Monday, July 20, 2009

Around & about word-order & rhyme

Sample of current exchange on word-order & rhyme with Bob Graham & the Roses (Norman & Sierra) in Santa Rosa:

--- On Sun, 7/19/09, Norman Rose

From: Norman Rose
Subject: language sequence
To: "Sierra Rose"
Date: Sunday, July 19, 2009, 7:42 PM

Rhyme's not artificial,
And any spoon or even dish'll
Tell you so before they jump the big bright moon.

But Subjects, Verbs, and Objects
Can't always follow who's next

Because the moon won't jump a dish


(With apologies to the cow, who really knew how....)

Or maybe this poem is enough reason that rhyme is considered obsolete

From: Bill Costley
Sun 07/19/09 00:12AM
Subject: language sequence

Bob, Rhyme's hardly used at all anymore in English poetry; since rhyme's really no longer necessary, poetic word order has reverted to normal spoken order. I wouldn't have it any other way, as my poems plainly show. Grammatical artificiality is simply obsolete. - Bill

Subject: language sequence
To: "Norman Rose",,
Date: Monday, July 20, 2009, 7:15 AM

One of my favorite features of English is that word order is an actual dimension unlike other languages. For instance, in French, you can say the boy throws the ball or the ball throws the boy because the spelling tells you who is the subject and object of the sentence and the word order isn't what tells you who is doing the action. In English you get very different meanings by changing the word order. The boy throws the ball means something very different from the ball throws the boy.

This doesn't mean you can't ever rearrange the word order, but you have to be careful. When I write rhyme (yes I still write a lot of rhyme), I often must resort to prepositions to show relationships like: the ball is thrown by the boy to bring a rhyming word to the position I want.

An aside: my other favorite feature of English is that you can change any noun into a verb or adjective or anything you want... we house people for example. He was a house boy. This is because English grew out of a vernacular... which (like pigeon/pidgin English) adopt many sounds and nuances without regard to strict grammar. When I was a kid I spoke pidgin in Hawaii and loved it. Oh let's keep discussing language forever OK? (My favorite subject).

Bob & Norman & Sierra, For me, rhyme sometimes just happens, & then has to be acknowledged as intentional/not: it fascinates me to see words that rhyme (vs rhyme that words) just happening in just a few lines of a poem. When it does, I just leave it there, postmodernly telling myself: Why not? I meant those words, didn't I? So what if they appear to rhyme? They still mean what I meant. Rhyme-schemes aren't framing my thoughts, but rather the reverse, to whatever degree can be seen; but so are alliterative patterns, the dominant mode in Anglo-Saxon verse. Poetic memnonics vary in degree of stringency & complexity, perhaps peaking during the European Renaissance. (We appear to have forgotten the Persian/Arabic ones, but that may yet change due to present political circumstances. I gather Chinese verse is like playing 3D+ chess.) Sierra: I may be loose, but I do find I judge grammatical skill (in English) by use of the correct pronoun & even moreso, correct preposition. Studying Latin, French & Russian taught me to watch out for & attend to them. ~ Bill Costley

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