An elegy is a type of poem that is dedicated to the memory of someone or something special. They can be written about a loved one or an event that is surrounded by a feeling of tragedy or loss. This means that an elegy can be a very emotional piece to read or write.
The typical elegy is composed of three stages that reflect the three stages of grief:
• The first stage is lament (or sorrow), where the poet captures the emotion of their initial moment of loss. You may wish to describe what is missing from the world now that your subject has departed. You may have regrets. Or you could describe the results of a tragedy.
• The second stage is praise, where the poet admires or idolizes the subject. You may wish to celebrate how your subject will be remembered or what they did that made them unique. Use the senses to create vivid imagery in this part of the elegy.
• The third stage is acceptance, where the poet offers words of consolation or achieves peace. You may wish to focus on the lasting impact of your subject or how it will always stay with you.
Modern elegies are not always written out of a personal sense of grief. They can be in free verse or follow a more classic form, like the elegies that originated in ancient Greece.
This can be a deeply emotional form of poetry, but it does not have to be sad. Your elegy can end on a happy note as you remember the life, rather than the death (or devastation), of your subject.
Written by: Laura Clark
* Laura is a 23 year old English woman with a history degree residing in the UK. She has been writing for many years and enjoys writing horror/fantasy stories, as well as poetry. You can view her work at: https://inspiredstoriesandpoems.wordpress.com/
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Categories: Writing Tips