Columns by Honor Moore

Memoir and Poetry

8.28.09

Back in the mid-eighties I wrote a poem called “Memoir” for a friend who had died of AIDS. It seemed the perfect title for an elegiac poem that combined memory with dream and imaginative vision, so much so that I took it for the title of my first book of poems. When Memoir, a collection that drew on love, dream, memory, and family, was published in 1988, the title was seen as evocative and original. Memoir was an obscure genre—the earliest I remember reading was Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, in which the author’s prose was poetic and metaphorical and in which her narrative drew on myth and cultural history as well as autobiographical incident.

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