Write a poem in the form of a letter (epistle)

See Also: How to Write A Cinquain

Dear Readers,

I am writing to tell you about epistle. Epistle is a poetic form that is written like a letter. The type of letter can vary: love letter, postcard, business letter, sales letter, email, and in this day and age even a text message. It can be written to a real person or to an imaginary person. It can be written in your voice or in that of anyone else from the president to Socrates to Jennifer Lopez. You can even address a letter from your sofa to your recliner. This is poetry after all.

Epistles are one of my favorite forms because there are so many interesting options to play with. If you like to write persona poems (poems from another person’s point of view) this is a great form for you. It is so flexible that you can even write a letter from someone else to you. If you prefer to write in your own voice, but have something you want to get off your chest, this is also a great form for you.

I know dear reader, that you will enjoy this form if you just give it a chance. I hope you will.

Warm Regards,

John Hewitt

Today’s Poetry Prompt

Write a poem in the form of a letter (epistle).

Dear Kanye West

I don’t know your work
I mainly listen to old blues songs
Seventies art rock
And audiobooks
But I have always admired your name
It flows well and combines an unusual first name
With a very standard last name
Which works for me
So I notice when you make the news
As you did this week

You interrupted an awards show
And told a girl that someone else deserved
What she got
It’s the Video Music Awards
So it seems like a pretty minor triumph
To call her out like that
Especially since no one shows videos anymore
Except at the Video Music Awards

A day later
You cried on Leno
In front of way more people
And of course you performed

I don’t watch Leno
Especially in prime time
But I think you are going to do quite well
At whatever it is you do

5 thoughts on “Write a poem in the form of a letter (epistle)

  1. (For the sake of the exercise taking personally a comment that may or may not have been directed at me.)

    “Get a Life”

    Dear CyberFriend, thank you
    for this excellent advice.
    I also liked
    the suggestion of hobbies:
    speed-dating, you thought,
    or the gym.
    I’ll certainly try hard
    to fit something in
    between making poems,
    running writers’ groups online
    and also off,
    arranging my trip interstate
    for a featured performance
    this coming December,
    regretfully declining the latest
    invitation to Texas again
    for the festivals,
    planning my new course
    for the Community College
    in “Brilliant Blogging”,
    editing a friend’s website
    as a gift because
    I like him,
    editing a student’s assignments
    for the lovely money
    (liking her too),
    visiting a sick cat
    an hour’s drive away
    to give Reiki,
    afterwards having a swim
    in the grateful owner’s
    heated inground pool,
    attending Tai Chi classes
    weekly during school term,
    taking long walks
    on the local beach,
    doing beginners’ weight training
    with my husband,
    being his official carer
    and usually his chauffeur,
    taking the Minutes
    of Neighbourhood Association meetings
    monthly as their Secretary,
    reading my way
    through the library books
    piled beside my bed
    and constantly changing,
    rewriting my Tarot course,
    testing the proposed upgrade
    as I go
    on the current students,
    working at the markets
    giving psychic readings
    three Sundays a month,
    doing daily magickal rituals
    which I love,
    casting spells as needed,
    interacting with nature spirits
    and with angels,
    looking after my cats,
    sometimes cleaning the house,
    pruning and weeding
    the resurgent Spring garden,
    waiting again for buds
    on the rosebush –
    that twice yearly miracle
    both Spring and Autumn
    (just add water),
    assisting a writing student
    who decided to produce
    a class anthology,
    taking a car-less friend
    on fortnightly shopping trips,
    giving budgeting advice,
    having a monthly massage,
    meeting friends for coffee,
    going to movies,
    watching favourite TV shows,
    also catching old movies
    now on DVD,
    talking to old friends
    on email or facebook,
    making new ones
    on MySpace and Twitter,
    discovering all the ways
    of cyber activism
    e.g. for the Iranians,
    Aung San Suu Kyi
    and climate change,
    taking part in meditations
    both worldwide and personal
    to manifest peace,
    and in global Reiki groups
    as and when requested
    sending absent healing,
    listing the names
    of people who approach
    asking that I start
    a lightworkers’ group
    here in this locality –
    and I will, but
    it’s just, when?
    I could go on
    but it’s now clear
    why you think
    I need a life
    not to mention hobbies.
    I simply don’t
    blog all this stuff;
    not a daily diarist.
    I post essays
    on matters of opinion,
    or for light relief
    fill in quizzes.
    I confess I only
    occasionally manage to read
    other people’s blogs,
    even yours, which may
    surprise you – notwithstanding that
    it’s so enthralling
    reiterating your life dilemmas,
    those circles you keep
    going around in …
    anyway I do hope
    I needn’t give up
    my self-pampering sessions:
    the long, leisurely baths
    with scented oils, candles
    deep breathing exercises,
    colour therapy and meditation,
    to get this Life
    dear CyberFriend? g2g

    (Because it’s so long and prosey, I made a pattern of words per line: 4/4/3)

  2. An Epistle

    Dear Heavenly being above

    I have loving parents
    Great friends
    And a nice home

    I am blessed with
    A brain that works
    And knows what I want
    And how to get it

    I enjoy my studies
    And look forward to classes
    And know how to do my assignments
    And when to do them

    But when am I still feeling bored
    And the occasional restlessness
    And the urge to drop everything
    And fly somewhere exotic?

    Perhaps you accidentally left in
    A tiny wandering lust gene
    When it was me
    On the production line?

    From yours truly,

  3. This poem is a direct response to the prompt,
    but also a response to the heckler’s comments
    (pleas see day 21)
    Here goes…

    Dear John,

    This is, my friend, the second time
    you’ve asked our motly little group
    to write a poetic epislte.

    Perhaps you think more highly of us.
    then we think of ourselves,
    Perhaps you’re just a bit delusional.

    But, for me, I have trouble enough
    when writing letters prosaic,
    to even attempt a letter poetic.

    And from the dearth of comments
    to your grand epistilic request
    I’d say that I’m not quite alone,

    Please excuse this lousy attempt,
    and recall that we all admire
    you attempts to encourse our poems.

    30-day poets.

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