Writing an ode

There are lots of tools to help you

For special people in your life, there are some occasions which call for a toast, a roast or just a small speech. By writing an ‘ode’ ahead of time, you give the subject of your tribute the gift of careful thought about what you want to convey – and maybe some humor. It is easier to read an ode than to speak extemporaneously, so by preparing – you take the pressure off yourself.

An ode is a lyrical form of poetry. In fact, the word ‘ode’ is derived from a Greek word which means ‘to chant or sing’. Poets often praise people in odes and they can be solemn. To celebrate a friend you will want to be a little more playful than Keats and Shelley. Let loose.

Here are some tips on how to get started.

  1. Brainstorm and list all the words and ideas you associate with the person about whom you will write. For instance: entrepreneur, kind eyes, loyal and funny. What is important to you about the person? What does he/she do? What images come to mind? How do you feel about the person? Do not think about organizing your ideas. That will happen later.
  1. Group your brainstorms into relevant categories – personality, profession, recreation, relationship, memorable moments, accomplishments, chronological order… you get the picture.
  1. To rhyme or not to rhyme? Many odes rhyme and follow a repeated rhythm, but you do not need to be bound by convention. If you make up your own pattern – repeat it in every stanza.
  1. The ancient Romans and Greeks sang their odes. I can’t sing, but if you can, you might want to set your ode to music – or choose a favorite tune and fit your ode to the beat.
  1. Begin writing your ode.

Need some help? There are great resources online to help you write like a pro.

To find interesting and varied words, use a Thesaurus. You probably have a Thesaurus built into WORD. You can also use these online options:Visual Thesaurus, writing an odeVisual Thesaurus – Offers a two-week free trial, so write quickly or become a subscriber. It displays the word you have chosen and then maps related words, synonyms.

Visuwords – Maps words with a color code for the different parts of speech.

Use a Rhyming Dictionary to find words and phrases which rhyme with the key words you have chosen. What rhymes with ‘friend’?Rhyme zone for writing an ode


Writing an ode