Words as Events
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Words as Events

By Venla Sykäri
Free
Book Description

Words as Events introduces the tradition of short, communicative rhyming couplets, the mantinádes, as still sung and recited in a variety of performance situations on the island of Crete. Recently, these poems have also entered modern mass media and they are widely being exchanged as text messages by Cretans. Focusing on the multi-functionality of the short form, Sykäri demonstrates how the traditional register gives voice to individual experiences in spontaneous utterances. The local focus on communicative economy and artistry is further examined in a close analysis of the processes and ideals of composition. By analyzing how the “restrictions” of form and performative conventions in fact generate impulses of creativity, the author creates a theoretical approach that is sensitive to the special characteristics of the short, rhymed poetic traditions.

In this interdisciplinary study, the reader is invited to become familiar with the current folklore theory of oral poetry, which has a long tradition in Finland. The author combines the results of earlier folkloristic and anthropological insights, and extends the theoretical concerns further to address questions of spontaneity and individual agency. The research data has been produced in communicative interactions during long-term fieldwork. As a result, the short, rhymed poetry, often neglected by scholars in earlier research paradigms, can now be seen in new light – specifically as dialogic poetry – through its extended, multi-layered dialogic qualities.

This book is part of the Studia Fennica Folkloristica series.

Table of Contents
  • Words as Events
  • Title Page
  • Copyright
  • Contents
  • PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  • Note on transliteration
  • I INTRODUCTION
    • Mantinádes in Crete: a poetic tradition across the time
    • In the crossroads of composition and communicating
      • Rhymed poetry
      • Short, communicative forms
      • Research on mantinádes and related traditions
    • Local literature and discourses on mantinádes
    • Research as engagement
      • Research questions
      • Fieldwork
      • Methodology and methods of research and analysis
      • Ethical considerations
      • Data
      • The field
      • Local terminology
    • Outline of the chapters
  • II THEORETICAL FRAME OF INTERPRETATION
    • The register
    • Focus on performance
      • Performance arena as a frame of experience
      • Contextualization
      • Strategies of meaning
    • Dialogism
    • Creativity and competence
    • Conceptualizing improvisation
      • Perceptions of improvisation among folklore scholarship
      • Improvisation in music
      • Improvisation and metrical registers
    • Poems as text and process: the double-identity
  • III CRETE AND TRADITIONAL PERFORMANCE CONTEXTS
    • Crete as historical, social and cultural setting
    • Cretan music, dance and song
      • Rizítika songs of the western Crete
    • Shared performance arena, the gléndi
      • The traditional gléndi
      • The gléndi and the dances in eastern Crete
      • The gléndi in the rizítika area of western Crete
      • Poetic confrontations
      • Transformations of the gléndi
    • Casual singing events
      • Kantáda
  • IV THE POETIC LANGUAGE
    • Origins of the metrical structure and the emergence of the mantináda
    • Poetic form and means
    • Thematic contents
    • Couplets as building blocks
      • Mantinádes “continued” (sinehómenes)
      • Narrative songs
  • V THE MULTIDIMENSIONAL PERFORMANCE
    • Recited performances
      • Poems embedded in speech
      • Stories of past performances
      • Presentation of poetic inventiveness
    • Performance as gendered and shared experience
    • Participation, improvisation and meaning
      • Thematic continuation
      • Statements/ideas enclosed in the imagery
      • Contextual relevance
      • Internal fitting
    • Written and media contexts
      • Written arenas
      • When television substituted the paréa
      • Mobile phone messages
      • Individual and shared: problems implied by the double-identity in modern arenas
  • VI COMPOSITION
    • Internalizing the tradition
    • Local definitions of composition
    • Rhyming and structuring the verse order
      • Inventing meaning through rhyme
    • The ideal of coherence: building an image
    • Motivations for composing
      • Verbal interaction
      • Composition for emotional self-expression
      • Capturing a theme
    • The creativity of making the point: reframing
    • Commanding a poetic world as a productive language
  • VII A THEORY OF DIALOGIC ORAL POETRY
    • Dialogic oral poetry
    • Individuals and tradition
    • Four aspects of creativity
    • The self-dependent poem and the economy of tradition
    • The plural aesthetics of performance and composition
    • From oral to modern performance arenas
    • Performative, contextual and textual dialogue
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY AND PRIMARY SOURCES
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