Need ideas for epic poem

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Tremayne
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Need ideas for epic poem

Post by Tremayne »

Last year about this time, I read about a challenge that Shelley made to Keats to come up with a 4000 line (as I recall) poem in rhyming couplets within six months. I would like to try writing a long poem in rhyming couplets but can't think of a topic/story line that will fit. Usually long poems are the exploits of heros, especially of the mythological sort. Now I have no problem coming up with ideas for novels, even sequences of novels, but an epic poem is a beast of a different shade. I begin to fear I lack a necessary sense of the grandiose. Any suggestions?

(And yes, I know I'm crazy but every now and then--too often really--I like to try something completely beyond my capabilities).

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Post by Magus »

Hmmm... first idea that comes to mind, because I had to do this as an assignment this year most likely, is to write some kind of modernization of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. That can be outright hilarious depending on what people you do. The person I did was "The Band Nerd" and, being one myself, had much fun with it.

Or you could try something more similar to Beowulf. Have a hero come to a plagued land and have him kill the beast that assaults them.

Or maybe you could try a hero trying to find something he lost or is contracted to secure and all that happens while on the way.

There are a lot of ways to go about this. But there are some simple ideas to help you get started. Good luck and be sure to tell us how it goes!

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Post by Tremayne »

Thanks, Magus. Some good ideas there. I had considered a Beowulfish scheme. Keats had attempted a rewriting of the battle for power among the old Greek gods. I'm still mulling and will let folks know if I finally settle on something and give it a try.

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Post by aldan »

I'm glad to see someone else is planning to attempt an Epic Poem. It was suggested to me in the poetry forum that I take a poem there that I'd written, called Treachery, and make it an epic. I will not do the couplets thing, as I've found that I tire of reading that sort of poetry after too long, even if it's well written and cleverly done. I also don't enjoy writing with such strong strictures upon my writing. Instead, I prefer to choose what rules I will follow in the poem that I will write and then write it out. That way I will be able to still stretch myself if I wish, but still maintain my own interest and sense of personal creative freedom.
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Post by Magus »

On my literary to do list is an epic poem. Also on there is an epic Haiku, stream of concious novel, modernization of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and a few other articles as well.

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Post by Tremayne »

Aldan, I am also almost exclusively a free verse poet. However, lately I've decided to try rhyming again. I'm pretty abysmal but that's no reason to stop trying. The project, thus, is a stretch for me in terms of both form and conception. But I'm essentially doing it as an exercise, not an attempt to write great poetry but just to see if I can do it and how it may change how I think about poetry after the attempt.

This is the second "challenge" I've taken on. The first was to write 366 poems in a year, the same amount as Emily D wrote in her most prolific year. Note I didn't say write 366 good poems or poems in her style, just 366 poems. That was challenge enough and by god I was ready to not write poems for a while after I completed it (this August). It was a great exercise though, forced me to see poetry in places I wouldn't otherwise have looked and to write in whatever mood, letting it come out in the poem.

But the Shelley/Keats thing is entirely different. I may look into Diana/Artemis or the fates as a subject. Will have to do a little research though. Greek myth is not fresh in my mind at all.

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Post by Magus »

366 poems in a year, eh? That actually sounds interesting. I think I'll take on that challenge. And what better time to start it then New Year's? We should try to do that here, just to see how well it goes.

:rofl:

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Post by Tremayne »

Yes, your smiley is laughing now but round about poem 220, how will it be feeling? Perhaps it will just be laughing for a different reason. :lol:

Actually it would be great to do Emily D challenge with a few other people. You can cheer each other on--or moan together, share poem ideas, etc.

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Post by Magus »

You should post some of yours on here. I like reading poetry (A short concise read) and am more than happy to offer comments. And there haven't been overly many as of late. You have 366 just lying around, why not share one or two hundred?

:wink:

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Post by aldan »

Well, I added one and also adjusted another that I'd previously posted, Magus.

I, too, feel my strength is in free verse. However, I've been forcing myself to work more with the rhyme and rhythm in my poetry. That's what you'll generally see from my posted poems here now. One thing that I've liked about doing this, especially with rhythm, is that it really helps me in my prose writing to create and adjust the flow of my writing to go well with the feel I am attempting to communicate in each particular area and situation in my story/ies. Very handy, I've found.

I have quite a few poems posted here on this site if you wish to look at them. I have no stories posted, though, because I am focused entirely on completing the first draft of my novel project right now, but I don't have the ability (right now, due to Holiday distractions) to focus on it as I would need, so I've had to set it aside for the time being... and I do hate that!
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Post by Tremayne »

Many many many of the poems I wrote for the Emily D challenge were throwaways. But I did come up with quite a few good ones as well. Eventually I'll share them here. Unfortunately, I've shared a load of my poetry on another site and am rather tired of my own stuff at the moment. We'll see. Like Aldan, I'm turning back toward fiction. Except for this epic poem bit that nags at me as writing problems tend to.

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Post by aldan »

As Tremayne implied, the pestersome poem does angrily annoy, but naetheless I continue to strive to avoid annoyance as 'twill tend to 'turb and twiddle my creative senses, which will continue to cause the imposing problems that the nag does grow hoarse over. It's rather like shooting off flares as an alarm for a fire.

However, I have found that for myself, I cannot keep poems that lack quality, else they will like cancer eat at my creative insides 'til destruction is imminent.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and to appear stupid than
to open it and remove all doubt."
---Mark Twain

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