I love odes, as you can tell by the number of odes I have posted on this blog. I especially love odes like the one by Kevin Young that I posted today, poems that are both celebratory and critical (or at least open-eyed) about the thing they are ode-ing (not a word). These odes are more honest and are more surprising for the reader, which is what a great poem should be--not shocking, not out of the blue, but there should be something of a twist.
For this week's writing piece, write an ode that both glorifies something and exposes its flaws. You can glorify at the beginning and end with a critique in the middle, or start with the flaws and end with the glory (or vice-versa). You can jump back and forth between the two attitudes.
Besides today's "Ode to the Midwest," also read/re-read "Breastbone Ode" by Judith Montgomery and "Bless this Bagel" by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, with posted early on in the blog.
If you are still stuck, be inspired even more by any of these three poems and write an ode to a place, a body part, or a food. However, the world is full of topics that easily lend themselves to both praise and criticism, so you should have no trouble choosing a topic, especially something one does not usually find in poems. Some ideas: propane, rural churches, microwaves, slot machines, rattlesnakes, broken windows, princess phones, wedding receptions, and novelty pens.
As always, have fun, play with words, and remember that this is just a first draft!