Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Interview with Carmen Giménez Smith

Barrie Jean Borich recently interviewed Carmen Giménez Smith about Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else, her lyric memoir which received a 2011 American Book Award.


Do you consider this book a lyric essay? Why or why not, and if yes, what do you mean by the term “lyric” in relation to prose?

Giménez Smith

I do consider it a lyric essay, and as I write more and more nonfiction, I realize that this form is the one I'm best suited for. I like the associative jumps and the compression this form requires. It's a more peripatetic form too, and these are the ways the form is lyric, although I also think it's interesting to consider the terms of subjectivity after Montaigne, which is the way I most like to frame the notion of lyric: how does this form privilege the speaker's subjectivity as opposed to more conventional nonfiction?