Dear Diary…

Though we are alway supposed to assume that what our fellow poets produce and share does not give us insight about them, most of us automatically jump to conclusions, myself included. The moment I begin reading workshop pieces, I assume that the speaker or the protagonist is the author, although I realize that this is a grand fallacy. I even catch myself stumbling over this in workshop, as I critique someone else’s work. I typically consider the speaker and the author the same person, even going so far as to make the author’s name and the speaker, “I,” interchangeable.

On a similar note, I believe that writing poetry and sharing it requires bravery. Many of us write about deeply personal topics regarding our family relationships, pasts, sexuality, and heritage. Needless to say, it can be nerve-wrecking to take such a vulnerable piece of yourself and let a classroom full of students critique it.

Even when I read published collections, I mesh the author and the speaker’s identities together.

I believe that I stop writing from other people’s perspectives because it feels fraudulent and sometimes politically incorrect. I know that other people have struggled with this, as well.  If you do write a poem that does not revolve around oneself, how do you justify narrating someone else’s thoughts?

I was wondering how everyone else stops themselves from assuming that the speaker of the poem is in fact themselves. I also was wondering if anyone else gets nervous exposing themselves through their writing.

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