Senna (poetic)

Senna is a form of Eddic poetry consisting of an exchange of insults between participants, ranging from the use of expletives to accusing an opponent of moral or sexual impropriety. It traditionally existed in an oral form, with the famous skald Þórarinn Stuttfeldr once describing the poetry of his opponent as being like leirr ens gamla ara or 'the mud of the eagle'; literally claiming that his poetry was like dung.

There are also numerous written examples of senna in the Poetic Edda, including the Ölkofra Þáttr (The Tale of the Ale-Hood) in which a carpenter is accused of setting fire to the wood of six powerful chieftains while burning charcoal, and the Lokasenna, which consists of a duel of words between Loki and several other Norse gods, and in which Loki accuses the other gods of sexual misdeeds.


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