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How I became a poet

The transformation of a perky, blonde cheerleader into a sandal-wearing writer

By Margaret Atwood   February 1997

It is a feature of our times that if you write a work of fiction, everyone assumes that the people and events in it are disguised biography-but if you write your biography, it is assumed you are lying your head off.

The latter may be true, at any rate of poets: Plato said that poets should be excluded from the ideal republic because they are such liars. I am a poet, and I affirm that this is true. About no subject are poets tempted to lie so much as about their own lives; I know one of them who has…

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