Bloomsbury Review recently arrived with my interview with a favorite poet, Ellen Bass, Holding the Human Line, A Conversation With Ellen Bass. So I'm coloring outside the lines (poetic license?) and expanding this week's blog topic, "My Favorite Poem", to touch on two favorite books of poems and a sampling of an interview with the poet herself:
RS - Do you feel you've created a persona? There is an authenticity to the poems in both Mules of Love andThe Human Line, and I personally feel I am hearing you, or who I imagine to be you.
Ellen - This is a paradox where there are two truths. One is that there is a persona, that there's always a persona. The voice of the poem isn't--can't be--the person you'd know if you spent the weekend with me. Because it's a created voice, a "made" voice. It's poetry, not a person.
And the other truth is that the voice in my poems is probably more authentically me than I am. My poems expose not so much the events of my life, which are not all that different from the events of other people's lives in that we all love and suffer, we all have failures and regrets, we withstand losses and encounter unexpected joy. What the poems expose is the working of my mind. That's what feels more personal to me.
I often picture that I'm standing half a step behind the speaker in my poems. The speaker is a woman in her 60s living in the U.S. in the early part of the century, and I'm standing just slightly behind her, offering her the events of my life to make poetry out of.
(for more, see new, Vol 29, Issue 4, Bloomsbury Review.)
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