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Poetry Guide: Bylina

Bylina (Russian : были́на, also Byliny and Stariny) is a traditional epic, heroic narrative poetry of early East Slavs of Kievan Rus, the tradition continued in Russia and Ukraine.

Bylina comes from the Russian "byl'" (быль), a word which signifies a story of real events, as opposed to a fictional one.

Bylinas are kind of poetry without rhyme (blank verse), but with a characteristic rhythm, a kind of free verse. Most of bylinas were preserved in northern regions of Russia, and their style was imitated by several famous Russian poets.

There are quite a few bylina cycles. Bylinas may be roughly classified into the following series:

See also