On Me, My, I and You in poems

I pick up a pencil or flip open a laptop and my fingers want to tell you my secret everythings

I pick up a pencil or flip open a laptop and my fingers want to tell you my secret everythings

I-s abound in my writing. Studying at University, there were a bunch of us who all felt the need to somehow empty our work of I-s. Perhaps this came from a feeling of being encumbered by ourselves, our personalities getting in the way of our aims. Perhaps. I recall being impressed by work where a seemingly clumsy voice was replaced by something more subtle. Now I’m not so sure.

I have come to like the I-s, me-s and my-s in poems more an more. There’s an honesty in saying something so direct, and owning it. It is like owning up.

But there’s also an opportunity for some hiding in plain sight. I’ve begun to become more aware of how one can become so many slightly modulated versions of one’s self. It’s just such a subtle game. And the danger is that the I becomes misread as something more static and belonging to the day-to-day face used for work encounters.

I am drawn to those who place the I at the centre of their writing. Billy Collins manages to write I and look at himself as he does. Tony Hoagland and Stephen Dunn, too.


About grahamcliffordpoet

Graham is an award winning poet, based in London. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing, and has since published nationally and internationally, winning many awards and performing at some of the most prestigious and well known Literary Festivals. His debut collection, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren.
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