Postmodern Poetry - Confessional Poets

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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.

Considered to be the "mainstream of postmodern poetry" confessional poetry did not hit its peak until the late twentieth century. Confessional poetry is in direct contrast to the poetry of William Butler Yeats. Yeats poetry, Romantic in nature, depended on symbols and images to convey his themes. Confessional poetry is very direct and conveys the inner most feelings of the post modern poets. The twentieth century brought forth many confessional and post confessional poets who appeared to be embarking on unmarked territory. Confessional poets Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roehtke and post confessional poet Adreinne Rich all dealt with taboo subjects. Their life held an intensity of personal experience that became the focus of their work. Confessional poetry does not simply touch upon emotion. Confessional poetry allows emotion or looks at emotion through an examining eye rather to drive poems, permeating each poem with an air of necessity, the necessity of conveying and aiming to understand emotion through confession.

Postmodern poet, Robert Lowell's poetry really captures the true essence of confessional poetry by sharing his own raw emotions with the reader. The mask that once was placed upon the influence of the symbolist, Eliot and Pound, Lowell removes. The speaker of his poems is unequivocally himself. Lowell does not spare himself in his poetry. In his poem "Man and Wife" he deals directly with his own marriage. The reader gets grotesque glimpses into his marital life. He begins "Tamed by Miltown, we lie on mother's bed." And later tells how "All night I have held your hand,/ as if you had/ a fourth time faced the kingdom of the mad-/ its hackney...

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...bsp;The thing itself and not the myth.
Diving deep into the inner most recesses of her self, exploring the wreck of her own life, Rich feels compelled to map the geography of her self. Rich declares in a forward to her poems "with the failure of patriarchal politics" and "to be a woman at this time" is to know extraordinary forms of anger, joy, and impatience, love and hope. Poetry, words on paper, are necessary but not enough; we need to touch the living who share… our determination that the sexual myths underlying the human condition can and shall be … changed.
Rich's work is personal, intimate and confessional.
Confessional and post confessional poets clearly chose to write about subjects that were taboo. That took their private lives and deep inner thoughts and made them public. Confessional poets took the baton from the moderns such as Yeat's and Eliot and took poetry to another whole level. They opened up their heart, mind and feelings to a society that was able to relate.

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