A Poet’s Two Voices

Poet Robert Bly suggested that we all have a persona, and that that persona is the person our parents and teachers are pleased that we are. An apsiring poet hears the voice of this persona when they try to write, and they hear the voice of their subconscious poet. Until they can separate and hear the two voices their poems are confused, of two bodies.

We showed a documentary on Robert Bly, who is a fascinating character, at the library called A Thousand Years of Joy. It is well worth watching, if you get the chance: beautiful and melancholy, and inspiring.


Write a poem in which your persona (and its poet) speaks to your subconscious poet and your subconcious poet speaks to your persona. What poetic tools will you use to separate the two? How do their languages differ?