First person character studies
Worried that your poems are getting samey? That your poems are restricted
by your "voice" and experiences? That you're parodying yourself? Then be
someone else! It's more common in prose than in poetry, but even in poetry
you don't always have to "write about what you know".
- Role-playing helps with writer's block.
- It extends your range, adds to your voice.
- It's a popular prizewinning format!
- Pure - Try to keep "in character" - hard, but I think the most satisfying
(like Alan Bennett?). Limit your vocabulary. Use cliches!
- Mixed - Combine aspects of the character with your own - their thoughts
in your words, their situation with your emotion.
- Types (postman, burglar, murderer)
- Famous historical characters. Bystanders at historical events.
- Mythical/religious characters. Postman Pat.
- Being patronising
- Men should beware of writing from the viewpoint of a female rape victim
Interviewing the Milkman - Tim Love
- Carol Ann Duffy - Aesop's Wife, Midas' Wife.
- Vicki Feaver - Judith
- Blake Morrison - The Yorkshire Ripper
- T.S. Eliot - Journey of the Magi
Mr Beckett? Never saw him, even through the net curtains.
His empties were immaculatedly washed though,
lined up on the doorstep. Cream on Sundays.
"No Milk Today Thankyou", his notes said at first.
Black ink; small, precise, rewritten each time. Only later,
a typewritten "No Milk Today Please", unsigned,
weighted down by coins that were still warm.
Write a poem in the 1st person. Choose a character unlike yourself in age,
morals, gender, and/or language ability. Whether the people are famous or
not, you can do research!
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Tim Love, April 1996.