Do you think poets get less leeway than novelists? With a novel the audience presumably knows invention is part of the equation. Too often, I’ve heard poets who write in the first person accused of being merely confessional.
Everyone expects a poem to be literally true, but of course it’s not. A poem is a work of the imagination, and the self you create on the page isn’t the same person who washes the dishes and goes to the grocery store and tries to figure out how to fix the computer. It’s a deeper self, or maybe a self you can’t actually access in your daily life.
Or maybe it’s a self you don’t, or can’t, show to anyone in your daily life. It’s a part of you, but not the factual part, if that makes any sense.
I’ve often been labeled as a “confessional poet” because I write about personal things: finding or losing love, fearing death, feeling a sense of hopelessness about the world. But those are also universal things. I try to tell my little piece of it, and maybe it connects to what someone else feels.
And it looks as if there will be a sequel to Poet's Companion. She says when asked what she is working on:
"a sort of sequel or sister to a book. I wrote with poet Dorianne Laux, The Poet’s Companion.
The new book is going to be called Ordinary Genius. It’s about writing poetry and living a writer’s life, and has a lot of advice and ideas for anyone who wants to write poetry."
****I'll be looking forward to that.
Full interview here.