Listen to the NPR interview with Diane Rehm

“The Self That Can Render The World”: An interview with Mira Rosenthal at the 2006 Krakow Poetry Seminar. First published in the Lyric Review

“When I was a child, I had a powerful sense that I wanted to commemorate things. I even remember thinking at the time that it was a strange word for a twelve-year old to use. But of course Catholic children grow up with a lot of long words–’transubstantiation,’ ‘martyrdom,’ ‘veneration’–so maybe ‘commemorate’ wasn’t so much of a stretch. But it is the idea that every life is sacred and that life is composed of details, of lost moments, of things that nobody cares about, including the people who are wounded or overjoyed by those moments. I don’t think people allow themselves to value their lives enough. They ignore and discard these fragments. I would like my writing to be precise enough, detailed enough so that the attention I bring to bear on something unlocks a door to the reader’s life. In that way, by honoring one’s own life, it’s possible to extend empathy and compassion to others.”

– Alaska Quarterly Review, Fall and Winter 1995 (interview)

For a real audio interview following the publication of A Romantic Education, click here.