DEAREST WRITER PALS,
This month, your challenge shall be easy—a poem in the form of a letter!
The EPISTOLARY form is wide open, and it’s going to be fun! You can write to a person, a place, a concept. You can write as yourself or adopt another persona. And address that poem to anyone you want: alive, dead, real, or imaginary!
WHAT’S AN EPISTOLARY POEM?
Epistolary poems have been around for a long time—starting with Ovid’s Heroides, which were letters from the heroines of mythology to their lovers, like Penelope to Odysseus. Epistolary poetry was popular in the eighteenth century and still is, because we’ve all got a lot to say to each other.
THE WORLD IS YOUR POETRY PEN PAL!
Did you read the New York Times article on unsent letters? We used to write angry letters to get our feelings out, and then put them away, having been relieved of the burden of our anger and cool enough to avoid a starting a brawl. Now it’s so easy to send, to post, to share. But what if we made some art out of it instead?
WRITE DAT LETTER!
This form is not just for angry letters. We need love letters! And observations! What would you tell your great grandfather about the weather, and your lunch, and the birds chirping outside your window? What do you think he’d have to say to you? Maybe you want to write an “OMG I LOVE YOU” letter to Steven Millhauser? You wouldn’t be the only one!
Because there is no set rhyme scheme or meter for EPISTOLARY POEMS, you can get wild with the form. Rhyme? Sure! No rhyme? That’s cool too! We get all giddy and sparkly in our hearts when you incorporate a form we’ve previously tackled in our challenges. Follow your instincts! See where they take ya!
ARE YOU READY TO WRITE YOUR LETTER?
For the official poetry person scoop on EPISTLES, check out Poets.org.
To learn more about the EPISTOLARY form, head on down to the Poetryfoundation.org!
And DEFINITELY check out "The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter" from your homies at the NYTimes! You’ll love it! Grr!!
ALSO, A SPECIAL PHOTO CHALLENGE THIS MONTH!
In honor of pens and pencils and crayons and paper and envelopes and stamps, we’d LOVE for you to write your finished poem out LETTER STYLE! On paper! Like a totally real letter!
Photograph or scan your finished EPISTOLARY POEM and submit the image with your text. Or do just one! Or do both!
1. Write an EPISTOLARY POEM!
Write that poem! Address anyone or anything you desire (or don’t desire if you’re feeling cranky). Try writing out your final poem on a piece of paper! And take a picture! Or scan it! It’ll add a whole new level to your writing experience—and to the world’s experience as your readers!
We are here for you as POETRY COACHES so email us your EPISTOLARY (or EPISTOLARY questions) and we will workshop!
Submission Period: April 16—April 30
Submit RIGHT HERE or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and attach an original picture or artwork or an image of your letter-style poem, if you want.
3. READ ALL THE LETTERS FROM YOUR PALS!
At poetryinvitational.tumblr.com. Mailing list people will also receive an email digest after the challenge. You’ll get to read all the poems from all your friends/strangerpals right in your emailbox.
Share your poem once it’s posted OR share the challenge with more writer friends! The Poetry Invitational community (and poetic awesomeness) keeps growing because of you guys and the poems you’re putting into the universe and the writers who are drawn to the work YOU’RE doing. How cool is that? SO COOL!
WE CAN’T WAIT
to see your glorious epistles. Your missives. Your communiqués! YOU CAN DO THIS. We know for sure that you’ve got something to say to someone, and now is your chance to write it!
With LOVE and LETTERS,
Beth and Marcella
It’s in EMAILBOXES and swirling all over the internet RIGHT NOW!
Oh, and your April Challenge will be COMING SOON! Yay!
My how you disappoint
Albeit, I’m not surprised
I am in denial
Negative ninny, I am.
Time cycles by
And you’re going around
In a loop.
Instead I am
Neither here or there
Guiding a path on a diagonal.
Stop being a tool
A selfish fool, you are.
Now you test positive
I am full of regret.
Tested positive too.
You’re a large mistake; took up so much time.
Inducement needed no more
Slowly taking hurt away
Thinking only negative thoughts
A future we can’t see
You’re a clown; the packed man.
Allow me peace
Wash it all way. Somehow
A summer of travel and exploration.
You, sexless spreading liar.
I don’t ask what’s wrong—instead say,
Maybe tell me what’s bothering you?
That’s how they trust—
How you become theirs.
Even the most angry, doubtful, unhappy—
Brave that leap between the brain guts and the
Sometimes they go from six feet tall down, down, down to
Seven years old, to the first day they became a self—smiling like
A puppy would smile, with different lips.
Please, they say without saying—
Please find something good here,
Left behind and forgotten because
Everything, everyone else makes, thinks, does it better—
So much better.
All people need is their compliment, the right one—just one.
Usually, it helps—marks the trails so they
Can find their way back—it works on most everyone—
Except for me.