The lingering fog of childhood: the image as truth in "I Was Here"

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This paper explores the relationship between the image and the truthful representation of self, landscape, and memory for Swedish, particularly expatriate, poets. The prevalence of childhood imagery in the works of Swedish poets Lars Gustafsson and Tomas Tranströmer - and in my own work - is discussed in its relation to landscapes past. Writing to salvage moments, images, people, and selves from oblivion is likely to involve some form of revisionism, to permit some fictionalising of the past. This allows for the other truth to be spoken, the emotional truth rather than the historical one. In the autobiographical space and time of the writing, moments are relived and outcomes enunciated which could not have occurred at the time. Few would argue that a truth is universal after postmodernism, but even fewer, perhaps, would care to admit to lying. This paper explores how the image permits a poem to function as a metaphor in which slivers of truth come together. In the space and time of the poem, empirical and emotional truths can coexist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages9
JournalTextJournal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs
VolumeSpecial issue 13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • General Literary studies (60203)


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