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Elegy [Australia and New Zealand]:
An elegy is a lament, a formal poem of loss and grief which pays respect to the attributes of someone who has died. Traditionally a public poem, the elegy reflected the mores and beliefs of the community. The subject was praised in terms of perceived social virtues.
By contrast, the modern elegy often focuses on private grief, reflecting the diminution of the role of public poetry in society. Nevertheless it retains its dignity and importance and can play a significant – and comforting – role in funeral ceremonies.
While an elegy does not seem to be wedded to any required pattern, it does have a fine tradition and many inspiring examples. In The Making of a Poem: a Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms we read: β€œThe best elegies will always be sites of struggle between custom and decorum on the one hand, and private feeling on the other.”
For the Yellow Moon competition, you are asked to write a poem in 11-24 lines, free verse or traditional. Your elegy may be a formal poem for a public figure whose contribution to society you admire, or it may be a private poem for someone you loved and respected.
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