Remember, when you travel to the world of poetry, the rules of prose still apply

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From Sharon Hamilton’s Essential Literary Terms:

“…the reader may have to guard against the temptation to equate the writer with his or her invented speaker.  In fact, however, even when there is no clear distinction between the narrator and the character, the narrator remains a quasi-fictional speaker, contrived for the purposes of the particular story” (Hamilton 112).

I do not usually have any difficulty separating the speaker and the author in prose.  The challenge arises when we travel into the realms of poetry.  In poetry, we usually have little background or context for understanding who the speaker is, whereas in prose, we usually have a name and know something about the character.  Or even if the narrarator is not one of the characters in the book, it is still clearer that the narrator is not the author.  But, in poetry, even though I know that the speaker and the author are not the same, it is very easy to forget.  It takes a conscience effort to retain the firm distinction between the two in my mind.    

1 Comments

Kaitlin Monier said:

I agree. It is easy to see in prose that the narrator and author are different. However, in poetry when there is no main character and simply a speaker telling of something, the speaker and author seem to blend together.

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