The World Split Open: Four Women Poets on Memoir

Friday, March 25, 2022
3:20 pm to 4:20 pm


“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?/ The world would split open,” wrote Muriel Rukeyser in the poem “Käthe Kollwitz.” How does truth-telling and the construction of a voice differ in the genres of poetry and memoir? How do gender, class, and race figure into what is told? What world—if any—is split open? These poet/memoirists discuss the urgency of their turn to prose, also reading briefly from their memoirs.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: The_World_Split_Open_Memoir_Panel_Outline.pdf



Sharon Dolin has published seven poetry books, most recently Imperfect Present and the prose memoir Hitchcock Blonde, plus two books of poems by Gemma Gorga in translation, most recently Late to the House of Words. Associate editor at Barrow Street Press, she directs Writing about Art in Barcelona.

Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the nineteenth poet laureate of the United States (2012-2014). In 2007, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and in 2019, she was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent book is Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir.

Jennifer Militello is the author of the nonfiction book Knock Wood as well as five collections of poetry: The Pact; A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments; Body Thesaurus; Flinch of Song; and Anchor Chain, Open Sail. She teaches in the MFA program at New England College.

Natasha Saje is the author of three books of poems (Red Under the Skin, Bend, and Vivarium); Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory; and Terroir: Love, Out of Place, a memoir in essays. She teaches at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and in the Vermont College MFA in Writing Program.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center