Monday, January 27, 2014

Writing odes with 8th grade students

We are exploring odes today in Creative Writing, and took a detour to see how Chilean poet Pablo Neruda modified the traditional ode. Known in some circles as an irregular ode, Neruda stripped away many of the formal rules of traditional odes. More importantly, he wrote odes to regular, common, everyday objects.

Quite a departure from the classical odes of antiquity: Ode to Beauty...Ode to Grecian Urn...Ode to Aphrodite, etc.

Our task, after reading and discussing Neruda's Ode to an Apple, was to write our own irregular ode:

  • choose an everyday object that you adore
  • exaggerate its admirable qualities
  • specificity of description is important
  • praise, praise, praise to the extreme
  • incorporate sensory imagery
My kids have had great fun writing things like Ode to Salt, Ode to My Elementary School Cubby, and Ode to Sweaters. Our poems have taken on a fun, silly, slant. Ultimately, the challenge, as I told them, was to try to write with adoration. As we learned, simply describing the salty-sweet caramel may not be enough. In order to elevate our writing so that the reader understands how much we adore this common thing, we found three things help: simile, metaphor, and allusion.

Here is the poem I developed alongside of them as they wrote theirs: Ode to the Cupcake Pan.

My dramatic reading was probably worth a modest admission.

No comments:

Post a Comment