Years later their progeny Lyric Essay—half-prose and half-poetry—dresses in loose tunics, wears his hair slightly too long to be considered conventional, and whiles away his days wandering through forests and meadows while contemplating metaphors for life and love. He spends his nights lying in soft grass gazing at the constellations while neighbors gossip across the fence and cluck their tongues at his seeming lack of discipline.
Something like water, or the color blue. Like music, lyric paragraphs make use of silence. They draw attention to their own density. In navigating them, the reader perhaps confused, perhaps delighted becomes a stakeholder in their meaning.
What do the white spaces signify? What does their silence say? In the introduction to a issue specially dedicated to the term, they write: It may merely mention.
It is suggestive rather than exhaustive. The lyric essay, though it unfolds over a longer span of time, might be seen as accomplishing something similar: Plurality is one consequence of fragmentation.
The white spaces might be read as the necessary separations between nodes of a network, or as intervals between distinct voices that together form a chord.
Or we might view the recent emergence of networks and rhizomes as evidence that there are more ways of conceiving of structures—more ways of reading—than we might have previously granted.
Productive of what, in this case? Or, well, at least not the front. Maybe lyric slips through a side entrance; maybe it tunnels into the basement; maybe it parachutes onto the roof and slides down the chimney. Lyric is often defined by what it is not: In a sentence deleted from the essay yet printed and widely circulated later, Mill used an image of spatial marginalization to compare the poet to someone crying out in a solitary prison cell, overheard by the reader on the other side of the wall.
Mill himself admits as much, acknowledging the inherently performative character of lyric: The actor knows that there is an audience present; but if he acts as though he knew it, he acts ill. In Eros the Bittersweet, Anne Carson describes this triangulation as fundamentally erotic: Lovers and readers fantasize about freedom, but require structure.
The category contains everything from journalism to memoir to biography to cookbooks.
Anne Carson, in her essay on the lyric, 'Why Did I Awake Lonely Among the Sleepers' (Published in Seneca Review Vol. XXVII, no. 2) quotes Paul Celan. What he says of the poem could well be said of the lyric essay: The poem holds its ground on its . The Seneca Review: Introducing, Defining, and Promoting the Lyric Essay Since its inception in , the Seneca Review has published mostly poetry. As essayists, our interest in SR began roughly thirteen years ago, in Fall , when the “lyric essay” made its first appearance. Anne Carson, in her essay on the lyric, 'Why Did I Awake Lonely Among the Sleepers' (Published in Seneca Review Vol. XXVII, no. 2) quotes Paul Celan. What he says of the poem could well be said of the lyric essay: The poem holds its ground on its own margin.
But it is quite clear about what it refuses. Why is this particular dividing line so bold? Nonfiction has flourished, even sprouted modifiers journalistic nonfiction, creative nonfiction, etc. Presumably, because the umbrella term has been imposed from the outside, rather than chosen by its practitioners.
There is power in naming. Next American Essay is an unusual anthology. Why begin in ? This choice might seem appropriate for an anthology of lyric essays: The climax of both happens simultaneously, with the naming of the lyric essay.
In his commentary, he gestures as far back as Cicero and Sei Shonagon. Plutarch and Plato, he suggests, were proto-lyric essayists. Such transhistorical mapping of genre has its advantages, and may not be entirely self-serving.
Reaching back into history for the presence of the lyric, critics run the risk of anachronistically imposing Romantic constructions of the individual self onto earlier time periods.Once the term “lyric essay” became institutionalized by journals like Seneca Review, a writer could sit down and intend to write a lyric essay.
Maybe she’d already been doing so, with or without the term in mind, but now she could write with more clarity about her aims and audience. Lyric Essay is a contemporary creative nonfiction form which combines qualities of poetry, essay, memoir, and research writing, while also breaking the boundaries of the traditional five-paragraph essay.
As a genre unto itself, the lyric essay tends to combine conventions of many different genres.
About. Seneca Review, founded in by James Crenner and Ira Sadoff, is published by Hobart and William Smith Colleges Press. Distributed internationally, the magazine's emphasis is poetry, and the editors have a special interest in translations of contemporary poetry from around the world.
This fall, these “two wonderful but historically separate entities” were bridged, Babbitt says, as students in his course on small press publishing became acquisition editors for the inaugural Seneca Review Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize. The Seneca Review: Introducing, Defining, and Promoting the Lyric Essay Since its inception in , the Seneca Review has published mostly poetry.
As essayists, our interest in SR began roughly thirteen years ago, in Fall , when the “lyric essay” made its first appearance. About this Magazine: Seneca Review specializes in innovative poetry, translations from around the world, and the lyric essay.
Work from the magazine is regularly featured in annual anthologies. Work from the magazine is regularly featured in annual anthologies.