Latin@ writing / Poetry Pairings / Uncategorized

Poetry Pairing: Secret Lives

It’s no secret that Stephen Dunn’s poem “A Secret Life” is a favorite of mine

Why you need to have one

is not much more mysterious than

why you don’t say what you think

at the birth of an ugly baby.


A recent Newsweek article reveals Gabriel García Márquez’s secret muse and shares the following about the beloved author:

He told his biographer Gerald Martin “with the expression on his face of an undertaker determinedly closing a coffin lid back down, that ‘everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life and a secret life’.”


Maybe some things should remain a secret even after death. One’s secret life should die with them, no?


7 thoughts on “Poetry Pairing: Secret Lives

  1. Marquez, whose work I love, was right: a writer has to be aware of a public, large or small , that may be his/her audience ( although writing for an audience is fatal ); and in the internet age, privacy is hard to achieve. I’m not on social media, or own a cell phone. It was a conscious choice. I appreciate technology. It’s amazing.I love being able to communicate, easily, with other poets and submit to journals, globally. But it has to be on my terms, and what the public knows about me is what I choose to let them know.
    And my secret life, like Marquez and every other writer, is my inner life as a poet. No one, not even my wife and son, can enter. I wish I could show them its dimensions and corridors.

    • I can relate with your inner life as a poet, Charles, although I’m finding it more difficult to compartmentalize as the years go by. Bravo to you refraining from social media and owning a cell phone and knowing these conscious choices suit your life best.

  2. Let me think about this. There are some things/secrets I wouldn’t mind dying with me, but if I’m dead, it won’t really matter. And I don’t have any kids that might be embarrassed by any information that might come out so…

  3. To the extent that some or much of that secret life is purely interior, I think you see that in a writer’s work, whether they even mean to reveal it or not, or they are not writing honestly. Or, like Pessoa, or even Rexroth and his (invented) female Japanese poet Marichiko, they write as more than one person…

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