July 6, 2014

Are All the Break-Ups in Your Poems Real?

If you are a poet and publish or give readings, you may have been asked questions about your poems. Readers and listeners often wonder how real or autobiographical the details in your poems might be.

Some readers expect that the first car you owned in that poem must, in fact, be the actual first car you owned. That Francine who was your first kiss - Was she really your first kiss?

How honest do you need to be in your poems? How autobiographical are your poems and how much poetic license do you allow yourself? Is there a line of fiction that poems shouldn't cross?

For this month's prompt, we consider the questions readers ask (or might ask) about your poems.

There are two poems by Aimee Nezhukumatathil that serve this prompt. First is her poem, "Are All the Break-Ups in Your Poems Real?" I like the way she answers that question in several ways and I think for many poets the answer does depend on the poem and situation.

The second poem is "Dear Amy Nehzooukammyatootill" in which Aimee gives us a found poem, composed entirely of e-mails from various high school students. (As the title implies, Aimee's last name is a tough one for most readers.) The students have asked questions and made observations about the poet and her poems. The poet responds - but only through her selection, arrangement and repetition of the found comments.

What are readers asking you about your poems, and what are you answering?

Submission deadline: July 31, 2014

Aimee's website is at http://aimeenez.net 

1 comment:

  1. People often have this narrow minded way of thinking about most of my poems. They often do not understand the beauty of personification whenever I write. So , as expected, they ask so many questions. But I try to explain my poems the best way I know how.
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