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Sunday Scribblings #78: With Love, A Letter to My Daughter

September 25th every year is National Daughter’s Day here in the US, while the fourth Sunday in September is International Daughter’s Day. With that in mind, I am writing a letter to my daughter today, or rather penning an epistolary poem. So yes, today’s poetic form is the epistle or the epistolary poem. Read on to learn more about it, as well as discover other fun things.

Sunday Scribblings #78: With Love, A Letter to My Daughter

Poetic Sundays: Epistolary Poem (or A Letter to My Daughter)

Remember the joy of reading a hand-written letter, or even writing one? If you cannot recall, then it simply means you need to make those memories for the future! Anyway, there is a certain sheer joy in checking your mailbox and discovering, to your delight, a letter addressed to you; and even better, a letter that is hand-written by a loved one.

To be honest, I would not mind receiving a warm welcoming hand-written letter from a stranger. I know I have written postcards to many I did not know when I was little; it was during those years of chain mails. So similar to today’s chain emails or social media threads which go kind of like this, “send this to x number of people, and you will xyz.” But those chain snail-mails of yesteryear actually resulted in me receiving many delightful postcards from strangers around the world. I loved it!

Anyway, suffice to say I sorely miss the hand-written letter and while I have often remarked that I will get started on it, sadly I have not done so yet. Though I have written a few short notes as part of sending something else to friends and family by mail, or dropping it off for them by hand.

Now, coming to this week’s form: it is not really a ‘form’ per-se but more of a way to provide your voice an outlet. It does not really follow a format of any sort. Explaining the form will simply mean talking about more of a ‘what’ than a ‘how’. Truly, there are no rules to follow, nothing at all except for one: to remember that you are writing a letter.

The Epistolary Poem

The epistolary poem is one that is basically a letter in the form of a poem. Given that it can be written in anything from free verse to rhymed and metered quatrain, it offers complete freedom to the writer!

The word epistle comes from the Latin word (espistula) for letter; and the epistolary poem itself dates back to ancient Rome when the poet Ovid composed the Heroides, a collection of epistolary poems from heroines to their loves. This includes examples like Penelope writing to Odysseus, and Helen to Paris.

Just like any letters we write (well, we have not actually written any real letters for a while now, right?), an epistolary poem can be formal, or be more intimate. It can be information we are passing to the reader, or an expression of our feelings. We can choose to write to a real or imaginary person, to one(even ourselves) or to many, and even to inanimate things.

One interesting aspect of the epistolary poem is its audience: it exists within the poem (the addressee), and outside the poem as well (the actual readers of the poem, who may or may not include the addressee)!

The list is endless so I will provide some suggestions and ideas below to get your epistolary poem going!

A Letter, A Poem, A Hello: Tips and Suggestions

Forms

As mentioned earlier, pick the form of your choice. It can be free verse, couplets, quatrains, the soledad from last week, or simply anything you wish.

Inspiration

  • Pen an epistle poem to a loved one, like my attempted example today titled A Letter to My Daughter. You could even write it like a normal letter first, and then break it down randomly to see if it can be free-versed into a poem. If not, reword it and rework it to make it happen!
  • Is there someone you have been meaning to talk to for a while? Someone you have lost touch with, or someone not in your recent email/phone call logs at all. Pen an epistolary poem to them.
  • Write to another version of yourself; you a few years younger, or older than today. Or imagine yourself in the future, and write to the you of today! You can check out an example I tried here before.
  • Take pen to paper, and write to a stranger, or to the world as a whole. What would be something you would like to write to others about?
  • Do you have a favorite food or a pet peeve? Write to it.. I can imagine writing a love letter to chocolate any day, can’t you? You can write to any favorite (or not) thing –
  • that book that got you started on your reading journey, your first flight on a plane, your home town, that hole-in-the-wall restaurant, maybe someone or something that annoyed you and the memory still rankles? Check out Emily Dickinson’s epistolary poem to March (the month) at Poets.org (and so many more poems there)
  • Write to your favorite person (not a loved one, but maybe an author, a poet, an athlete/actor/etc, or even your idea of a favorite person(a))
  • Now write a letter as someone else (like Ovid did in the Heriodes).
  • As I mentioned, the list is endless, I can keep adding to this list..

My Example:

A Letter to My Daughter

Dear daughter,
Many a time did I attempt this,
this letter to you, my sweetiepie
The proof is in half-written miss-
ives, in books and nooks, low and high!

I dare not crumble up those unfinished parts
Each one contains a little bit of my heart
Who knows? Someday, I might put them together
Have all those wishes and feelings run into one another.

But I digress, my dear, for one thing I want to say
is something you likely have heard over and over
I love you, dear heart, today and to the end of days
I love you, darling, simply forever.

Words fail me as I try once again
to put down thoughts onto paper, well, to unpen
all those wishes and feelings I talked of before
mixed up with advice aka, words of wisdom (yeah, sure!)

So you see before you yet another message
with half-penned unpenned thoughts of mine
But I hope I have it down before I age
too much to the point where my memory declines!

But before I end this unfinished note
(Can I truly end what is not fully wrote?)
Just like I say at each day’s extremes
You are my sunray, my starlight, my sweetest dreams!

With love,
Mom
~Vidya Tiru @LadyInReadWrites

References and h/t:

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Recently

On My Blog And the Homefront

At home, it is still sinking into us that my son is now away at college, and ensconced in his dorm-room, busy with all that college has to offer. I end up cooking for all the four of us more often than not which means this past week has been a week of plentiful leftovers!! As we adjust and having written this letter to my daughter, I also feel inspired to write another epistle, a letter to my son!

So here are the posts since (and including) my last scribblings….

Upcoming

On My Blog and Home Front

It is Navratri Golu prep time for us at home. I have a theme in mind, it is kind of vague how it will turn out but I am hoping I can turn those half-baked ideas into some kind of a cool reality in the end. While the current situation does not allow for the kind of celebrations we have during this festive season (and last year is excluded completely, forget about it), I have to figure out a healthy balance of sorts.

As for the blog, I hope to get some more overdue reviews in here this week, and at least one other different type of post (fingers crossed!)

This Week’s Celebrations

Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)

Foodie Celebrations

Other Celebrations

Related Books and Reads

Book suggestions related to various aspects of today’s blog

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

I read this a while ago and it is sweet, perfect, inspiring, and everything in between! It is a heartfelt letter to daughters everywhere, an ode and a salute to so many historical greats, and simply a beautiful book in both its words and art.

Check out the link below to get a copy for yourself, or check your local library for one.

This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links . If you purchase through an affiliate link, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please see the full disclosure for more information. Thank you for supporting my blog.

Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings

So dear reader, this was it for this post. As always, appreciate and totally welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions on these scribblings on Sunday! And which of these days in this wonderful week do you plan to celebrate? Also, what would be your main message to your child or any child you cherish in a letter to them?

Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon

13 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #78: With Love, A Letter to My Daughter

  1. A lovely idea for a poem to celebrate Daughter Day. And filled with lovely thoughts. It inspires me to go write a letter. I think I shall.

    I bet you are missing your son. I hope he is enjoying himself and learning a lot.

    Have a great week!

    1. Thanks Deb, your comment inspires me to go to write an actual letter too! As for my son, yes, it is different without him at home though my daughter finally took his spot on the dining room table!! He is now all settled in and loving college life…

  2. I love your idea to write a poem letter for daughter’s day! This is so sweet and inspiring. I love poetry and writing letters. What a great way to keep writing alive!

  3. What a beautiful and loving poem?! I’m sure your daughter will be thrilled and be able to feel all the love that you send through those strong, powerful, and loving words. Vidya, I agree with you, there’s so much sentiment from receiving a handwritten note or letter. Gone are those days, but I do love how you are keeping it alive.

  4. What an amazing way to celebrate your daughter! The poem is beautiful. I grew up before computers so I do believe in the power of letter writing.

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