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Volume 3 | Issue 1 | September 2008 | 

Persona Poems
Introduction and interviews by : Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi


"persona poems", mirror specific sides of our condition as human beings

The question is just too wide to be covered by a simple answer. The "I", as you well know, could be anything or anybody, since poetry not only allows for this, but almost requires it. In the same way fiction requires the Author to speak through different characters. Poetic fiction is just infinite, there is a poem I wrote to "Nowhere," for example, by giving a person to the lack of space, title that was later on stolen and used by someone else as the title of her collection; oh, well.
I also think that it is one of the first and fundamental devices used in poetry. By analyzing the most intimistic poetic compositions, the "I' stands out unparalleled. You can easily notice it with the first lines written by children or adolescents, to be later on replaced or invested by infinite other subjects. The fact that the Poet is able to identify someone else in the "I" instead of him/herself, is quite interesting and talks of the refinement art can bring. Remember: "Being John Malkovich," one of the most interesting movies I watched in the latest years.
Who is fundamentally the speaking "I"? The same rhetorical question asked in class is a simple device to ask ourselves one of the most fundamental questions. The escamotage religions portray, especially the Eastern ones that see humanity as an only body, unveils the urge hidden behind several "persona poems." Without wanting to dig too much into the spiritual side of the question but without wanting to disjoin poetry from its main spiritual content, I can state that "persona poems," like all other poems, mirror specific sides of our condition as human beings. And welcome are Poets who can remind us of the complexity of our existence.
Here is my poem to Nowhere, from Opening and Closing Numbers, Chicago: Moria Books, 2005.

Dear Nowhere,

somewhere is here with its boisterous pretending
the wrong mystical notion made cement

maupassant _but well before him_denounced_was a stirring tendency to possess Earth
greed made to kill beyond frail perilous surviving attempts

somewhere is tightening its claws on irrational potential flights
within locked drops of absurdism depicted by few anxious minds who trespass
the -where to reach a not- cutting out the delimited some- heavy with surplus

since when you left
our lives are a misery with their inevitable ways in heaps of dusty traps and the barricades
pulling up
become further somewheres to which I go to keep my hope of you free from unwanted
psychological trends
caged boxes
reflecting stunned eyes for an absorbing unconsciousness - hypnotized under the
dictation of mental

please come back soon,

ANNY BALLARDINI lives in Bolzano, Italy. She grew up in New York, lived in New Orleans, Buenos Aires, Florence. A poet, translator and interpreter, she teaches high school; edits Poets' Corner - Fieralingue, an online poetry site; and writes a blog: Narcissus Works. She has translated several contemporary poets into Italian and English. Publications: Opening and Closing, Numbers,Poetry Blogs, Jacques Derrida,Instruments of change.









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