Improvisational Poetry From The Basque Country (The Basque by Gorka Aulestia

By Gorka Aulestia

Improvisational Poetry From The Basque kingdom introduces the Basque bertsolari to the English-speaking international and gives an figuring out of an engaging cultural phenomenon - the artist in Basque society who's in a position to improvising verse on any topic and spontaneously atmosphere it to tune. The phenomenon is no less than a number of centuries previous and runs the gamut from amateurish efforts to periodic nationwide championship competitions. those competitions draw millions of listeners and pack theatres whereas many hundreds of thousands music their radios to the publicizes of the performances.

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Homer frequently used formulas or short phrases (noun or name plus epithet) as idioms and prefabricated phrases to tie his great poetic works together. It became evident to Parry that a much greater part of Homer's work may be attributed to this system of formulas than was believed. Only a part of what had been considered to be Homer's work was original. According to Parry, it would not be possible for one poet to create so many of these formulas. Parry went beyond his assertions concerning the important role of tradition in Homeric poetry and examined oral tradition in depth.

Although language is essentially oral, studies conducted on language and literature in the past few centuries have greatly neglected oral aspects while concentrating mostly on the written text. The oral factors have been regarded Page 13 as simple deviations from the written form. The much-used expression "oral literature" itself lacks logic and seems contradictory. The very word literature implies writing, and the use of the term "oral" cannot counterbalance the weight of that implication. It is clear, however, that the origins of language and literature are essentially oral in nature.

Since he focused heavily on bertsolaritza, it is with good reason that he is considered responsible for giving Basque troubadourism the prestige that it enjoys in the Basque Country today. During the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth, bertsolaritza was scorned. The bertsolariak (versemakers) were regarded merely as clowns who enlivened popular festivals. Many Basques saw nothing more than vulgar nonsense in this popular poetry and considered it, at times, offensive. The fact that most of the bertsolariak were illiterate and given to late nights and hard-cider drinking contributed to the lack of respect for this art form.

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