‘Prosetry’? ‘Pretendery’?…or ‘Poemaletry’?

Prosetry? Protendery? It certainly isn't Poetry

A first attempt to answer the question ‘What is Poetry?’ was published in ‘Quest’, the journal of The Queen’s English Society under the title ‘On English Poetry and Poems’. This paper is to be found on The True English (Poetry) Party page of the website.

The argument in the paper may be presented shortly as a sort of syllogism which leads to what we may call:

Dr Acorn’s First Theory of ‘Poemaletry’

We have word-things in English from the 7th to the 19th centuries that were and  are called ‘poems’ and which have certain formal, objective, patterning characteristics.

More recently the term ‘poem’ has been used of word-things that do not have these characteristics.

These two sorts of word-things appear to be so different that, in order to avoid confusion, they would best be classified differently.

This proposal that there are two different sorts of poetic word-things leads to a nice metaphor: we might say that they are ‘different kinds of animal’ and would best be separately named.

Following the model of Latin anima, ‘breath’, leading to ‘animal’, we may derive a new noun ‘poemal’ from Latin poema to name the second sort of poetic word-thing identified above. From this ‘animation’, we may construct an extended ‘family’ of new terms to parallel those that are used in respect of the first category of poetic word-things identified above:

 poem  ‘poemal’
 poesy  ‘poemalesy’
 poet  ‘poemalist’; ‘poemaliser’; ‘poemaler’
 poetaster  ‘poemaletaster’
 poetic  ‘poemalistic’, ‘poemaletic’
 poetically  ‘poemalistically’
 poetical  ‘poemalistic’, ‘poemalical’
 poeticise  ‘poemalate’
 poetise  ‘poemalise’
 poetry  ‘poemalism’, ‘poemaletry’
 poetics  ‘poemalistics’
 prosody  ‘poemaletics’

Metaphorically and even poetically and taxonomically speaking this is something of a conglomeration of neo-lexical ‘animalicules’. They might perhaps be trained to our amusement and profit.