In the Palm of Your Hand: A Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit

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To write honestly means that you are willing to tell the truth about your feelings and perceptions, but that doesn’t mean you have to say anything about your own life that you wish not to. In the service of that honesty one may employ any devices, reach back into any memory, discuss any subject, call upon any emotion, and invent any fiction. You are not obliged to write raw autobiographical poems that reveal things you are not ready to have revealed. Honesty means, in part, to be able to feel one’s anger and grief and envy and frustration, to have the courage to look at one’s own life and thoughts so that one can tell the truth about how human beings think, feel and behave. It does not mean exposing yourself in ways that you do not find appropriate.

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