Another school year is upon us, and, as I do each year, I recall a story that the Chair of the English Department told at the start of the year when I was a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He said that on the evening before Fall Semester classes were to begin, he…

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Because my father lost his hands, my mother made a gift of hers. Cuticles ragged, knuckles scraped, fingernails smashed—farm work showed her no mercy. Her hands were made for more delicate things, but she gladly sacrificed them because, really, what else was she to do? My father needed her, and she loved him, so she…

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This post comes early because I’m off to Vermont bright and early tomorrow morning to teach for a week at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Postgraduate Writers’ Conference. If you can tolerate it, I’d like to say one word more about persona, this time in connection with poetry. I’ve chosen this old lyric poem…

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Personae and Tone in Fiction I’m still thinking about this issue of persona and how it contributes to the life of our prose. Part of the pleasure of reading a memoir comes from the resonance of different layers (or personae, if you will) of the narrator vibrating against one another. Does the same hold true…

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