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Author Archive: "Lucia Perillo"

The Polymorph’s Perversity


It should not be so hard to write both poetry and fiction. Both arts, after all, make use of the same materials, words and punctuation. Poems frequently utilize the strategies of fiction, which in turn, in the hands of the best writers, listens carefully to the sounds that it is making. Even poems which do not tell a story contain descriptions of people or settings, and all poems have to figure out how to handle time, which is usually the tallest obstacle that stories also have to hurdle.

And yet few writers have been officially crowned in both genres — just Thomas Hardy and D. H. Lawrence come unequivocally to mind. In my high school in the 1970s, we read Sylvia Plath's Bell Jar, but the critical consensus has come to be that Plath's novel lacks the maturity of her poems — even Plath dismissed the novel as a potboiler — and it is not now given equal footing in the canon. Prolific novelists, such as John Updike and Margaret Atwood, ...


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