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Memoir Summary
Mona Van Duyn

Everything you need to understand or teach Memoir by Mona Van Duyn.

  • Memoir Summary & Study Guide
  • 1 Encyclopedia Article
  • 32 Literature Criticism
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Memoir Summary


Mona Van Duyn first published "Memoir" in the summer 1988 issue of the Yale Review. Subsequently, the piece appeared in her 1990 poetry collection, Near Changes, for which Van Duyn earned the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1991. Near Changes was Van Duyn's seventh published collection of poetry. She first introduced readers to her work with her 1959 publication of Valentines to the Wide World. Since 1990, Van Duyn has published two additional collections, Firefall (1993) and If It Be Not I: Collected Poems 1959—1982 (1993).

Like much of Van Duyn's work, "Memoir" is written in a strict poetic form. In this case, Van Duyn uses a form called the sestina, which is a thirteenth-century poetic form based on the number 6. As a sestina, the poem's first six stanzas are made up of six lines each, and the same six words (or a near derivative) serve as the final words in the work's first thirty-six lines...

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Memoir Study Guide

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