The Epistle

This past July I participated in an email based “poem-a-thon”  activity facilitated by my good friend Juan Morales. The following prompt is one I particularly enjoyed and am now passing on to you (with Juan’s blessings).

Write An Epistle to Someone Who Inspires

Below, is a description of the epistle form from the PoeWar website (http://www.poewar.com/poetry-in-forms-series-epistle/):

Epistle (pronounced e-PISS-ul) is a poetic form that dates back to ancient Rome and to the Bible. It is a poem written in the form of a letter. The term epistle comes from the Latin word epistola, which means 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 epistles, as did Alexander Pope.

Over the past hundred years, as the telephone took over for letter writing, letters became less personal and more formal or business related. The concept of writing letters to relatives, friends,colleagues and lovers went out of fashion. In the last few years,
however, letter writing has had a rebirth of sorts as the Internet grew in prominence and people began to send e-mail to each other.

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.

Some things you should keep in mind when writing the epistle are who is writing the letter, who is the letter being written to, and how you would address that person. What would interest the writer and the recipient? How formal or informal would the writer be when addressing that person?

Share your epistle in the comments section below.

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