May 23, 2011

The Ode Less Travelled

The Ode Less Travelled
Stephen Fry


(May 23, 2011)

I came across this lighthearted – but far from superficial – book in a Kensington bookstore last year. I didn’t buy it then, thinking I wouldn’t really want to carry it around all day, and that perhaps it was a momentary whim. It stuck somewhere in memory, though, and – wonders! marvels! – the public library has a copy. So here we are.

Plenty of people are Sunday painters, Fry observes, and we all think that playing an instrument is a nice thing to do for fun. Why not verse? Fry takes a look at the nuts and bolts of writing poetry, especially using very traditional forms for comic effect.

Lesbian Sappho made this form

 With neat Adonic final line

Her sex life wan’t quite the norm

   And nor is mine.

Want to write an amusing sestina, or dash off a memorable ballad? Fry is your guy.