How to Write an Elegy
- Pick a subject. For the best elegy, it should be someone you knew and loved, but is now gone. You can also write about someone you didn’t know, like a dead artist or historical figure, but the emotional connection probably won’t be as strong.
- Think about the person’s qualities, both good and bad. What was their personality like? What was their outlook on the world? What did you have in common with the person? In what ways were you different?
- Write with emotion. A true elegy is written with emotions of sadness, loss, and reflection. In writing one, though, you should just write whatever feelings you genuinely have toward the person you’re writing about. Even if the result is not a normal elegy in terms of its emotional tone, it’s better to be authentic about your emotions.
When to Use Elegy
An elegy is a poem, so it belongs solely to creative writing. There’s no reason to write an elegy in an essay. Aside from poetry, though, elegy can have applications in other artistic fields. Music is an obvious example: many of the elegies in this article are songs, and this is a very common topic to write a song about. You can also express your emotions about the dead in any other artistic medium, such as painting, drawing, or instrumental music. Even though it wouldn’t technically be an elegy (since it’s not written in verse), such a work of art could still be elegiac (elegy-like) and very powerful.