“When I teach, my analogy is that fiction is a huge tree while poetry is a bonsai. It’s immensely helpful to toggle between working on different scales. Fiction helps me infuse my poems with narrative. Poetry makes my fiction more deft, descriptive, and concise.”
So why, today, is autofiction making such a comeback? What does it do, or appear to do, that other forms do not? My guess is that, given how in our ethos, in the age of social media, privacy is passé and the personal is public, many readers want from their authors what they want from their friends on Facebook: personal transparency.
A premise: within every human being there is the vatic voice. Vates was the Greek word for the inspired bard, speaking the words of a god. To most people, this voice speaks only in a dream, and only in unremembered dream.
“One thing I did while writing this book was to try to imagine what it would mean if this world—with all its horrors, sufferings, reasons to turn away—were Paradise. That’s not a logical thought or a purely “positive” one. Among other places, it took me to Blake, in whose work affirmation and annihilation often mix.”
I want to think about distance and Jane Gregory’s new book of poems, Yeah No. Or something more like gapping. A space between concepts charged with those concepts’ distance, what holds discourse together (and molecules, and planets).