The "I" in "Team": Persona, Dialect and the Lyric First Person
As readers we sometimes assume the “I” in a poem is the same as the poet’s me. The lyric poet may promote this illusion of spontaneous utterance and unmediated feeling. But the poet who believes the speaker in a poem is “me” may also be suffering an illusion that will mire the poem in mediocrity. How then do we reconcile the seeming contradictory demands of sincerity and craft? And how might the self be most evident in poems that foreground pretense and masquerade?
Gregory Pardlo is the author of Totem, winner of the APR/Honickman Prize. He is recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His second book, Digest, is forthcoming.
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