What's An Ode?

Grecian Vase or Urn

We’re not really talking about when the guy pays you back and says, “Here’s the money I ode you.” That would actually be owed, not ode. Of course if you were paying him to write poetry for you then you might be owed an ode. But that’s o’d news. Nowadays the term ode is pretty loosely defined by the general public, but actually there are three different types, the Pindaric, the Horacian, and the Irregular.

The whole point of an ode is a strong emotion, usually something joyful. Most of this is available online, although I read it in a more archaic form, a book. There are three parts to an ode, the Strophe (or the Turn), the Antisptrophe (or Counter Turn), and the Epode (or Stand). Odes were originally musical numbers and the terms come from dance movements. There are always three stanzas, the structure dependent on the form selected. You could do three sets of three stanzas, but that’s pretty ambitious. For my next project I wanted to do one of the formal styles of ode, but instead I am going with the Irregular ode. One well-known example of this is John Keats’, Ode On A Grecian Urn.

Well, then, what’s a Grecian Urn? Minimum Wage until he proves himself.


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