Imagine, if you will, what would a conversation be like between Barbie(tm) and Rapunzel? It might be interesting, right?!? Well, from the place of your own imaginings of that conversation gives a little insight into what I'd like to share with you today.
On Sundays, I look forward to the twitter chat called #poetparty. As I have followed this chat, I have learned so many ideas, thoughts, and basic knowledge on poetry. I also feel that I catch a unique glimpse into the minds of poets. Not only has it strengthened my desire to write poetry but also wamt to learn poetic forms and to read more poetry as well. Of course, it helps with my love affair with words too. I can't help but be inspired!
This past Sunday, June 12th, the #poetparty chat was on Persona Poetry. When I first heard about this topic, I realized I didn't understand the full meaning of what they meant by this term. Call me old-fashioned but I first consulted my rare 1980 Edition Funk & Wangnalls Desk Dictionary, which is one of my favorite dictionaries, where persona is defined as
A character in a drama, novel, etc... [L, person]
After this, I asked people around me, i.e., my husband & oldest daughter, for their insight into what they thought persona poetry might be which became a nice discussion on the idea that it would mean for poetry to be considered reflective and who would be characterized as the voice of the poem.
Next, I searched Google, as most do nowadays and found this description:
The speaker or voice of a literary work, or in plainer words, "who's doing the talking."
I enjoyed his idea of how it is applied to the poem in a nuetral sense.
Another basic idea of persona poetry is not to confuse the narrator or speaker of the poem with the author. For this type of poetry, the poet is imagining what it would be like to write a poem as someone or something else. Many examples were given such as writing in the form of a film/movie character, pop culture character, natural elements like flowers, trees, etc... There are many types of 'persona's' that a poem can be written in. The consensus was that quality mattered with this type of poetry. If a persona poem is well done that it is worthwhile to enjoyably be read.
One of the examples brought to light right away in the discussion was a poem being written in Barbie's voice. This caught my eye and I thought it was funny because to me Barbie is more than a doll, she's a character that I created in my mind when I played with her as a young girl. For hours, I used to play Barbie dolls making elaborate story lines all with set and costume design included. In my mind, Barbie can be anything she wanted to be which was usually right where I wanted to escape to in my young mind. So, for me she's not silly, or unintelligent but rather quite the opposite of that. So, honestly, I don't have a problem with Barbie being written into a persona poem. I am among the minor in this category, dare I admit this though, but I feel I can find value even in the most unexpected people or places. Key point is if I'm being willing to learn, for myself at least from them, anyway.
I wrote a prose piece from the mind of Barbie which I'll share with you here:
From the mind of this girl, I feel alive. She makes me live within her. I am somebody. It's not about how I look or what she even dresses me in. It's about the moments that she makes me feel successful. I am not just her doll but her dreams. I feel a connection each time she opens her closet where I exist and she lets me live. I feel real. I need to talk with her to let her know what she's brought into my life. I feel her communicating with me. I say the words that she longs to tell anyone who would listen. I am listening. I love her ideas on something special. I can't deny that I'd miss her if she ever went away. Most girls her age, no longer care for me or even have time to play with me anymore. She hides from the world to do so because her love is so great for our story line. I've been living her movie. I wouldn't trade it for another realm. I see from her mind what she could be. I am what she is afraid of - perhaps that is even being famous. Her definition of success is actually quite simple which makes it lovely. I love her kind heart and this make-believe world we live together. In time, I know it will end. Perhaps, it will be time to grow up and I hope she'll have the opportunity that came in her dreams. If I can let her feel, even briefly, that those dreams can be real I've done what I hoped to as her doll. Most of all, I want her to feel free to dream. In one day, she can really do all that we have had so much fun pretending. What she doesn't realize now, is how soon she'll grow up. It isn't far away. In her mind, I know we'll always be friends because her imagination holds her deepest desires and hopes. This means a lot. It is something I know she won't give up. I know in the way she treats me, holds me, dresses me. I am well-cared for so others in her life will be too. I am glad to have this glimpse into this girls heart. I am happy that she treats me as her friend. I like the characterization that she evolved for me. I will be the part of her memory that she may turn to when times become rough. I've been here for her. She knows this and in this way - the beauty is all of ours to share. Stay with your dreams - dear girl!
Another persona piece that I realized that I had written was a square dance motif that I wrote as a book review for Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale. See what you think here. I'm biased but I rather liked how it turned out. Aren't you curious now? ;)
Now, there's a little insight into persona poetry. I've realized now that I like it and want to write more besides I think I have used persona poetry more than I realized in the past. Let me know what you're thinking about it or share one of your favorite persona poems in the comments. Thanks!