Sarah Perrier


When I create a persona, I want it to operate as a blend of voice, speaker, and narrative, without relying solely on clever tricks driven by historical reference or dialect. The persona should be, instead, a composite poetic device that ensures the poem lives outside of my own boring life, and above all ensures that it lives. W.H. Auden suggests "What makes it difficult for a poet not to tell lies is that, in poetry, all facts and all beliefs cease to be true or false and become interesting possibilities." For me, the creation of a persona is a way to ensure that fact and belief aren't the poem's focus, that earnestness or well-intentioned sincerity don't limit the poem's possibilities.






Bargains were struck. Firemen dressed as clowns, Jaycees’ Wives made snow cones, and the Chamber of Commerce sold raffle tickets. Andrea Nelson wore perfume and stole a hanky from her father’s drawer. Everywhere we turned, there were gimmicks and traditions.

The half-formed catechism of the carnival repeated in every flashing bulb along the fairway and we circled its raw boards and straw as the devoted walk the floors of Chartres. 
          He kissed with one eye open. What does this mean?
          He asked to keep my ring. What does this mean?
Mothers wept. Fathers blinked. The brass band clanged away.

Then the ferris wheel came down and the fun house folded up—it turned out to be a trailer homepainted, gutted, and rewired. The whole town buzzed and blared. Blame had to be misplaced. What does this mean? Some sentences began “My daughter....” Some began “Those carnies.”



435569-1589215-thumbnail.jpgSarah Perrier is the author of a chapbook, Just One of Those Things (Kent State, 2003). Her other publication credits include Sou'wester, The Journal, Pleiades, and Best New Poets 2007, among others. She earned an MFA from George Mason University and a Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati, and will soon be joining the faculty at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.