Persona Poetry

Persona, said in context of the writing world, is when a writer writes in first person perspective with the “I” of the poem being an object, an idea, or another person. The “I”  –  also called the narrator  –  of this style of poetry can NOT be the writer themselves.  That is what makes this type of writing unique and most certainly impactful. Poets can dive in and use the (distanced from themselves) perspectives of objects, ideas, or other people to convey powerful messages, call outs, and show beautiful new ways of thinking. 

Below are a few examples of persona poetry being performed, and through these performances we can hear how powerful a poem can become when spoken aloud. These Speakers embody their chosen poems, bringing them to life and expressing them wonderfully. 

Trying my own hand at Persona poetry, I ended up with a collection that I call Breakthrough Persona. Wanting to follow the instructions of not bluntly telling what the narrator is, I decided to alluded to or hint at what my subjects where in their titles. Below are three poems from my collection Breakthrough Persona: stands of mental health, keeper of fiction that’s painfully true, and aspects of titles.

strands of mental health  

What happens after? 
What happens after the good days disappear 
and the bad are all you are allowed to wake up to?
When your feelings are fleeting 
and you get stuck in those in between moments, those transitions — 
what happens then? 
See, clothes cost money; you don't like pain; 
you refuse the drugs, the alcohol, the addictions —
you know those are more damaging, more altering,
than what you want to deal with.
Still, you chase to make a dramatic difference.
To find some reminiscences of control. 
So you find scissors. 
You know I'll grow back. 
Nothing permanent, but it feels drastic all the same. 
You grip me tight and pull me out in chunks —
you cut me off in ragged pieces,
stripping me of my color, my life, my health 
so as to change me to a shade, a style of your liking. 
Truly, what do you think of me?
Do you find my flatness borish or my curls a nuisance?
Do my split-ends and frizziness drive you mad?
They shouldn't, for these are the result of improper care —
I was not treated as treasure for what was natural, but scorned. 
You get angry at pieces of me that are of your own making,
for you did not take time to learn my ways nor 
did you take time to learn how to care for me.
Only time and gentle attention will fix this unruly, tangled, damaged mess 
that you have made of me. 

Simply learn my ways;
treat me in the right regard —
then I will follow.

keeper of fiction that’s painfully true.  

I am stained 
with tears as ink, 
with the essence of your being; 
your thoughts, your hates, and your desires.

You scratch me 
with words of graphite, 
with the shade of your mind; 
your wonders, your fears, and your wishes. 

So why do you tear me up into shredded little pieces of emotions and crumble me into a simple piece of trash — one that you don’t even think to pick up after you have thrown me towards the dumpster and missed —

why have you dismissed me so?

I am covered
with truths as fiction,
with a piece of your life;
your pasts, your presents, and your futures.

You line me 
with hordes of symbolism,
with a sliver of your sight;
Your perspectives, your actions, and your dialogues. 

So why do you fold me up into tiny squares of pretendence and hide me in the creased lining of notebooks — ones that you don’t ever think to open after you have stacked notebook upon notebook on what you want forgotten — 

why have you abandoned me so?

aspects of titles 

You get called a lot of things growing up. 
I might have been a nickname, a compliment, or an insult. 
I might have been a pet name, a label, or an evaluation.
I might be reserved for one person.
I might be reserved for many. 
When you were little, I was “curious”, “Momma’s girl”, and “mature”.
Now that you are older, I am “intelligent”, “independent”, and “childish”. 

I change as you grow and develop — 
new sides of yourself allow for others
to come up with more of me. 
So don’t be afraid, 
when I am changed on the whims of others; 
embrace me, take the new versions of me that you want, and disregard the others — 
for half of what they call you is made of their opinion, and the rest is what you decide I am. 

So that’s what i have on Persona Poetry! Hope you liked reading my blog about this topic, and maybe it will inspire you to try persona poetry out for yourself!

Author: Madison White

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” - ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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