May 8 2009

Words that are poems, #1

While reading Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter, I just ran across this:

For example, Euripides claims that Aeschylus is bombastic (kompophakelorrēmona, “boast-bundle-phrased”)

which sounds remarkably Entish, doesn’t it? Here’s Treebeard:

Hoom, well, that is fair enough,’ said Treebeard; ‘for to be sure Ents have played their part. And not only in dealing with that, hoom, that accursed tree-slayer that dwelt here. For there was a great inrush of those, burárum, those evileyed-blackhanded-bowlegged-flinthearted-clawfingered-foulbellied-bloodthirsty, morimaite-sincahonda, hoom, well, since you are hasty folk and their full name is as long as years of torment, those vermin of orcs; and they came over the River and down from the North and all round the wood of Laurelindórenan, which they could not get into, thanks to the Great ones who are here.’ He bowed to the Lord and Lady of Lórien.

(The book is interesting so far: it tells how free verse got privileged over metrical verse starting around a century ago. I wonder, though, how much point there can be to explaining this in terms of what was going on in poetry then, given modernism breaking out in other arts at the same time.)