Let’s All Write an Epistle Poem!

by Paul Mathers

The Epistle Poem is, as the title might suggest, a poem which is also a letter. I am, in fact, adding “Poem” to the end of the title of the form in hopes to clear up any confusion that we are simply writing a letter.

Letters were a thing that people used to write on paper to another person and then put in a paper covering, called an envelope, which they would then take to a thing called the post office for delivery to the addressee. Ron Padgett’s description of the form, in fact, seems to have been written in that strange period of time after people had stopped writing letters but before the advent of email.

There are many examples of the form, but there is no instruction on the actual form save for writing a letter. There is no preferred meter or addressee. So I wrote this:

An Open Letter to the Epistle Poetic Form

by Paul Mathers

First of all, I will not start writing to the dead.

That seems like one of the least healthy things I could do.

Second, I appreciate the offer

to send a thank you note to the butterfly

on my lunchtime walk today

who flew in concentric circles and

enringed me as I passed by,

or a collections notice to Genius,

or anything to anything or anyone

to accrue interest on whimsy

against life’s inevitable times of deductions.

But, all the same, no thanks.

I feel my future biographers will bear me out

that I need no instruction in the invention of pathetic flailings.

While flattered and tempted,

the sandal straps of imagination

are a bit too dear in the small print

in our time.

Third, but, in the interest of old acquaintance,

here is how I am doing:

The neuroses have diminished finally

which should save us on hand soap.

I saw an interview with Brian Blessed yesterday

that made me want to go hunt down

my joie de vivre, find where that floozy ran off

with my barbaric yawp.

Pray for me.

Also, finally,

We got a ceiling fan in the kitchen,

but Schubert still has that cough.

Hope this finds you well

in spite of your recent hard times.

Yrs. etc.,