Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Author and the Narrator

I was looking at a poem I wrote recently and posted on my poetry blog, Too You, Too Me, Too Us, and I began to think about how such a poem could be misinterpreted as being about an episode in the author's life. Since I am the author, I am certainly in a situation to address whether or not this particular poem is about something in my life. It is not. Those who know me have nothing to fear: no such arguments in fact take place between Anna and me.

So why did I write the poem? Well, on one of my recent songs, I made a typo, leaving off the "ng" of young in a line that had "I was too young." A commenter on my poetry blog pointed it out, hoping it was intentional, but suspecting, based on the context, that I had in fact mean "too young." I thought the idea of "too you" was an interesting one, too, and decided to write a poem around that idea.

The outcome was the above poem. A poem or a story has both an author and a narrator. They are not necessarily the same. Very often they are not the same. It is a fallacy to equate the author with the narrator in a creative work like a poem, short story, or novel. Looking to an author's biography can help one to understand his works, but not by confusing the experiences of the author with the characters and/or narrators of his works.

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