“Word upon a Word”: Parallelism, Meaning, and Emergent Structure in Kalevala-meter Poetry

This essay treats parallelism as a means for articulating and communicating meaning in performance. Rather than a merely stylistic and structural marker, parallelism is discussed as an expressive and cognitive strategy for the elaboration of notions and cognitive categories that are vital in the culture and central for the individual performers. The essay is based on an analysis of short forms of Kalevala-meter poetry from Viena Karelia: proverbs, aphorisms, and lyric poetry. In the complex system of genres using the same poetic meter parallelism transformed genres and contributed to the emergence of cohesive and finalized performances.