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Ode to a Pandemic

An ode is a short lyric poem that praises an individual, an idea, or an event, so in this case you will be praising (or if you like, condemning) the global pandemic.

In ancient Greece, odes were originally accompanied by music—in fact, the word “ode” comes from the Greek word aeidein, which means to sing or to chant. Which means we would also like you to focus on sound features in your ode – use repetition – words or individual sounds, assonance, alliteration and song-like rhythm.

There are several different types of odes. One type, the Horatian ode, consists of two- or four-line stanzas and it traditionally explores intimate scenes of daily life. Like the other odes, it comes in three parts. Each part may be one or more stanzas long.

The first part outlines (and praises) your situation (get descriptive - use personal and particular details!). It uses two- or four-line stanzas.

The second part is a counterbalance to the first part. Respond to what you said and thought in the first part. For example, now that Lockdown has finished, do you still feel the same as you did? How would you react now in the same situation? This part also uses the same two- or four-line stanza pattern – a reflective mirror of the first part.

The third and the last part is a conclusion or summary of both parts. Maybe you will answer the question: how will we go on? This part doesn’t have to follow the same stanza pattern. Maybe it will be a one-line or a three-line stanza to finish your poem?

So now write an ode to either praise (or condemn!) the global event of the pandemic, focusing on describing personal and emotional scenes in your daily life using rich and specific language. See if you can follow the form as well as use some sound features!

When you have written your ode share it to us for our Write On Speak Out: Lockdown Voices 2020 project.


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