Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Looking for the Real Thing

How does a writer bring a character in her work alive?

The Steiny Road Poet brings this question up because she realizes that it is not enough to say, as she said in her previous post on Found Poems, that to create new poems about such an artist as Paul Bowles, she does more research.

The obvious research is to become intimate with an autobiography, biographies, letters of one’s interest. Less obvious is to read the books that influenced your subject. Therefore, the Steiny Road Poet is reading Andre Gide’s Les Faux-Monnayeurs (The Counterfeiters) and its companion journal because Bowles read Le Journal des Faux-Monnayeurs on his trans-Atlantic crossing when he ran away from college in 1929 to Paris. Le Journal tells how Gide wrote his 1925 novel that was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1947. What excites the S. R. Poet is that she sees Gide’s complex story about sex-in-all-sorts-of-categories illuminating Bowles’ hard-to-understand sexual identity.

What remains to be realized is whether the Poet’s research will yield a worthy poem.

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