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The Ode

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The ode as a poetic f orm l.jpg

The “Ode” as a Poetic Form

By Peter Sudak

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Brief History

  • Originated in Greece as integral part of Greek drama

  • Literally meant to sing or chant

  • Originally accompanied by music or dance

  • Disappeared during Dark Ages and was brought back to light at start of Renaissance

  • Used by Romantic poets to convey their strongest sentiments


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The Ode

  • “The ode can be generalized as a formal address to an event, a person, or a thing not present”

  • Originally a serious poetic form

  • Modern odes are usually written to praise ordinary things

  • Example : An ode can be written finding the beauty in a plastic bag floating through the wind


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The Ode

  • Employs various poetic techniques

    • Alliteration

    • Rhyme

    • Figurative language

  • Three typical types of Odes

    • Pindaric

    • Horatian

    • Irregular

  • Many others exist but are fundamentally based on these three forms

  • Pindaric ode l.jpg

    Pindaric Ode

    • First Ode Form

    • Created by Pindar in Ancient Greece 5th century BC

    • Written to celebrate victories at the Olympic Games

    • Stanza length and rhyme scheme are not set in stone and determined by poet


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    Pindaric Ode

    • Divided into three sections

    • Strophe

      • A formal opening

      • Tells one part of story

    • Antistrophe

      • Mirrors the opening

      • Tells the counterpart

      • Same meter as strophe

    • Epode

      • Closing section of different length and meter

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    Horatian Ode

    • Named after Roman poet Horace

    • Less formal and ceremonious than the Pindaric

    • More tranquil and contemplative

    • Deeply personal

    • Better for quiet reading rather than theatrical performance

    • Uses a regular and recurrent stanza pattern

    • Written in stanzas of two or four lines

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    Irregular Ode

    • Abraham Crowley developed this form

    • Sometimes called a Crowley Ode

    • Stanzas are unlike in structure

    • Number and length of lines varies

    • Rhyme scheme is changing

    • Many Romantic poets had forms that much like the Irregular Ode


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    “Ode” in the Romantic Era

    • Complex stanzas from the Irregular Ode

    • Personal mediation attributed to the Horatian Ode

    • Generally no emotional restrain

    • Intellectually guided

    • Relating to nature

    • Brought the Ode to new heights


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    “Ode” in the Romantic Era

    • Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats

    • Regarded as one of the greatest Odes in Romantic Period

    • Ten-line stanzas with regular structure

    • First six lines follow ABABCDE rhyme pattern

    • Last three vary DCE, CED, CDE, CDE, DCE for each of 5 stanzas (only first two shown)


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    • Influenced poetry for thousands of years

    • Anything with a meter, rhythmic scheme and stanzas can be considered an ode.

    • Most commonly known odes have 10 line stanzas using iambic verse with ABABCDECDE rhyme scheme

    • Many other types as shown previously


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    Why was John Keats always hounded by creditors

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    Why was John Keats always hounded by creditors

    Because he Ode so much!!

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    Works Cited

    Padgett, Ron . "Poetic Form Ode." poets.org. 6 May. 2002. 6 Jul. 2011. <http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5784>.

    "How to write an Ode." ehow. 5 Jun. 2006. 6 Jul. 2011. <http://www.ehow.com/how_16706_write-ode.html>.

    "Ode." The Poets Garret. 7 Feb. 2011. 6 Jul.<http://www.thepoetsgarret.com/form.html#ode>

    Newman, Bob . "Ode." Voice Central. 2004. 7 Jul. 2011. <http://www.volecentral.co.uk/vf/ode.htm>.

    "ode." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 08 Jul. 2011. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/425020/ode>.

    Poetry Through the Ages. 4 Oct. 2000. 7 Jul. 2011. <http://www.webexhibits.org/poetry/explore_classic_ode_background.html>.

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