Confessional Poetry Essay

Confessional Poetry Essay

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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...

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...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. 10 December 2009 .

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