I found an amazing two part series about Ai at PoetryFoundation that will help anyone truly get into her mindset as she writes --- and writes from the perspective of other mindsets.
Love this. And it gives me an opportunity to touch base on something that I've been trying to find the right way to articulate. It's been inferred that we have * favorites *, and one even used the term * as anticipated * in regards to a regular's post.
Both are true, and here is why ( from part I of the aforementioned series ): Ai did not “get away with” her personas. If we read her work carefully, we will see generous craft that offers to us the critical difference between facet and facade. A facet is a flat side of something, as in “A butcher knife has two facets.” It is also a unique distinction or particular aspect in a problem, as in “Ai looked into every facet of the murderer.” The word “facet” points to specificity, precision, and multiplicity. A facade, on the other hand, is the face or front of a building, as in “the church’s facade is browed with gargoyles.” A facade is also a misrepresentation intended to conceal something uncomfortable or unpleasant, as in “John put up a facade to hide his insecurities.” Ai is not interested in facade and therefore not interested in hiding herself from the page. Regardless of the age, gender, occupation, religion, or other unique qualities of her speakers, Ai makes sure that as she moves through her speaker’s psychology her imagination is at the front. She refuses to go for the easy idea of a situation or the expected stereotype of her chosen voice. Her personas are simply facets of herself as a multi-bladed human being.
Facade is the absolute PERFECT term for those who enter this competition having read a poem or two vs studying the facets of the poet to understand their mindset and writing. We are not interested in facade, but the many facets of the classic or modern poet. Our repetitive winners study to understand the poet, not simply to acquire a trophy; and * as anticipated * it shows.