Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Workshop: Oh, Ode-ee oh!

Since this is the time of year to reflect on what we're thankful for, I thought, what better time than now to write some odes? The ode is a form as ancient as the Greek myths, used to exalt an extraordinary person or event. It was originally put to music and had a regular rhyme scheme:

A
B
A
B
C
D
E
C
D
E

Keats wrote the most famous set of odes, which together are known as the Five Great Odes of 1819 and include "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode on a Grecian Urn." These more traditional odes are intellectual and ruminative in tone. If that's your style, try writing one using the rhyme scheme above.

Or, if you prefer flights of fancy and joyful praise, you might want to refer to Pablo Neruda's wonderful odes for inspiration. He turned the ode on its head by writing in free-verse about such mundane things as ironing, artichokes, and the smell of wood. So if you're really in love with your Snuggie, or you would like to expound on the wonders of mashed potatoes, this is definitely the way to go.

Happy writing, friends, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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