“I just think that praise is such an intense passion with our species,..The drive to thank someone for a gift, friendship or whatever it is, that has made a huge difference to us. It’s part of the reciprocal contract, I guess, and surely it’s one of the things art is for. I would think it’s for that reason for many of us to write love poems, positive poems.” - Sharon Olds
“Ode” comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and belongs to the long and varied tradition of lyric poetry. Originally accompanied by music and dance, and later reserved by the Romantic poets to convey their strongest sentiments, the ode can be generalized as a formal address to an event, a person, or a thing not present.There are three typical types of odes: the Pindaric, Horatian, and Irregular. The Pindaric is named for the ancient Greek poet Pindar, who is credited with inventing the ode. Pindaric odes were performed with a chorus and dancers, and often composed to celebrate athletic victories. They contain a formal opening, or strophe, of complex metrical structure, followed by an antistrophe, which mirrors the opening, and an epode, the final closing section of a different length and composed with a different metrical structure
Ode on My Episiotomy
Kimberly Johnson, 1971
Forget pearls, lace-edged kerchiefs, roomy pleats—
this is my most matronly adornment:
stitches purling up the middle of me
to shut my seam, the one that jagged gaped
upon my fecund, unspeakable dark,
my indecorum needled together
with torquemadan efficiency.
But O! the dream of the dropped stitch! the loophole
through which that unruly within might thread,
catch with a small snag, pull the fray, unknit
the knots unnoticed, and undoily me.
Don’t lock up the parlor yet; such pleasure
in unraveling, I may take up the sharps
and darn myself to ladylike again.