Small Staid/Tolentino

Mairead Small Staid

The piece I read was Small Staid’s Pentimenti,¬†published on the Narrative Magazine website. While difficult to pinpoint, it seems that the audience for this poem is the old, wise, and well-travelled. I could see the appeal to young adults, but I thinkt that adults were the intended audience due to the maturity of the poem. The piece discusses the external view of European cities and villages. The tone is somewhat judgmental of the practices and traditions. It focuses on recreation and improving upon things that are unsatisfactory.

I felt that I fell outside of the intended audience. It was easy for me to visualize her travels, but I am not yet old enough to have experiences of my own that relate to the message. I enjoyed the poem, but there are certainly readers that could enjoy it more than I did, as I am enjoying it on the basis of imagination and others could on the basis of comparison and direct application.

Jia Tolentino 

I read The Personal Essay Boom is over, as published in The New Yorker. This piece discusses the rise and fall of the personal essay (attention-grabbing, raw and intimate essays that are often published online). Though I have never been an author of one of these personal essays, I am guilty of reading them a lot over the past couple of years. Tolentino says that there is no longer room to entertain these essays, specifically in the “age of Donald Trump.” The audience for this piece is exactly me: the reader who falls for “click-bait” and the explanation of opinions that are taboo. This applies to people of all ages, ranging from young adults to the retired. More specifically, it applies to the politically aware, and likely those who are in pursuit of higher education or have completed it. The personal essay boom largely was played out online, so it focuses on those who do their reading via online sources rather than print. While I do agree that this has been on the decline recently, I don’t think that there is not longer oxygen for these types of pieces. The current climate is one of individuality and boldness, and she suggests that this has come to an end. I think this is premature.

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