Enter the Epigraph

As artists we are always attempting to be original. To break the status quo. To write the next best, mind-blowing masterpiece. Sometimes, though, we sequester inspiration from our peers or our favorite writers.

Enter the epigraph.

I realize that the epigraph is slightly controversial in that it can be distracting from the primary work; however, I would like to try at least one or two poems that are composed from a pre-existing work or quote.

Using epigraphs does not detract from the author’s personal creativity or originality. Epigraphs can act as stepping stones for your own ideas.

Perhaps the reason I am eager to add an epigraph to my work is my love of quotes. While many quotes can be labeled as cliche, I find some to be very raw, honest, and eye-opening. All of these characteristics are things that I want my writing to be infused with. On the other hand, some epigraphs raise questions, which my work tends to lack. Incorporating such real life questions in my work will only strengthen me as a writer.

How does everyone else feel about epigraphs? Feel free to share experiences at previous attempts!

One Reply to “Enter the Epigraph”

  1. Rachel, I like this thought experiment! I have also been nervous to use epigraphs in the past because they seem to detract from what the author is saying. But I’ve also found that they can lend an even deeper meaning for the reader as the reader goes farther back into history and considers all the factors that have led to the poem they are now reading.
    Also, I think that every writer owes a debt to those who have gone down before them, and if we obtain inspiration from someone else, it’s humbling to us and honoring to another author to give them credit for inspiring us.

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