The Prose Behind the Poetry

THERE is a conventional wisdom, not entirely without foundation, that poets ought not to write their memoirs. The life, so the argument goes, is already there in the poems and more vividly so than it is likely to be in prose. No matter how “objective” the poetry may seem or how extensive the use of personae and dramatic monologues, the “personality” is still there. T.S. Eliot argued that “personality” is what the poet needs to escape from but, of course, his own poetry is redolent with it. Leeward: A Memoir by Geoffrey Lehmann New South, 417 pages, 2018, $34.99 On…

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