A TINY PRIMER (AND PROMPT!) on ODES from Jona Colson, our poetry editor. We look forward to seeing your TINY ODES. We will publish all our favorites in our annual WWPH WRITES TINY POEMS special issues in August.

Submit your TINY ODE by July 15th via Submittable (free to submit) here

Jona Colson: Tiny Odes

Odes can cover a wide-range of themes, including love, nature, beauty, art, or even abstract concepts like liberty or justice. The language in odes is typically elevated, employing rich and poetic diction to convey a sense of reverence.

Take a look at some excerpts from Odes below. Each Ode is incomplete (there is more) but let’s look at the meditation on a subject. What characteristics do these odes have?

Ode to the Lemon by Pablo Neruda

From blossoms
by the moonlight,
from an
aroma of exasperated
steeped in fragrance,
drifted from the lemon tree,
and from its plantarium
lemons descended to the earth.

Ode to the Condom
By Sharon Olds (from Odes, 2016)

Rubber; safe; French letter; sleeve;
protector of the young so young
they do not yet exist; separator
of male and female; bundling board down the
middle of a Shaker bed; mechitzah
down the aisle of an Orthodox synagogue;
veil between the matters which create
spirit; Trojan; trumpet mute;
latex; superfine; reservoir tip;
Ramses, Fourex—some actually
made of sheep intestine, sparkling
with mammalian life, I never liked you.

Ode to Smoked Salmon Jerky
By Irène P. Mathieu (from milk tongue, 2023)

Ode to the moment, in the car,
on the luscious, drenched coast of Oregon,
I bit into it for the first time –

Ode to the Chinook people whose land,
roughly snatched, was home to this fish long
before it was home to the strip mall
parking lot next to Barnacle Bill’s, which
is my current asphalted heaven –

Ode to their name, which they gave this
particular species of coldwater fish,
thick pink flesh ribbed with good
fat, the kind bottled into vitamins
and sold to people who spend too
much time in parking lots and the dim
sadness of buildings –

PROMPT! Now, let’s write your own Tiny Ode (6 lines or fewer).

Here are some nouns to choose from:

Orange Chicken sandwich Wine Lemon Desk
chair Pencil Heart monitor Washing machine water
Bacon River Candle Pillow Books
Elephant Rock Eraser Bird Cat
Dog Dress Glasses Tomato Bunny
Library Mother Wife Husband Father
Tv Freezer Heater Hairdryer Microwave
Coffee maker Coffee Computer Laptop Phone
Battery Charger Airplane Bus Bus stop
Waiter Fork Knife Spoon Chopsticks
Water Tea Beer Beef Pork
Tofu Nurse Doctor Teacher Chef
Firefighter Head Finger Arm Eyes
Face Nose Bubbles Barn Bell
Bottle Bagel Cloud Cheese Cereal
Feather Fingernail Lilacs Lion Owl
Rope Straw Teddy bear Wing zipper

BONUS ... Find ODE TO MY MOTHER by Jona Colson as part of the 2024 Pride Poets series here. Write on all!