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Week 6 - The Dialogue Poem

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When we think of dialogue, we think short stories and novels, play manuscripts and screenplays. That is, we consider pretty much every form of writing except poetry!

Allow me to introduce you to the “dialogue poem,” a style of poetry that consists of a direct conversation between two contrasting viewpoints. “Attic Dialogue,” by early 20th century poet Sarah Litsey, showcases a fictional philosophical bout between the famous Athenian sculptor Phidias and the legendary Sappho of Lesbos (the poet featured in last week’s announcement!). In it, Phidias laments that the physical grandeur of Greece will eventually crumble (Beauty dies, / the marble breaks) while Sappho counters that its art — its poetry, plays, and philosophies — will live on (But a song can steal… and reel / With the farthest planet). Notice, too, that in this poem exists an argument between the eye and the ear, between looking for proof and believing in beauty.

Phidias    Under the eyes
                 Beauty dies,
                 The marble breaks.

      Sappho    But to the ear
                       That wills to hear
                       Beauty speaks.

Phidias    The eye knows
                 How glory goes
                 Even from granite.

       Sappho    But a song can steal
                        From the heart, and reel
                        With the farthest planet.

For this prompt, try writing your own dialogue poem that details such a conversation between two people. Keep in mind that the conversations in these dialogue poems are usually between two characters that would disagree. For example, in Litsey’s poem, Sappho immediately and continuously contradicts Phidias’s complaints and laments.  following that theme of disagreement may assist you in your writing!

As always, I look forward to reading your excellent pieces!