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Epigraphs

Started by nebo113, March 17, 2023, 03:07:23 PM

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nebo113

I always read epigraphs, either at chapter or book level.  Not sure why, as sometimes they don't make much sense in context.....But....do you and why.

apl68

Sure, I always read an epigraph in a chapter or book or poem when I see it.  It's part of what the author chose to provide us with, so the author presumably had a reason.  Although granted, as you said, the author's reasoning in putting it there isn't always obvious.

I've written an (unpublished) novel that uses haiku for epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter.  The story is about people traveling, so it's actually supposed to be a kind of haibun.
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
When this world's all on fire
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me

Parasaurolophus

If it's written, I read it.
I know it's a genus.

Antiphon1

Always read them.  For the same reason I eat cake with the frosting or dip chips in the salsa - the parts are adequate alone but better together.


Larimar

Epigraphs are carefully chosen by authors and for a reason. They are part of the piece. Therefore, yes, I read them.

I love the idea of haiku as chapter epigraphs, making a novel into a haibun! That's awesome, apl68!

AmLitHist

Done well, they offer an outline. And often they're good at explicating a chapter that I might not have completely understood.

apl68

Quote from: AmLitHist on March 18, 2023, 06:59:21 AM
Done well, they offer an outline. And often they're good at explicating a chapter that I might not have completely understood.

It's what I tried to use them for in my (unpublished) work.  A chapter in which characters explore a national park archaeology site begins with:

A stone cut with hands
Is just like any old rock
To the scolding jay

Another, in which they pass through an oil field, begins:

Life of long-past ages
Transformed deep within the Earth
Now turns our engines

It's hard to know when you're using an epigraph if you're being either too obscure or too on-the-nose.  Which is why I usually don't try using them.
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
When this world's all on fire
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me

nebo113

Quote from: apl68 on March 20, 2023, 07:27:55 AM
Quote from: AmLitHist on March 18, 2023, 06:59:21 AM
Done well, they offer an outline. And often they're good at explicating a chapter that I might not have completely understood.

It's what I tried to use them for in my (unpublished) work.  A chapter in which characters explore a national park archaeology site begins with:

A stone cut with hands
Is just like any old rock
To the scolding jay

Another, in which they pass through an oil field, begins:

Life of long-past ages
Transformed deep within the Earth
Now turns our engines

It's hard to know when you're using an epigraph if you're being either too obscure or too on-the-nose.  Which is why I usually don't try using them.

Very cool!  I have spent a fair amount of time at national/state/regional archaeology sites, primarily in the southwest.  Now I will ponder petroglyphs and oil......and tomorrow will beg for the name of the site.

apl68

It was Mesa Verde.  The characters spend a couple of chapters there.  They're all on motorcycles.  The story is also something of an homage to Robert M. Pirsig.
God gave Noah the rainbow sign
No more water, but the fire next time
When this world's all on fire
Hide me over, Rock of Ages, cleft for me

poiuy

Your haikus are very cool apl68!
I hope your novel gets published one day, I would love to read ii, epigraphs and all.
Is self-publication an option?

nebo113

Quote from: apl68 on March 21, 2023, 07:22:00 AM
It was Mesa Verde.  The characters spend a couple of chapters there.  They're all on motorcycles.  The story is also something of an homage to Robert M. Pirsig.

Mesa Verde is stunning.  Been a while since I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Let us know when it gets published.  Sounds like a good read.