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Volume 3 | Issue 1 | September 2008 | 

Persona Poems
Introduction and interviews by : Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi


"Why do I feel I am absent?".
This terrifying feeling brought tears to my eyes when I was 9 years old. We were in a bus : my parents , my five brothers and three sisters with some of my nieces and cousins, leaving for one of our beautiful northern cities for summer vacation. Everybody was so happy , sunny and real .I was not sad of course , only I couldn't feel my self ; as if I was a shadow ,a ghost and out of the circle of time and place, like a hypothetic point. Even when I closed my eyes, I saw a strange place, where I had never seen before.
"Why do crowded places highlight my selflessness ?"
At that age I didn't know the cure for this disease is "poetry". I needed time to discover that the only way to relieve this feeling of strangeness and absence is writing.
In an interview with Rati Saxena ,in answer to one of my questions about the reason why she writes ,I received an amazing answer ,clarifying the selflessness of a poet:
"Every minute I loose my self and every minute poetry tries to bring back me to my self.
Writing, is in fact the possibility of appearing . My true self can't come true but in the process of creating. And what is creation but rebuilding the world by our imaginations ? And is imagination anything but the power of incarnation or ability of entering to the "self " of others: from living creatures to lifeless things? In this sense , each poem is a persona poem because a poet "has no identity – he is continually in for – and filling some other Body-",according to Keats.

"Priceless" doesn't mean valueless. It means extremely valuable. Selfless of a poet has a contrasting meaning too. Various selves co-exist in a poet. Marina Tsvetaeva was loyal to her husband until the last moment of her life but her other selves wrote many love poems to the men she never met .

Edward Hirsch says: "Every poem is a scene of language" .And on this scene, from love and madness to death and life nothing is real for this actor or actress: poet.
Sylvia Plath goes beyond death in her poem: "Edge". She wrote it one week before her suicide. According to Edward Hirsch:" The curtain has at last come down. The play is over , the essential biography of the writer completed ,the great work done. Eternal rest to the maker .But the lyric left behind proposes a legacy beyond death, an immortality ".
Peri, an unknown poet goes beyond madness in "letters from madhouse". The bed of a heartbroken woman in a madhouse is a good scene for the poet to write about social and political pains .When the curtain falls, the waves of an immortal ocean is survived ; as vivid as life and love.

Let us ask poets to say about persona poems or the roles they have played on the scene of language.










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