The Name as a Line

I have a systematic approach when it comes to beginning any assignment.

Step 1.) Open Word or Google Docs, ect.  

Step 2.) Write my name on the top left corner.

Step 3.)  Write the date.

Step 4.) Title the assignment.

Step 5. ) Begin writing.

Needless to say, there is little room for creativity. Everything is perfectly aligned, with no room for breathing space. I always assumed that the creativity was limited to the body of the work, with some exceptions for the title. The author’s name, the table of contents, everything else is standardized and rigid. My name acts as the gatekeeper to my work. Being a proper noun, it introduces my work in all its capitalized glory.

Therefore, I was rather surprised when I was presented with poems that had the author’s name coursing across the page in lowercase. I felt that surely this detracted from their authority as a writer; it must signal a lack of pride or confidence in their work. Now; however, I don’t believe this is the case– the poets are simply giving their name its own style and technique. In essence, their name becomes its own line.

Some poets represent themselves with their initials, just their first name, or a pen name. Once again, this is a stylistic choice. They are using the vessel of identity, something thought to be unchangeable, to either reinforce their identity or change it completely. The line consisting of the author’s name can shield the writer or expose them to the world. Thus, the stylistic choice of the author’s “signature” is a craft in itself.


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