a trip to Ancient Rome, but the next best thing.

If you want to contribute to the site, please email the site owner - evanmillner and that is at gmail.com