Who Cares About Your Personal Story: Finding Meaning in Personal Experiences
As writers of the personal essay, we sometimes exclude biographical information that is essential to the essay’s frame. We might do this because we think it is too mundane or uninteresting or shameful. On the other hand, we may share biographical details out of an exhibitionist impulse or out of some commitment to journalistic disclosure. How do we find a balance between offering too much information and being coy or evasive? How do we develop the material of our lives with integrity and make it relevant to readers?
Gregory Pardlo's most recent book is Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America, a memoir in essay. His collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection, Totem, was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Rutgers University - Camden.