Margaret Atwood returns to poetry

Margaret Atwood returns to poetry

Margaret Atwood on Tuesday published her first collection in over a decade, Dearly , of poems written between 2007 and 2019.

Share November 9, 2020 2:08 p.m. Share Margaret Atwood reconnects with poetry Adina Bresge The Canadian Press TORONTO – Around the same time last year, Margaret Atwood was an octogenarian writer who was being snapped up around the world.

After all, she had just published Wills , a sequel to her great dystopian novel The Scarlet Handmaid , published 34 years earlier. Propelled to the forefront of the media scene thanks to the mega-success of the television series that had been drawn from it, the Canadian writer was the guest of literary awards galas and television talk shows, and she covered the cover of magazines.

This was before COVID-19 confined the world, like in a dystopian novel that Margaret Atwood has the secret. The writer now finds herself confined to her large, green house in downtown Toronto.

But even this pandemic can't strip her busy schedule – she would even be busier now, as online dating has freed her from the constraints of flying. “You could be at a festival in Spain in the morning and in San Francisco in the afternoon,” she said in a recent phone interview …

Soon 81, the award-winning Canadian author argues that one of the privileges of being old is knowing “that much worse things have happened before and the human race is still here.” “.

But Margaret Atwood also admits that at the height of her career, she is also in the twilight of her life. Some of the people who mattered most to her are gone. Her joints make her wince, her Polaroid photos are starting to turn pale. It is in this state of mind that she returns to poetry, as in her beginnings as a writer: on Tuesday she published her first collection in more than a decade, Dearly , of poems written between 2007 and 2019. Several of them these poems were written in “anticipation” of the death of her longtime spouse, Graeme Gibson, to whom the collection is dedicated in absentia .

Youth don't know

As people of her generation slowly fade away, Margaret Atwood argues that the stories shared can bring those of a certain age closer together, as time widens the gap between the elderly and the young. “Old people remember what it's like to be young, but young people have never been old,” recalls the writer.

Age can also, on the other hand, increase the weight of reputation: she is hailed by New Yorker magazine as a “prophet of dystopia” and her admirers believe that we are currently living in the dismal world predicted by her novels: a society ravaged by contagion, environmental disaster and state-sanctioned oppression of women.

But her detractors maintain that the author is now an integral part of the misogynist system justly denounced by her novels. She has found herself on the “wrong side” of feminist struggles in recent years for questioning the tactics of the #MoiAto movement – she was wary in 2018 of the possible slippages of a public lynching accepted by the surrounding culture.

An avid Twitter user, she attributes much of the turmoil over her supposed “transgressions” to the spin of digital discourse which she says is propelling disinformation at a faster rate than the human mind can. treat him.

She insists that she has been consistent in her belief that women can be both victims and bad people. This point of view is evident in her collection Dearly , which presents women in turn as murdered sisters and bloodthirsty sirens.

“Anyone who says women are always good has never been in fourth grade or has never read a book,” she says. For me, it's not just denying women's free will: it's denying their human character. ”

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