Nearly two thousand years ago, the Roman poet Ovid wrote a series of letters in elegiac couplets during his exile from Rome called the Tristia. The poems capture Ovid’s final days in Rome, as well as his journey overseas to Tomis on the Romanian coast of the Black Sea, and are addressed to various figures including his wife, loyal and disloyal friends, and he even composes his epitaph. “I who lie here, sweet Ovid, poet of tender passions, / fell victim to my own sharp wit,” writes Ovid, translated by Peter Green in The Poems of Exile: Tristia and the Black Sea Letters (University of California Press, 2005). Inspired by this epic elegy, write a poem from the perspective of someone in exile. What does your speaker long for, and how does exile force them to voice unspoken concerns?
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Author: Writing Prompter