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Introduction & Overview of Memoir by Mona Van Duyn

This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Memoir.
This section contains 221 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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Memoir Summary & Study Guide Description

Memoir Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading on Memoir by Mona Van Duyn.


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. Van Duyn intentionally highlights and repeats the words "ear," "sound," "eye," "lose," "words," and "print" throughout the work as a way to explore the idea that the printed word is an invaluable safeguard against the loss of art and poetry with the passage of time. Dedicated to Harry Ford, Van Duyn's editor, "Memoir" is a tribute to the editor's role in this preservation process.

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This section contains 221 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Memoir Study Guide
Memoir from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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