For the bored, locked-down and lonely

Activity: Write an ode

This year has been extraordinary in a lot of ways – but much of our everyday existence has been kind of mundane. As we’ve lived through lockdown, there’s been a lot of repetition: most of us working from home, seeing the same folks and the same walls of the same house day after day. I think it’s about time we show the mundane a bit of love – and what better way to do that than with an ode? An ode is a poem where you celebrate something ordinary. By writing an ode you’re challenging yourself to spend some time thinking about all the aspects of an object which make it special to you, and which we normally might overlook. Odes can be funny, serious, joyful, or nostalgic but the main aim is to bring your chosen object to life through celebrating it – make the ordinary extraordinary!

Here are some tips for writing your ode:

Pick an ordinary place or thing.

Give your subject praise or thanks. (Oh, _____________!)  Speak directly to the object.

Spend time deeply thinking about your object. Try starting by writing down everything of note without worrying how it might be a poem (you could even try a mind map). Then go back to pick out the most striking thoughts and shape them into a poem.

What does it mean to you? You might find that you associate this object with certain memories & preoccupations, or it may start you thinking about larger, abstract themes.

Try using verbs to bring your object to life. Think about what personality your object would have if it were a person – how would it move or speak or think?

Want some more inspiration before getting started? Have a read of these modern ode examples:

‘Ode to My Socks’ by Pablo Neruda

‘Ode to Shea Butter’ by Angel Nafis

‘Home Movies: A Sort of Ode’ by Mary Jo Salter

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