One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kerry's Wednesday Challenge

In interviews, one is often asked to name an author or character one would most like to meet. I’m asking you to write him or her a letter.

Epistle is a poetic form that dates back to ancient Rome. The term comes from the Latin word epistola, which means letter. Thus, this poem is written in the form of a letter. It was used to express love, philosophy, religion and morality.
Most people who think of epistles think of the Bible. Many of the books in the New Testament are epistles, especially the Epistles of St. Paul. The poet Robert Burns also frequently wrote epistolary poetry, as have many others.
There are no meter or rhyme requirements for an epistle. Epistle is more a form of voice and persona. A poet can address their epistle to a real or imaginary person and express their views or take on the character of a different writer. The wonderful quality of an epistle is that it can be such a freeing form. The tone can be formal or use very personalized voices. The poems can be many pages long or as short as a post card.

Read the full article, with examples HERE.

Our challenge is to choose a character or characters from literary history: a fictional character or the person of a poet, author or artist, and write a poem in letter form (or a letter in poem form).
Eg.  “My dear Heathcliff,
         Forget Cathy
         Pick me....”

You may choose to write from one character to another, such as Heathcliff’s unread letter to Cathy before he absconded, which he might have left under a rock on the moor.  What would he have said to her?

There is certainly a precedent for letter writing within literary circles. One immediately thinks of John Keats impassioned letters to Fanny Brawne, or Dylan Thomas's lyrical love letters to his wife, Caitlin.  

The Epistle takes into account the voice of the writer and the identity of the receiver.  All the rest is poetry.

This challenge may take some time and thought, but remember that the link will remain open for those who wish to add poems later in the week. 


Fireblossom said...

You come up with the best challenges Kerry. Seriously. I can't wait to try this one!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thanks, Shay. I fear I may be caught in the loop of the classics, letters and all the iconic characters of literature. Such fertile ground for the imagination.

Mary Ann Potter said...

Exciting! I know I have lots of characters and authors from which to choose!

Jinksy said...

No way could I be serious for this one! Sorry!

Mary Ann Potter said...

Done and done! I got carried away and included a book review, too. Hope y'all enjoy this post. I loved writing it.

shawnacy said...

oh wow... why is there never time? i'll be folding this idea up and keeping it with me for a bit. i might not make the linkup but there are some authors/characters that i absolutely NEED to talk to.

Lolamouse said...

Wow. This was a challenge! Went back to one of my favs for my poem.

Doctor FTSE said...

Based on a character who has fascinated me since his appearance in 1975 - "The History Man"

ami de manila said...

A beautiful and inspiring idea. Thanks! Characters are the life of the the novels if I may say so.

shawnacy said...

ok, it's not new, but kerry ok'd it anyway because she's the best. :)

Marian said...

hey kerry, i just wanted to tell you i've had this rolling around in my head all week, or better or worse. not sure anything will actually come out, but if it does, i'll let you know. sigh.

Mary said...

Kerry, this took me a few days to come up with; but I am very glad I finally came up with an idea!!

Grace said...

I am late here but I thought of trying out this form in a fun way.

Happy day ~