"Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats is an example of an ode poem. William Wordsworth's "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind" also are well-known examples of odes.
The ode falls in the category of lyric poetry and is a formal address to a person, an event, or a thing. "Ode" comes from the Greek word "aeidein," which means to sing or dance. Grecian odes were typically set to music and accompanied by dancing. Romantic poets later used the ode to express their strongest sentiments.
Typically, an ode falls into one of three categories: Pindaric, Horatian or irregular. The Pindaric ode is named after the ancient Greek poet Pindar, who is thought to be the inventor of the ode. Pindaric odes are more theatrical than Horatian or irregular odes and were originally reserved for celebrating athletic victories.
Horatian odes are named for the Roman poet Horace. The Horatian ode is less formal than the Pindaric and is more appropriate for quiet reading.
Irregular odes employ all types of formal elements. These odes defy typical ode structures but maintain the tone and thematic elements of classic odes. Robert Lowell’s “Quaker Graveyard in Nantucket" is an example of an irregular ode.