Mildura Writers Festival [July 24]
Last week I spent an inspiring three days listening to writers talk about their craft at the Mildura Writers Festival. One of the most illuminating was American poet Jane Hirshfield, the founder of Poets for Science. She gave a lecture in which she quoted Jack Gilbert’s poem ‘Poetry is kind of Lying’.
I have taken the liberty of re-working this piece for memoirists.
Memoir is a kind of lying
(with apologies to Jack Gilbert, via Jane Hirshfield)
Memoir is a kind of lying,
necessarily. To purge the heart
of grief. But also in
that stories hold only the present’s truth.
Those of us who, repeatedly, comb
the refuse (bones, scabs,
corks, spittle) are driven
to say too much.
Jane said (as Gilbert said that Degas said –
but did he?) – we need only pay attention
to enable us to see
the things we have to say.
(This piece was first published on the Mildura Writers Festival blog, July 2018)