Moving from Lyric Poetry to Epic Fantasy

Before diving face-first into the world of epic fantasy, Brian Staveley wrote poetry. At first blush, the two enterprises couldn’t look much more different. Although epic poetry has its share of gods and monsters, the work of lyric poets like Elizabeth Bishop, John Donne, and Anne Sexton tends to be short on orcs, fortresses, and magical glowing swords. Conversely, the verse contained in epic fantasy tends to fall into two categories: drinking songs and elvish; Dragonlance isn’t exactly replete with searing meditations in the tradition of George Herbert or Robert Lowell.

Given the disparity in modes and methods, the move from lyric poetry to epic fantasy seems to make about as much sense as heading into the Alaskan wilderness wearing Hawaiian leis and a grass skirt. Much to Brian’s joy and surprise, he found that the hard won lessons of poetry are wonderfully useful; join us in this series of posts, where he’ll dig into the some of the most transferable lessons.

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