The Antithetical Poet in A World of Nonfiction

Once upon a time, a student wrote an essay about building a house. A house of bricks.

All I could see in her narrative on building this house were the bricks she obsessed over. And the roosting birds. And the long-rooted oak in the middle of the field where she and her new second husband would build her very first house. Ever.

“I am not a poet,” she called to tell me.

That statement lead to an AWP panel called, Beyond the Gild: Lyric Imperatives in the Personal Essay, with the wonderful Bob Root, Steve Harvey, Jocelyn Bartkevicius, and Laura Julier.

Our mission? To explore what seemed to be a perception of the novice writer in creative nonfiction that the lyric impulse is somehow antithetical to the linear narrative of an  essay.  That essayist may embrace poetic language–meaning its musicality and vividness–yet leave untapped the essential “doorways” of poetry, such as metaphor, symbol, and imagery, which can deepen the revelatory journey of any kind of writing into self and world.

In other words, why not be a poet, too?

And, now, “I am not a poet,” has led to this blog  on Essay Daily:

Kathryn Winograd on The Lyric Impulse: Blizzards, Bricks, and the “Glaciology” of Lia Purpura

Warned of, craved, the blizzard finally barrels across the ice dark street. The known world whittles down to black elm, chiseled hoar frost, and my breath against the slim windowpane, periodic circles of clarity against a gathering snow, a white space.

“I am not a poet,” my student informs me . . . read the rest here on Essay Daily.


About womenwritetherockies

Literary women writing in the shadow of the Rockies: a community of like-minded women sharing news, readings, publications, and reviews.
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