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Poetry Competitions UK
14 Jun 2011

How to Write a Pindaric Ode

An ode is a lyrical verse and its name comes from the Greek aeidein, which means to sing or chant. An ode is typically written in praise of, or as a dedication, to someone or something that captures the poet's interest or is an inspiration for their ode.

There are three typical types of odes: the Pindaric ode, the Horatian ode and the Irregular ode. In this poetry writing workshop we're looking at the structure of the Pindaric ode.

The Pindaric ode is the original ode creation of the Greek poet, Pindar. Historically, the Pindaric ode's subject celebrates a person, place, event etc. and the Pindaric ode was a lengthy poem.

The Pindaric ode is written in a triad of stanzas, the strophe, the antistrophe and the epode.

The strophe and antistrophe consist of any number of lines of any lengths following any rhyme scheme that the poet chooses; however, they are identical in structure. The epode differs in structure in whatever ways the poet chooses to make it differ to suit his content of their ode.

Here is an example of a Pindaric ode by Thomas Gray:

Awake, Aeolian lyre, awake,                
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.         
From Helicon's harmonious springs             
A thousand rills their mazy progress take:    
The laughing flowers, that round them blow,        
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.            
Now the rich stream of music winds along,         
Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,     
Through verdant vales and Ceres' golden reign:
Now rowling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour:
The rocks and nodding groves rebellow to the roar.

Whether you choose to imitate Thomas Gray's style, or take your own inspiration for the Pindaric ode format, the ode is an excellent addition to any poet's repertoire.

If you've enjoyed this poetry writing workshop on the Pindaric ode, do have a look at the Horatian Ode and Irregular Ode workshops we also have in our poetry writing workshop section.

Why not submit your poem for one of our poetry competitions - simply use the poetry competition upload or email your submission to us at inbox@forwardpoetry.co.uk.

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