Confessional Poetry Essay

Confessional Poetry Essay

Length: 1633 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Confessional poetry is a style that emerged in the late 1950’s. Poetry of this type tends to be very personal and emotional. Many confessional poets dealt with subject matter that had previously been taboo. Death, trauma, mental illness, sexuality, and numerous other topics flowed through the works of the poetry from this movement. Confessional poetry was not purely autobiographical, but did often express deeply disturbing personal experience. (Academy of American Poets)

Three important poets who are typically associated with the confessional poetry movement are Anne Sexton, Allen Ginsberg, and Denise Levertov. An analysis of selected works from these poets yields a deeper insight into the individual poets and the broad differences among them. Poetry rarely flourishes in a vacuum. As such, the influences and history of each poet is important to understanding their work. Additionally, the interactions and society of poets of this era lend a glimpse into the similarity of experience of each author.

Despite the analytical simplicity by which some poets become caged into one genre or another, there are tremendous irreconcilable rifts between them. To generalize such diversity of work is to lose the egocentric theme they supposedly share. A closer look at writing style, theme, and the experiential component of the works analyzed show that the term confessional poet is far too shallow a description. Very thin threads bind a group of otherwise immensely diverse poets.
Anne Sexton began her writing on the advice of her psychiatrist, Dr. Martin T. Orne. (Spinello) Her active poetic career began following multiple bouts with severe depression and a suicide attempt. Sexton “offers the reader an intimate view of th...


... middle of paper ...


...ts of Cambridge, U.S.A. 2006. 10 December 2009 .
Morgan, Bill. Alines Drawn in the Sand - The Life and Writings of Allen Ginsberg. 2001. 10 December 2009 .
Penguin Academics. Literarure A Pocket Anthology. Ed. R.S Gwynn. 4th. Penguin Academics, 2009.
Poetry archive. The Poetry Archive. 2009. 10 December 2009 .
Poetry Foundation. Anne Sexton Biography. 2009. 10 December 2009 .
Spinello, Serena. Associated Content. 2008. 11 December 2009 .
The Academy of American Poets. Poets.org. 10 December 2009 .

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Confessional Poetry in The Word by Sylvia Plath

- ... Thus, Plath is able to express her feelings as she writes about the nature of poetry itself. Plath’s poetry is in essence a vivid blast of emotion that surrounds her during her life. “Words” shows the reader the despair and emotional breakdown that Plath feels. In fact, “Words” “was written only ten days before Sylvia Plath’s death by suicide” (Terribly-Perfect). As Paul Mitchell writes, “Most of Sylvia Plath’s last poems are characterized by a poetic language on the point of collapse. As such, the voice of this work can be said to be in process or under erasure in the sense that it reveals an unraveling of signifying practice, manifested by both non-sense and, more paradoxically, the re...   [tags: realism, ideology, modernism]

Powerful Essays
774 words (2.2 pages)

Confessional Poetry Essay

- Confessional Poetry I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it – A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face featureless, fine Jew linen. This excerpt comes from the poem “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath, one of the most famous – and infamous – poets of the 20th century. Many of Plath’s poems, such as this one, belong to a particular school of poetry known as Confessional Poetry....   [tags: Poems Poetry poets Essays Confessions Plath]

Powerful Essays
1741 words (5 pages)

The Dark Life and Confessional Poetry of Sylvia Plath Essay

- By the mid twentieth century, the dominance of post-modernist literature began to decline with the emergence of contemporary poets, who brought with them a new type of perspective within their poetry. These poets—especially those who wrote confessional poetry—established their poetry in a single, unified voice that accentuated intimate human topics such as death, sexuality, and family. An important contributor to contemporary and confessional poetry was Sylvia Plath, who employed personal aspects of her life into her style of confessional poetry....   [tags: Biography ]

Powerful Essays
2203 words (6.3 pages)

Postmodern Poetry - Confessional Poets Essay

- Postmodern Poetry - Confessional Poets With World War II finally over and a chapter in history written, the next chapter is about to begin. The twentieth century brings with it a new literary movement called postmodern, where poetry is "breaking from modernism" and taking on a whole new style Within postmodern poetry emerge confessional poets whom remove the mask that has masked poetry from previous generations and their writings become autobiographical in nature detailing their life's most intense personal experiences, therefore becoming the focus of their work....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
906 words (2.6 pages)

Anne Of Anne Sexton 's Poetry Essay

- "Anne Sexton was so special in so many ways, she was so ordinary- and yet, Sexton was far from ordinary."(Talabay 1978) She was a open-ended, intuitive, confessional writer that towards the end turned more dark and demonic. Anne sexton growing up was never a religious type of person but more of a rebellious child trying every way possible to undermined her parents every chance she got. Anne 's poetry inspired many to step up and face who they really are while they still can, but even though Anne 's poetry was considered a perfect entity of words her life was less than perfect....   [tags: Religion, Human rights, Confessional poetry, Life]

Powerful Essays
720 words (2.1 pages)

Analysis Of Sylvia Plath 's Poem, Daddy, Lady Lazarus And Ariel Essay

- Controversy surrounding Sylvia Plath and her collection Ariel is still present in today’s society. The collection is written using personal stories in a confessional tone that makes it impossible for the reader to remove Sylvia Plath’s life from the poems. The interpretation of the poems filters directly into Plath’s life with memories of her father, husband, children and her struggles with mental health. The collection is controversial because Plath committed suicide and the depression and grotesqueness of her inner self is present in many of her poems; especially her later collection....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, Suicide, Confessional poetry]

Powerful Essays
2075 words (5.9 pages)

Essay about Analysis Of Elizabeth Bishop And Sylvia Plath

- Kathy Szelag English 244 Due Date: 12/15/15 Take Home Final Exam Two writers that deeply conveyed their personal experience as a departure point for poetry were Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath. Elizabeth Bishop wrote the poem "Sestina" and Sylvia Plath wrote "Daddy" and through these poems these women showed evidence of autobiographical sources in their works. In "Daddy" there was a link between Plath 's writing and personal experience which was direct, explicit, and showed Plath 's motivation for writing the poem....   [tags: Poetry, Sylvia Plath, Confessional poetry, Rhyme]

Powerful Essays
1388 words (4 pages)

Sylvia Plath: The Exemplary Confessional Poet Essay

- Emerging in the 1950s and 1960s, confessional poetry was essentially an autobiographical style of writing. Often focusing on topics that were taboo at the time like mental illness and suicide, it is no surprise that Sylvia Plath wrote poetry in this style. Plath suffered from depression most of her life and used writing as an outlet (Spinello). In her works “Cut,” “I Am Vertical,” and “Lady Lazarus,” Plath exemplifies confessional poetry through the themes of resentment, death, and mental illness....   [tags: literary analysis, biography]

Powerful Essays
1009 words (2.9 pages)

Sylvia Plath's Death Gave Insight into Her Poetry Essay

- Sylvia Plath, an American poet, confessional writer, an intelligent, though emotional sufferer of depression, and ultimately, a bipolar suicidal, is more famous and recognized in death, than ever in life. Her death brought new and deeper meaning to her poetry, which provided an extremely profound and emotional insight into Plath’s innermost feelings and thoughts. Plath used her poetry to explore and to figure out her own life, but she was ever-haunted by the death of her father when she was 8, and by her husband, Ted Hughes, who both caused her a high degree of emotional distress....   [tags: Poetry Analysis, Poets, Poem Analysis]

Powerful Essays
770 words (2.2 pages)

A Woman Like That, Anne Sexton Essay

- Throughout Anne Sexton’s “Her Kind” the reader is often wondering who is the voice of the persona. Many people believed that the “I” in the poem was referring to Anne Sexton. Anne was often labeled as a confessional poet. From Sexton’s point of view confessional poetry is poetry of suffering. The suffering is generally unbearable because the poetry is often about a psychological breakdown. The psychological condition of most confessional poets, including Anne Sexton, has been subject to many literary discussions....   [tags: confessional poet, her kind]

Powerful Essays
1013 words (2.9 pages)