Jane Wong’s one-day workshop on the ode is this Saturday, July 30. Learn more and register here.
1. An example of what we will be reading:
This course is completely celebratory! We will read a multitude of different approaches to ode form – revisiting it with contemporary experimentation. For example, we will consider Pablo Neruda’s odes (he wrote three books of odes), which exude enthusiasm. For Neruda, an onion is “more beautiful than a bird / with blinding feathers.” We will take a look at Hannah Park’s chapbook Ode Days Ode; you can read “Ode on Pride (In Triplicate)” here. We will think deeply about odes as a form of address, dedication, exaltation, and love. I will make a small reading packet for everyone in the class.
2. An example exercise:
This summer, I have been writing odes to things we often overlook, such as an “Ode to Failure.” In a way, by celebrating failure, it no longer took on a negative definition; it became “a meal made entirely of leftovers / feast on!” An example exercise would be to write an ode to something that you usually don’t celebrate or see as “beautiful.” What arises might surprise you! We will also write an ode to a place – paying homage to where we come from and where we live.
3. A moment of advice:
I have always wanted to use an exclamation mark in a poem but always thought it was too “cheesy.” Yet, what is an exclamation mark if not excitement, enthusiasm, or being overcome with joy?! And shouldn’t poems express those emotions as well? Odes celebrate exclamation points, hyperbole, and imagery!
4. What to expect from the class:
To consider the underlying principles of the traditional ode form, to explore a variety of contemporary approaches to the ode, to celebrate the world around us through writing, and to write at least three odes in class!
Jane Wong‘s poems can be found in places such as Best American Poetry 2015, Best New Poets 2012, Pleiades, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and others. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center, Squaw Valley, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She is the author of the poetry collection Overpour (Action Books, 2016).