Arctic Songs: a journey towards a new tradition from pre-Contact to contemporary Inuit poetry

Variant title
Chants arctiques: un voyage vers une nouvelle tradition du pré-contact dans la poésie inuite contemporaine
Author: Nándori, Rita
Source document: The Central European journal of Canadian studies. 2020, vol. 15, iss. [1], pp. 17-34
  • ISSN
    1213-7715 (print)
    2336-4556 (online)
License: Not specified license
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Inuit poetry has an inherently concrete nature, whether evinced in song-poems collected in the oral tradition era, or in modern-day poetry written from the twentieth century onward. I propose, however, that the tangible observational poetry of the past has slowly been transforming into a new tradition. Novel ways of expression such as figurative language and philosophical thinking have been employed by contemporary Inuit poets. The transitions from literal to figurative language and from straight-forward to philosophical thinking are manifestations of the change in Inuit life and writing. Contemporary Inuit poetry is not abstract in the strictest sense of the word, but abstraction is there in the poems: in the metaphysical questions they pose, in their modern atmosphere and diction. This shift in artistic expression results in an emerging poetic tradition that is more accessible to a worldwide readership.
La poésie inuite a une nature concrète, qu'il s'agisse de chants-poèmes recueillis à l'époque de la tradition orale ou de poésie moderne écrite à partir du XXe siècle. Toutefois, nous soutenons ici l'hypothèse selon laquelle la poésie observationnelle tangible du passé se serait lentement transformée en une nouvelle tradition. Des modes d'expression novateurs, tels que le langage figuratif et la pensée philosophique, ont été employés par les poètes inuits contemporains. Les transitions du langage littéral vers le langage figuratif et de la pensée directe vers la pensée philosophique sont des manifestations du changement dans la vie et l'écriture inuites. La poésie inuite contemporaine n'est pas abstraite au sens strict du terme, mais l'abstraction est là dans les poèmes : dans les questions métaphysiques qu'ils posent, dans leur atmosphère et leur diction modernes. Ce changement d'expression artistique se traduit par une tradition poétique émergente plus accessible à un lectorat mondial.
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