Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Defining Lyric and Narrative

It has come to my attention that these terms may need some definition.

Here goes.

Lyric poetry is descriptive.

Narrative poetry tells a story.

That's it.


laura jane gallagher said...

I'm afraid that is most certainly not 'it'. Lyric does not have to describe - it may express, address, and even tell a story. Classically, lyric was considered to use mixed voices, like epic (Aristotle). Since then, different definitions have abounded. And even here, I am being reductive...

G. M. Palmer said...

It most certainly is "it."

Words need definitions in the context of discussion and instruction.

For discussing poetry, it is important to make a solid division between lyric and narrative--which I've done.

Now, it's true that under "description" one can find expression and arguably an address, too (indeed, once one gets into addressing one gets into dialogue which tends to throw a wrench into the whole division anyway).

If it helps you, you can imagine the following: for discussions of which I am taking part, I am going to say that lyric poetry is descriptive or expressive and narrative poetry tells a story.

'zat better?