Confessional Poetry

Confessional Poetry - people and not included in writing 7...

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CONFESSIONAL POETRY Coined by a critic, not by poets: in 1959 by M. L. Rosenthal in a review of Lowell’s Life Studies Not a school or group of poets, but rather a style of poetry. Aspects of a confessional poem: 1. True to contemporary life, even at its ugliest (harsh realism) 2. Expresses oneself personally, poetry of the “I” 3. Uses of psychoanalysis, introspection as psychological liberation, and confession as healing release (heavily influenced by psychoanalysis and Freud) 4. Makes the private public, renders personal experience as it truly is, regardless of social convention o Rosenthal: “beyond customary bounds of reticence or personal embarrassment” 5. Challenges moral and social assumptions about normalcy 6. Does not avoid the terrifying or harrowing; seeks to address deepest and darkest fears head on rather than avoid them; expresses truths and experience so painful that they have usually been suppressed by
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Unformatted text preview: people and not included in writing 7. Often shocks or surprises with emotions or experience (lust, trauma, voyeurism, suicidal fantasies, madness, depression, sex, masturbation, hatred of one’s family or self) Beats were Confessional in a way, but not associated with likes of Lowell and Plath; Beats were in fact considered opposites to Confessional writers in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Lowell though the Beats were undisciplined, “raw” to his “cooked”, Lowell still wanted some semblance of formal integrity to his poems, some rough skeleton, as did most writers in the confessional mode. Some American poets who wrote in confessional mode : Robert Lowell Sylvia Plath Anne Sexton W.D. Snodgrass Theodore Roethke John Berryman Ted Berrigan Louise Gluck Sharon Olds Marie Howe...
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2011 for the course ENGL 278 taught by Professor Sitar during the Fall '10 term at Loyola Chicago.

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Confessional Poetry - people and not included in writing 7...

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