Way to Begin! Ab Ovo
When you begin a story ab ovo, you start it at the very start. Concerning epic poetry, Homer was praised by Horace for not beginning ab ovo in his tale of Troy. For Homer to begin ab ovo would have been to start at the very, very beginning: Helen of Troy’s birth from an egg. But Horace thought Homer made a better decision: to start in the middle of things.
So maybe you’ve guessed it? Horace coined the term from the egg to compare it to what he felt was the superior in medias res (in the middle of things) approach. Beginning from the egg can be a bit mundane, after all, as it can include too much information that bogs the reader down. Better to start where the real action is.
But sometimes you really do want to start ab ovo. For whatever reason. You’ve heard it somewhere before, right? “In the beginning…” (Yes! The book of Genesis.)
You can try it now, Horace be darned. Go ahead, go ab ovo.
Try It: Ab Ovo Poetry Prompt
Start a poem from the absolute beginning in the timeline of a small tale you choose to tell in your poem. You can use the classic opener “In the beginning” or find another way to signal the chronological beginning. If you like, try pairing your poem with the abecedarian form, which is a form that tries to express something in its completeness (From A-Z, as they say. Or maybe from egg to chicken.)
Featured photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver, Creative Commons, via Unsplash.