Poetry is Inherently Nationalistic

Poetry is Inherently Nationalistic

Poetry is inherently Nationalistic. For I could never taste the full meaning, melody, syntax, or wordplay of a Swedish poem (as an example of a language, foreign to this author). I can read a translation, and receive a partial understanding (though likely in anachronistic syntax). But it would be inevitable that I would be confounded by the strangeness of the tongue, and would have no way of discerning what is a common melody, or a poetic one, what is a common syntax, or a poetic one, and what wordplay is even occurring. Not to mention the many layers of alien qualities (and my need to analyse them), that would keep me away from the instant receptiveness of its vibrancy; its life, that those of the native tongue would taste effortlessly.

In order to fully experience a poem, one must be intimately familiar with the language. Only then can you hear the difference between the common sounds of conversational language and the melodies that live within a poem. Only by an understanding of common syntax, will you notice a creative and poetic syntax. Only by having fluency in a tongue will you even notice the wordplay.

Now, you may say that since I am a native English speaker, my tongue is beyond the nation, and is actually of “the west.”

This is true to a degree, but regionalism (in this case, the specific Western nation) is very apparent in the English language. While myself and someone from say Canada, Australia, Wales, or England might speak English, the parlance, slang, and even inflections will identify one’s specific Nation to the discerning ear. Even now in this multi-racial landscape, the English of a legacy speaker, and that of, say, an African, are clearly different.

The ability to understand a poem might stretch to the scale of the pan-national, i.e. “Western,” or it might shrink to the level of the tribe (if the colloquialisms make up the majority of the language). But one thing is for sure, if a poem is to be truly tasted, that is to say, experienced in all its vocabulary, wordplay, syntax, melody, etc., it will only be fully cherished and understood by other members of the poet’s nation. “Outsiders” will never fully know or experience all the flavors or melodies that are available.


J.C. Adams is a Southron of Briton and Norman descent. His work was featured in Issue No. 2 of The White People’s Quarterly. You can find more of his poetry at JCAdamsPoet.tumblr.com.

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