Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Speaking Rock

Mary Dalton tries to define what sets Newfoundland poets apart:
What I see as distinguishing Newfoundland poetry—and I am talking here about the island, as Labrador has its own traditions and story which have not yet been fully explored—from that of the other three Atlantic Provinces, perhaps, is a closer relationship with the speaking voice. Even now, with all the homogenizing influences of mass media, speech in Newfoundland is distinctive; there are various dialects to be found throughout the island. Scholars of Shakespearean English find continuities in the northeast of the island; the anapestic rhythms of Irish ripple in the speech of many areas of the Avalon Peninsula. The speech is richly idiomatic, concrete, close to the body. As well, traditions of storytelling and singing have been and still are very strong here. The distinctiveness of Newfoundland poetry lies, at least in part, in the ways in which the oral culture has influenced the writing.
(Print by David Blackwood.)

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