What do you think about scribbling? Not on walls, but on paper? For me, scribbling random things is to writing, as doodling is to drawing (art). Do you think so? I have a hodge-podge of thoughts scattered over various notebooks and on digital devices as well. I am hoping that someday those thoughts will transform into something more, not magically of course (a girl can still dream though), but with some effort and being able to see the magic in, and make sense of those scribbles. Some of those, in my mind’s eye, are epic, which could mean awesome and awesomely long poems.
My Sunday Scribblings is not exactly that, but kind of like that. Random musings as well as a look back and forward as I talk to all of you, my favorite readers!!
The Epic Poem
I am moving from the invented forms I was exploring, just for this week. Reading about, and writing a post which involved mentioning the Ramayana many times over, made me decide to pick the epic poem for this week’s poetic Sundays. But do not worry, I will not be writing one today (may include an attempt; a start to one though I doubt I will write a complete epic)
What is the Epic poem?
An epic is a long, often book-length, narrative in verse form that retells the heroic journey of a single person or a group of persons. Elements that typically distinguish epics include superhuman deeds, fabulous adventures, highly stylized language, and a blending of lyrical and dramatic traditions.
The English word epic comes from the Latin epicus, which itself comes from the Ancient Greek adjective ἐπικός (epikos), from ἔπος (epos),”word, story, poem.”[wikipedia]
The Epic’s characteristics
While many elements such as meter, rhythm, rhyme can vary depending on the culture where the epic originates(d), the epic also has certain common characteristics:
- Beginning: Typically begins with an invocation to the muse; and the story itself many times begins in medias res.
- Hero(es): a wondrous, magnificent, almost superhuman (often times, godlike, or a form of god) hero(es). This hero (or heroes) embody the ideal values of the civilization.
- Setting: a vast setting spread across worlds and nations, including the heavens and the underworld too often.
- Far-fetched? Not really!: Grandiose is the epic normal. The poet, while maintaining an objective, third-person style narrative, also does not hesitate from using exaggeration. There are many instances of the epic simile (also called Homeric simile) And yes, the narrator is omniscient
- Journey: an epic (had to use this word here) journey often made by the hero(es) across that vast setting where they have to face seemingly endless, insurmountable, supernatural obstacles. Life is truly not fair for these epic characters, but in the end…
- Where the gods and demons don’t hesitate to intervene in the affairs of mere mortals. Why, they need to instead to keep the epic moving forward!
- Everything is epic! Lengthy lists of just about all that is needed to describe people, places, armies, and more. The epic narrator loves cataloging.
And in the end, the epic is usually a fabulous worthwhile read!!
Examples of Epics
So pick one today, and if you want to check out the Ramayana translated to English in verse form, Gutenberg has the same here. Other examples include (with links to read them where available)
- Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey
- India’s great epics: The Mahabharata and the Ramayana
- Virgil’s Aeneid
- Epic of Manas
- Dante’s Divine Comedy
- Firdausi’s Shahnameh
- Epic of King Gesar
- The Icelandic Sagas (I discovered this recently – thanks to Leif Erikson Day)
- and many more (check this Wikipedia list)!!
h/t: wikipedia, Masterclass
My Example Epic
(the start of one, not the invocation, straight to the story)
My first attempt.
My Most Recent Posts
From my last Sunday Scribblings…
- 9 Great Books for the Indian festival of Navratri
- The World of and Books by Sudha Murty
- Top Ten Tuesday: The One With Long Book Titles
- When Stars are Scattered – Graphic Novels are Powerful
- Sunday Scribblings #46: Oh Well, Can’t Think of a Title
As I mentioned earlier, I am excited to be a round 1 judge for the Cybils Awards. I am reading (read as devouring) non-fiction for children (from the youngest to YA).
My bookstagram attempts
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Book Review: When Stars are Scattered All the stars and more for this book!! From the description: Told in Victoria Jamieson’s engaging and accessible graphic-novel style and based on Omar Mohamed’s gripping true story, this book is an intimate, important look at day-to-day life in a refugee camp. My First Thoughts: I recently finished reading When Stars are Scattered, and suffice to say, it left me …. well, with my thoughts scattered all over. It took me a while to gather those thoughts together and write the review for this powerful, must-read-for-all-ages book. Check out https://bit.ly/3dvzQ3x for my full review. . . . #whenstarsarescattered #graphicnovels #middlegradebooks #graphicmemoir #bookish #bookcommunity #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #bookreview #readersofinstagram #readmorebooks #booklove #kidlit #omarmohamed @victoriajamiesonbooks #childrensbooks #booksaboutrefugees #refugeestories #refugees #ladyinreadwrites #mustreadbooks #booksforallages
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Book Thoughts: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry Reading When Stars are Scattered reminded me of another book, Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars that I read and wrote about a couple of years ago. While the two are different, there are parallels we can draw between them, and the fact that we can do so filled me with mixed feelings of sadness (that we can draw these parallels between history and the present) and hope (that the desire for a better world keeps us working towards it, since every little thing counts; and because of the marvel that is human perseverance) Check out https://bit.ly/3nZvczt for my thoughts on the book. Also look forward to another Lois Lowry book review on my blog soon (it wowed me) . . . #ladyinreadwrites #numberthestars #numberthestarsbook #loislowry #bookishquotes #bookreviewer #bookstagram #quotesfrombooks
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Day 289, 2020: “Blue is the only color which maintains its own character in all its tones… it will always stay blue; whereas yellow is blackened in its shades, and fades away when lightened; red when darkened becomes brown, and diluted with white is no longer red, but another color – pink.” — Raoul Dufy, French Fauvist painter When I first read this quote, it gave me pause….. . . . #rebel_colors #rebel_sky #picturethis365 #289_u #its_my_week #ladyinreadwrites #myweekofonecolor #beachesofcalifornia #californiabeaches #highway1 #raw_colours #raw_colours_ #thecolorblue
On My Blog and Home-front
I am doing a lot of non-fiction reading, for the Cybils! So expect to see reviews of the best non-fiction books of the year (from those for the youngest reader to YA reads). I will of course sneak in some fiction reading in between and hope to post those if possible.
We are celebrating the Indian festival of Navratri (17th October – 25th October). This is a festival for socializing, big-time. Whether it is the Garba dance (originated from the state of Gujarat in Western India); or if it is the Durga Puja (originally celebrated in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal); or the Golu (from southern India); each of them means lots of socializing. But with the current situation, that is not happening. So we are toning it down – a whole lot down – by keeping it virtual. The normally bigger display of dolls I have (check this post for previous pictures) is now reduced to a smaller one to maintain tradition in our household. And sending wishes with the pic – just like an annual holiday greeting during Christmas!
This Week’s Celebrations
Here are some of the fun ones I know I will enjoy celebrating.
- National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day – Third Monday in October
- World Statistics Day – Oct 20
- Dessert!! Of course, I had to include a sweet treat, and when it is cheesecake, definitely.. It is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day on Oct 21st (though I don’t need a reason to celebrate cheesecake in any form!)
- We sure do love nuts in our family – of all kinds!! So maybe that is why we are a little bit nutty ourselves?:) Anyways, it is National Nut Day on the 22nd of October, so feel free to …go nuts .. about nuts…
- National Make A Difference Day is celebrated on the fourth Saturday in October. It is just what it says it is – make a difference in someone’s life. It can be something as small as a kind word to someone, or volunteering where it is needed. So many ways we can do this everyday and not just on these specific dates.
- United Nations Day is on the 24th of October while it is International Artist Day on the 25th
And did I miss mentioning this before? October is National Book Month
Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings
So dear reader, this was it for my Sunday Scribblings. I would love to hear your comments on my post(s), poetic Sunday section, and anything else. And which of these days do you plan to celebrate (or any other)?
Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon
3 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #47: Epic – Awesome and Awesomely Long Poems”
You’ll have to join #NonFicNov since you’ll be reading a lot anyway
Happy (virtual) Navratri !
Wishing you a great reading week
It seems more important than ever that children have access to excellent nonfiction. And there is much compelling nonfiction for them now, and I’m glad of that. Glad you are enjoying your stint as a nonfiction judge.
Epic poetry usually comes out of an oral tradition, I think. Are there any modern epic poems? The nearest form to an epic I ever tried to write was a ballad.
I think I will look for When Stars are Scattered.
Have a great week!
More exciting books! How exciting for you to be chosen to judge Cybils awards!