Truth or fiction in poems

At a high school once, during the Q & A following a reading I gave, a discussion of autobiographical or not autobiographical, a student said: ‘If I thought you’d made up all the stuff in your poems, I’d be really mad at you.’ And I knew how he felt, and in his place I’d feel the same way. It had not crossed my mind really that anyone would make up a life, make up these stories – it seemed so obvious to me they were being told, sung, from some inner necessity that rose in an actual life. But at that point I couldn’t come out and say that, I think I had some idea I was protecting someone, I’m not sure who . . .”

Sharon Olds , Interview by Marianne MacdonaldThe Guardian, Saturday 26 July 2008 (From here) 


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