Why I Ode-a...
Submitted by Larry Dean on June 17, 2013 - 2:42pm.
For our penultimate class, we looked at another famous poetic form. Odes are lyric poems about something you really like, and they tend to be longer, using that extra length to explain why the writer is so enthusiastic about the subject. The ode is a very old form, dating back to the ancient Greeks, but it continues to be popular today. I decided to focus on a contemporary poem to discuss, Kevin Young's "Ode to the Midwest."
In the poem, Young repeats "I want to" a number of times, suggesting, for example, that he would like to be "doused / in cheese // & fried," "live / forever in a Christmas sweater," and "be // the only black person I know." Looking at all these things he says he wants, I asked if they seemed realistic at all, and we agreed that some did while others clearly did not. Is he trying to be funny, I asked? Serious? Both? And how does everything pertain to Young writing his ode to the Midwest?
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