Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lyres and Truths

Shelley writes:

Dear Dead Beat,What is meant by a lyric poem? I write poetry and someone described one of my poems as lyric.

Dear Shelley,

I like to keep this one real simple in an attempt to keep me out of trouble. Actually it will probably just get me in more trouble from all sorts of cranky customers.

Here goes: Let us divide poetry into two types of poems - lyric and narrative.
Well narrative speaks for itself - it tells a story. Thus a time element is involved. In lyric poetry time is suspended. In other words we reflect or meditate on something e.g ode to a palm top, that sort of thing. We build the poem around the object without a passage of time.

The term ‘lyric’ comes from the musical instrument the lyre. This is where poetry grew from - songs accompanied by the lyre. Thus lyric poems are songlike. They do not try to tell a story but reflect in a more personal manner the feelings and thoughts of the ‘speaker’.

So there you have it Shelley, and let no one tell you otherwise.

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