On October 3, , he was found in a state of semi-consciousness. Poe died four days later of "acute congestion of the brain. Poe's work as an editor, a poet, and a critic had a profound impact on American and international literature. His stories mark him as one of the originators of both horror and detective fiction. Many anthologies credit him as the "architect" of the modern short story.
He was also one of the first critics to focus primarily on the effect of style and structure in a literary work; as such, he has been seen as a forerunner to the "art for art's sake" movement. Baudelaire spent nearly fourteen years translating Poe into French. Today, Poe is remembered as one of the first American writers to become a major figure in world literature. Read more about William Blake W. Yeats William Butler Yeats, widely considered one of the greatest poets of the English language, Read more about W.
Materials for Teachers Materials for Teachers Home. Poems for Kids. Poems for Teens. Lesson Plans. Teach this Poem. Poetry Near You. Academy of American Poets. National Poetry Month. American Poets Magazine. Poets Search more than 3, biographies of contemporary and classic poets. Edgar Allan Poe — Texts Year Title Prev 1 Next. The other familiar form of patronage—religion—is also relevant, but in an organized form it is less significant. Poets were attached to the courts of powerful kings, to the retinues of nobles or lesser chiefs, and to all those who had pretensions to honour and thus to poetic celebration in their society.
The speciality of these court poets was, of course, panegyric, a form illustrated in the following chapter. One can cite the elaborate praise poems of the Zulu or Sotho in southern Africa, the poems of the official singers of the ruler of Bornu, the royal praises of the Hausa emirs, the eulogies addressed to rulers in the various kingdoms of the Congo, and many others. In all these areas the ruling monarchs and their ancestors were glorified in poems, and real and ideal deeds were attributed to them in lofty and effusive language. The court poets sometimes had other functions too.
Preservation of the historical record and of genealogies, for example, was often a part of their art, and it is sometimes suggested that this was at times a distinctive activity carried on in its own right. But in spite of repeated assertions about this, 1 there are few details about the actual performance or expression of historical poetry as distinct from panegyric, and we have to content ourselves with vague generalizations. What we always come back to in the productions of these court poets is the adulatory aspect, giving rise to poetry of profound political significance as a means of political propaganda, pressure, or communication.
This was so with the Zulu and other Bantu kingdoms of southern Africa where not only the paramount king but also every chief with any pretensions to political power had, wherever possible, his own imbongi or praiser. This was an official position at the court, important enough to the rulers to have survived even the eclipse of much of their earlier power. The poet had two duties: to remember and to express the appropriate eulogies.
The praises had no absolute verbal immutability, and emotional and dramatic force in actual recitation was expected of a successful imbongi. The lofty strain of these Zulu eulogies and the impressiveness of their delivery can be pictured from a few lines taken from the praises of a Zulu king; they glorify the swiftness and completeness of his victory over the foe:. When it rose the blood of men had already been shed.
He made men swim who had forgotten how, Yes! A whole band of poets is often involved, the various members making their own specialist contributions to the performance. Musical as well as verbal elements play a part, so that the skills of many different performers are necessary. Such performances were an essential part of state occasions: at state receptions at the palace or out of doors; in processions to display the regalia or visit some sacred spot; and at national festivals, state funerals, and political functions like the installations of new chiefs or the swearing of oaths of allegiance by sub-chiefs.
Every morning in Abomey concerts were held by the main state orchestra before the royal palace, and when the king went out it accompanied him to sing his praises Da Cruz A final well-known West African example is that of the maroka teams of praisers still associated with the wealthy and cultivated Islamic emirates of the Hausa of Northern Nigeria.
These highly specialized teams are attached permanently to the office of the king, and, to a lesser extent, to that of District Heads. The group is both more numerous and specialized in its musical functions, and more permanently attached to the title, than are the teams linked to District headships, which are similarly organized. Many of the royal maroka proudly describe themselves as royal slaves, and point to the fact that their ancestors held titles as royal musicians under earlier kings.
It seems that there is at least a core of such maroka hereditarily attached to the throne. Other specialized musical functions in the royal troupe include blowing on the long silver horns or shorter wooden ones, playing on the taushe a small hemispherical drum , and singing the royal praises in Fulani, the last being the task of maroka recruited from among the Bombadawa Fulani. Royal maroka are in constant attendance at the palace, and announce the arrival of distinguished visitors such as the Resident, Divisional Officer, District Chiefs, and the like, by trumpet fanfares, drumming, and shouting.
They also salute the king on the Sabbath eve and nightly during the annual fast of Ramadan , when the royal drums tambari are regularly played. They are allocated compounds, farm-lands, and titles by the king, who may also give them horses and frequently provides them with clothes, money, or assistance at weddings as well as with food… As befits their position, the royal maroka are unique within the state and work only as a team. Smith 31 4.
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They all depended on royal or chiefly patronage, given them in an official capacity and often implying exclusive rights over their services. Their performances were public with the emphasis, it appears, on their ceremonial functions rather than their entertainment value. And their audiences were primarily those who attended either the royal court or state occasions in the royal capital. To some extent this type of poetry must also have filtered down to other levels of society, with every local chief and leader attempting to follow the model of the ruler.
But it seems that it was at the centre that court poetry and music were cultivated in their most specialized and exclusive form. Their official position at court presumably gave them a share in the greater luxury and leisure of court life, though the degree must have varied from area to area—more marked, say, in the wealthy and specialized Hausa emirates than in the kingdoms of southern Africa.
However, the exact economic position of court poets is obscure. There is little detailed evidence about, for instance, the relative wealth of specialized poet and ordinary subject, or how far court poets could count on steady economic support as distinct from occasional lavish gifts. The whole subject merits further investigation.
That apprenticeship in some sense was involved is obvious, but this was probably sometimes of an informal kind, perhaps particularly when, as with the Hausa or the Yoruba, there was some hereditary tendency. In the case of highly specialized skills, however, there must also be a certain amount of quite formal training. This is so with Ashanti players of the speaking drums Nketia b : —7 , the Fang mvet singers Towo-Atangana , or the highly specialized bards of Ruanda. They were in charge of the delivery and preservation of the dynastic poems whose main object was to exalt the king and other members of the royal line.
This was only one branch among the three main types of Rwanda poetry dynastic, military, and pastoral which corresponded to the three pivots of their society king, warrior, and cattle. This category included a number of poets, both those with the inspiration and skill to compose original works, and those the bards who confined themselves to learning and reciting the compositions of others. More recently the president has been the most conspicuous of the royal poets, a role that has tended over the last few generations to become a hereditary one.
The president had the responsibility of organizing the poetry officially needed by the royal court for any particular occasion, including both ceremonial affairs and discussions on points of tradition. This he was in a position to do because of the attachment of a number of official poets to the court. Each of the recognized families of the poetic association had to be permanently represented there, if not by a creative poet, at least by a bard capable of reciting the poems particularly known by that group.
In the reign of Yuhi V Musinga, for example, there were nine royal poets holding such official positions, each on duty for a month. In addition there were a number of unofficial bards, also members of poetic families, who gathered in large numbers around the court and could be called on if necessary. They held hereditary rights like exemption from the jurisdiction of the civil chiefs and from certain servile duties.
This applied even to ordinary bards and individual amateurs—so long as they were able to recite certain poems by heart, they were automatically regarded as direct servants of the crown. The exact economic position of the official court poets is not fully described; but the presentation of a poem to the king normally earned the gift of a cow— perhaps more—and in a society in which economic, social, even political worth was measured in terms of cattle, this was no mean reward. The style was full of archaisms, obscure language, and highly figurative forms of expression.
Kagame b : —8. Among the Rwanda, somewhat unusually, part of the production of their oral literature was through memorization of received versions of the poems, and the attribution of personal authorship was the rule rather than the exception. The praise poems were often repeated by bards with little change from one occasion to the next, and there seems to have been a conscious effort to preserve the exact words of the text.
From an early age, children of the recognized poetic families had to learn poems by heart. Though this took place within the family, at first at least, it was under the general supervision of the president of the association of poets who was ultimately responsible. The royal court was the centre of patronage—in fact in most important genres of Rwanda poetry the court held a near monopoly—and the Rwanda assumed it to be basic to the production of specialist poetry, being both its central stimulus and its most valued context. But it can serve as an extreme instance of one important type of patronage for the poet in traditional Africa.
It must be added, however, that this particular patronage—the royal court—is in many areas increasingly a thing of the past. This is not because of any decline of interest in poetry or in praise, for both continue to flourish in different contexts and with new patrons. Praise poems crop up as flattery of political leaders or party candidates, and can be heard on the radio or at political meetings; they can be seen in written form in newspapers; and they even appear under the auspices of commercial recording companies. But often the older royal courts with their official retinues and monopoly of the most highly professionalized poetry have become less attractive as political and economic centres, and many of the traditional court poets have either abandoned their art or turned to other more lucrative patrons.
Islam, it is true, has in certain areas played a potent role in the stimulation of verse on religious and historical topics. But this has not been through the direct patronage of an organized church so much as through the historical association of Islam with Arabic culture in general, so that Islamic scholars were also sometimes engaged in the transmission within their own societies of local compositions based on Arabic models. Among such peoples as the Swahili, Fulani, or Hausa it appears that such composers held honoured positions and presumably also economic resources primarily because of their Koranic learning, their association with royal courts, or, in some cases their noble birth.
Here there is a long history of patronage of the arts by the Coptic Christian Church.
Art vs. Laundry
This includes a vast amount of literature which, being in every sense a written one, falls outside the scope of this book. There was also, however, a certain amount of oral ecclesiastical poetry by the dabteras or professional religious poets. Besides long written poems their work also included oral compositions like extemporized hymns at church festivals and similar occasions. Their most famous product was the qene , a short witty poem, highly artificial, of which there were said to be at least ten different types.
These were marked by great obscurity of style, extreme condensation, delight in the use of puns, and an abundance of metaphors and religious allusions. In keeping with their highly specialized nature the qene demanded prolonged intellectual training for their mastery, and we hear of schools of rhetoric designed to train poets in the art of qene composition. We may also suppose that their audiences were correspondingly restricted. Indeed it seems to be the other important class of professional Ethiopian poets, the non-religious azmaris , who were found among all classes of society and thus reached wider audiences Chadwicks iii ff while the dabteras preserved their specialist and intellectual type of versification.
As yet, this seems mainly to be of the more or less extempore type—a worshipper declaiming or leading the singing in the course of a service—and has probably not produced any highly specialized poets. This is particularly marked in the non-Islamic parts of West Africa where there are specialized cults to the deities of the various West African pantheons.
Priests of some of the gods among, say, the Yoruba of Nigeria or Fon of Dahomey seem to be fully professional, sometimes to have undergone many years of training. This is true in particular of the priests of Ifa described in Chapter 7 who spend at least three years as apprentices learning the lengthy verses and stories pertaining to this oracle-god.
The gods each have their own lengthy and allusive praises which must be mastered by their priests, who are, it seems, responsible for both their recitation and, ultimately, their composition. Such professional priests receive direct or indirect recompense in virtue of their religious office and in this way have a certain amount of leisure to devote to the practice of poetry. However, fully professional priests are by no means the rule in these societies; they seem to be more typical of the highly organized and wealthy kingdoms, like those of the Akan, Fon, or Yoruba.
But even in these areas priests are often only part-time experts who also rely on other means of subsistence. Their relationship to their public is more like that discussed in section iv below: they are experts who only appear on particular occasions when they display their art in return for direct reward. The interpretation of poetry which connects it directly with the religious role of the seer would not, therefore, in its obvious sense at least, derive much support from the data on oral literature in Africa.
This type of poet may shade into the official court poet, but even if he spends a certain amount of time at the courts he does not hold an official and exclusive position. He relies on occasional rather than permanent employment. Such independent professional poets are particularly common in West Africa, the coastal areas of East Africa, and Ethiopia, where both the degree of specialization and the existence of relatively large quantities of movable wealth from which poets can be subsidized make it feasible for them to gain a livelihood in this manner.
The existence of court poets may actually facilitate the development of this type of freelance professional tradition. Court poetry is what local chieflets or wealthy commoners would like to hear declaimed around them; and many of those wondering singers and poets have found lucrative patrons in men who wish to hear addressed to themselves some semblance of the praises ultimately due to the rulers.
It is not surprising then to find frequent instances of the coexistence in one society of both official poets at courts, and roving poets in other spheres of the kingdom. This is true, for instance, of the Hausa roaming singers, the counterparts of the royal praise bands already mentioned. Among the Nzakara of the Sudan the trained professional poet, a singer accompanying his words on the harp, gains his livelihood either at the court of the prince or, alternatively, by moving from village to village, ready to vilify a chief who does not entertain him up to the standard of his expectations, or singing the glorious ancestry of one who does de Dampierre Such singers can exploit the hierarchy of political power without an official permanent attachment to any one individual.
Figure Thus where there is a distinction between the distribution of wealth and that of aristocratic political power, the former may be a particular focus for poetic activity. We hear, for instance, of the wealthy but low-born Hausa man who is a prey to poets who sing of his high descent—or at least significantly omit any oblique suggestion of commoner birth Smith 31 —in return for large rewards.
Poets naturally turn to the patronage of well-off men. In Pemba, an area in which the development of verse is probably unequalled along the whole of the East African coast, there have until recently been large numbers of poets, each with his band of pupils, esteemed and patronized by the wealthy Arab landowners.
These poets lived in or around the main centres or by the clove plantations and delighted their patrons with poems expressed in the traditional mainland forms on subjects inspired by local events Whiteley Nowadays another lucrative source can be found in commercial concerns—record companies and broadcasting in particular— and in some areas these are now becoming a potent if erratic source of patronage to the freelance poets.
There is no better summary of how you feel than these three simple words. Life together could not be any better, How lucky can one person be? I found myself a love so great, Sometimes myself I pinch Until now I didn't think this was possible, You make lovin you a cinch! I Would Live in Your Love Poet: Sara Teasdale I would live in your love as the sea-grasses live in the sea, Borne up by each wave as it passes, drawn down by each wave that recedes; I would empty my soul of the dreams that have gathered in me, I would beat with your heart as it beats, I would follow your soul as it leads.
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But one thing never changes, My love for you, I cannot ignore. There are days I feel this is too much, And I don't know what to do.
By This Poet
But let's face it, who are we kidding, I want nothing else but you! Your smiles, hugs and goofy looks, You make me happier than I have ever known. Life before you must have been very dull, I don't remember much before you came along. My life never mean't very much to me, You have given me purpose, I now belong. A loving partner to come home to each day, A wonderful marital bliss. Blessed am I who received this gift, Bless am I indeed. Help me to share my gratefulness, You my love are all I ever need. You are more than I have ever deserved, I cannot even comprehend.
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