The literary tradition of persona, of writing poems in voices or from perspectives other than the poet's own, is ancient in origin and contemporary in practice. The embodiment of different voices is a moment of true empathy, as the author moves beyond his or her own margins to fully inhabit the character, personality, and mindset of another human being. While there are a great number of poems written in persona, there are no current anthologies that collect and celebrate the diverse writers who work in this mode today. Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz have selected a superb collection of approximately two hundred persona poems. These poems embody characters from popular culture, history, the Bible, literature, mythology, and their diversity is reflective of the wide range of authors working in this genre. The anthology also contains brief explanatory notes written by the poets to help historicize and contextualize their characters and personae.
About the Author
Stacey Lynn Brown received her MFA in poetry from The University of Oregon. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies, including Crab Orchard Review, Poetry Daily, Barn Owl Review, The Rumpus, Waccamaw, Poetry Quarterly, Natural Bridge, and The Southern Quarterly. Her first collection, Cradle Song, was published by C&R Press in 2009. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Oliver de la Paz is the author of his previous collections of poetry: Names Above Houses and Furious Lullaby, published by Southern Illinois University Press and Requiem for the Orchard, published by The University of Akron Press. A recipient of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Artist Trust, he is the co-chair of the advisory board for Kundiman.org. He teaches English at Western Washington University.