Thursday, January 27, 2011

Notes on persona and revision

When I write a poem, no matter how personal it is, when I get it down on paper (or computer screen) and start to revise it, I depersonalize it. The poem may say "I" on the page, but I think "he." I'm aware that the person in that poem is a character I've created, a fictional character--a persona. So when I'm critiquing a poem, I'll always refer to "the speaker," or "the character," or "he" or "she" -- never "you." It's not you any more, no matter how much it may be based on you. It's a character you've created. And as you revise, your responsibility is not to keep that character true to you, but to make that character true to his/her own self.

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