Poetry is a celebration of language – just more so back in the day than it is now. As evidence of this, and poetry’s higher importance a century ago, McWhorter explains a Bugs Bunny cartoon from 1941 (apparently it’s called Rabbit Hunt, if you find it please link in the comments) where the talking rabbit opens the skit by reciting a few lines of famous poetry, that viewers were surely to recognize. Perry the platypus probably wouldn’t do anything the like, even if he did talk.
Poetry used to be highly structured, even for a highly structured writing style. Over the years the structure of rules and shape lessened, but it also used to be that people could make a living at poetry. Nowadays, not as much. In pact, McWhorter points to a 1991 article that explains how the poetry industry is contrived by produces of poetry. Interesting stuff, but I wonder if it is the highly structure poetry at stake, rather than the a more free flowing style.
Because, despite the seemingly diminishing role of formal, highly prepared poetry, more varieties of this celebration of language seem to have a resurgence of late. Rap music is one example – and even within hip-hop culture, rappers will even measure their prowess on the control over language with a catalog of styles, an unconforming way to break the bounds of structure with a variety of structures.
My best guess is that what could be considered as poetry is heading for a golden age, at least online. That is, if you would consider things like words clouds and infographics as poetry. Maybe a better word is needed, but it’s certainly falls within the phrase a Celebration of Language.
We can only hope Perry’s first words are some dope lyrics.
Link to the first post in this series is here.