What draws you into a story may be a little different than what pulls me in, but I think we can all agree that we want something intriguing that really grabs our interest. Reading real life biographies and memoirs can be very attention grabbing because it is not just a fiction story, but it is real life drama from real life inspiration. It can be exhilarating to see the struggle and triumph of others. What could be more fascinating than the unvarnished struggles and achievements of a poet?
Before we explore the various poet memoirs in the library system, I want to feature a poet that has written several of her own and has even written a book about the art of the memoir process.
Meet Mary Karr, an award-winning poet originally from Groves TX who currently lives in New York City. She has written 5 poetry collections and 3 critically acclaimed memoirs. Along with being a poet, speaker and professor of literature at Syracuse University, she is also a song writer. She has collaborated with Rodney Crowell, Norah Jones, and others on a country album called KIN. How cool is that?!
To add to the list of accomplishments, she has written “The Art of Memoir”. A book that delves into her process and includes a deeper insight into the back stories of prior memoirs. Mary slices into the bread of what a great literary memoir can be. She shares with us the concept of memory and identity. She says there is cathartic power in reflecting on the past. What really hits home with this book is that it is not just a detail of what to do; it is full of compassion, self-doubt, true humor, and wit.
Now that you have seen how entertaining and insightful memoirs can be, here is a selection of memoirs on a variety of poets. Each one has their own unique life and struggles that proves; life is truly poetic!
You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know
“I’m a poet,’ I concluded
‘What does that mean?’ the child asked
‘I say out loud things that others only
whisper to themselves and then forget”
― Valentina Quarta