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On Writing Behind Masks

Wed, 06/01/2022 - 20:29

"The Art of Persona Writing" is the subtitle of the poet Philip Schultz's new memoir, "Comforts of the Abyss," due out on Tuesday, and in his acknowledgments he notes the Oscar Wilde line "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."

The East Hamptoner goes on to explain how his preoccupation with "masks and persona narrators" during his college years would later take shape "as a writing method and a school of creative writing" — the Writers Studio. 

But acknowledgements being acknowledgements, he has people to thank, high among them "a true guardian angel, Jill Bialosky, my editor at W.W. Norton, who helped me realize the final form of this book," encouraging "a more meaningful life story."

Now they meet again, at The Church in Sag Harbor on Friday at 6 p.m., to explore those themes and experiences, creativity and writers of influence. Admission to the discussion is $10 and will naturally include a reading from the new memoir. Ms. Bialosky, a poet in her own right who lives part time in Bridgehampton, will also be out with a new book, a novel, "The Deceptions," in September.

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