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Memoir Essay

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Monahan has a Ph.D. in English. She teaches at Wayne State University and operates an editing service, The Inkwell Works. In this essay, Monahan explores Van Duyn's diction as a means for understanding the layers of meaning in her poem.

In the sestina "Memoir," from her Pulitzer Prize—winning collection, Near Changes (1990), Mona Van Duyn explores connections between the sense of sight and the sense of hearing. She connects these sensory perceptions to the processes of writing, reading, and publishing, which are themselves prompted by feelings, specifically memory of lost love. Van Duyn compares the longing to hear or receive communication from another person to the reception of printed text, which in being read conveys through the eyes the sounds of the written words and the voice of the speaker in the text. The poem's sounds in this way reach the reader through the reader's eyes...

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This section contains 1,786 words
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Poetry for Students
Memoir from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.