Amazing Kids! Magazine

Ode to the World

By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor

 

An ode is a particular type of poetry in which a subject is described and praised. When you write an ode, you thank the subject for improving your life. It doesn’t have to be a significant improvement. You can write an ode to something as grand as the moon, as Mary Darby Robinson did, or to something as simple and ordinary as salt, as Pablo Neruda did. No matter the topic, when the author allows his or her feelings to seep into the writing, an ode is a very moving composition. They are a great way to spread joy and gratitude to remind people of all the great things in the world.

Choose a Subject

The first step in writing your own ode is to choose a subject. Remember—your ode can be about anything. Think carefully about people and objects in your own life: What makes you the happiest? What would you like to share with the world? It is a good strategy to be very familiar with your chosen topic, so you are able to write plenty about it.

Make a List

So far, your audience knows what it is that makes you happy but not why it’s special to you. To brainstorm, grab a piece of paper or a computer and write as much as you can about your subject. This should be a writing sprint, so challenge yourself to write nonstop for several minutes. By recording your rawest thoughts on paper, you can successfully flush out everything you know and love about the subject. Don’t be afraid to be messy! Nothing you come up with in the brainstorming phase has to be a part of the final poem. This list is for you, and you only. After you cannot write anything else, examine your list again. Choose your favorite ideas with which to construct your ode.

Use Second Person

An important detail to remember while writing your ode is that you are addressing the subject. Pretend that you’re writing a letter to explain directly to it explaining why it is so wonderful. Therefore, as you would do in any letter, write in the second person. Say “you” instead of “it,” and treat the noun as a name. For instance, if you were to write an ode to marshmallows, you might say, “Marshmallow, you feel so soft.” In this example, “marshmallow” is a name, and “you” is its pronoun.

Have Fun!

There are no specific rules associated with odes. You can make yours long or short, rhyming or not. All of that is up to you. Be creative while writing! Many odes, especially when the subject is inanimate, project human qualities onto the subject to emphasize their points. This practice is called personification. For example, in “Ode to Marshmallows,” you could say, “Whenever I squish you, you hug my fingers.” This is personification because hugging is a human action, and attributing it to marshmallows makes them resemble humans. That being said, have fun constructing your ode and personalizing it!

Ode writing is a lot of fun, and it’s very useful in developing your feelings or just giving back to the world. Try it out, and see how you like it. Here’s one more tip for you: An ode to your parents makes an excellent Valentine’s Day present!

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