did she take
the paper flowers
and the huge golden butterfly
inhabiting her head
(along with the stuffed
in her ribcage)
and without saying a word
lay them out
on the wooden
~Nikos Engonopoulas. from the Poem: Aubade.
–Artwork: ‘Dream’ by Van Renselar. One of my favorite artists. Visit his site here.
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In general, the writing of fictional characters is dependent on the larger work, and it is the larger work that reflects the author’s worldview.
Lyric poems present a slightly different picture (as can first-person novels, though often to a lesser degree). A lyric poem depends on the development of a single sensibility. That sensibility might involve a construction called “I” that could stand in for the poet, but it could just as easily take the form of a Greek warrior (Tennyson’s “Ulysses”) or a giant toad (Bishop’s “Rainy Season; Sub-Tropics”). Which is to say, lyric poems don’t have characters, they are characters — and characters with an oddly doubled aspect. We hear the voice of the poem, but we also understand that we’re hearing a filtered version of the poet’s own voice. We’re hearing both a giant toad and Elizabeth Bishop; both Gerontion (who may himself be more than one person) and Thomas Stearns Eliot; both “I” and Robert Frost. The poet isn’t so much taking on a character as donning a mask. (from ON POETRY, Flying on in the Reflected Sky: Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Selected Poems’ and ‘Pale Fire.”by David Orr, in Sunday Book Review, The New York Times, published July 20, 2012.)
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“One secret of personal lyric is that it extends a ‘lyric invitation’ to the reader: identify with me for the length of this document (poem/memoir)–‘become’ me and see through my eyes, think with my thoughts.”
~~~Gregory Orr, Poet and Author. From Gregory Orr: memoir as ‘lyric invitation’ at Narrative. Read the complete article here.
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My dad taught me that to be a writer is a decision and a habit. It’s not anything lofty, and it doesn’t have that much to do with inspiration. You have to develop the habit of being a certain way with yourself. You do it at the debt of honor. I’ve written 13 books now. It’s not really important that I write a lot more books, but I do it as a debt of honor. I got one of the five golden tickets to be a writer, and I take that seriously. I don’t love my own work at all, but I love my own self. I love that I’ve been given the chance to capture the stories that come through me. ~Anne Lamott, Interview at Goodreads
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