All lyric poets use the
Persona poems? Dramatic monologues. Browning's are very good, very dramatic.
His come across as speeches plucked out of a play.
Ai, an American poet, uses the form. She made
a name for herself with her book, "Cruelty."
Louise Gluck takes on a mythological persona.
It's a way of doubling off, of amplifying. Do
you want to experiment with them? Don't you think
all lyric poets use the mask; that is a voice
that is not their usual voice? Blaga Dimitrova
does, I think. Although I do not have a daughter--actually
I have a son who never begged for a tattoo--I
took the voice of a mother speaking to her daughter
in this poem:
You beg for a tattoo like your friend’s.
A band of stars at your ankle.
There’s no way to escape regret.
Indelible dye makes it worse.
Growth-spurts knock you out.
The cold makes you drowsy.
That’s nothing new.
Don’t sleep too long.
Dark night never gets tired of holding you.
Get up and remember the song.
You can sing as you dart and kick:
I have to be careful when I dance.
My dye-job is fading.
And white hair grows at the roots.
What do you want me to do? Lie here with you?
Or break every mirror and never go out?
I’ll wait for the sun to light us both.
You’re on your feet. We’re facing
the same way,
the sun does what it’s supposed to do,
the mirror angled to the window,
your face just behind mine.
Miriam Levine’s collection of poems, The Dark
Opens, was awarded the 2007 Autumn House Poetry
Prize, chosen by Mark Doty. She the author of three
poetry collections; In Paterson, a novel; Devotion
a memoir; and A Guide to Writers’ Homes in
New England. Her poems have appeared in American
Poetry Review, Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review,
The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Pushcart
Prize anthology. She is a recipient of a National
Endowment for the Arts fellowship and grants from
the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. Professor
Emerita at Framingham State College where she chaired
the English Department and coordinated the Arts
and Humanities Program, Levine lives in Massachusetts