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The Dark Life and Confessional Poetry of Sylvia Plath

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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. Plath suffered from a deep depression that influenced her to often write in a dark, melancholy style. This depression included two suicide attempts of which she wrote before succeeding in suicide at the age of 30. An important facet of Plath's poetry was the distinctive development of the speaker, who, in her poem "Gigolo," for example, conveyed distinct and vivid experiences. Through her poetry, Plath sought freedom from society and her inward sense of entrapment. While some critics question Plath's intense incorporation of sorrow more than confession within many of her poems, few can doubt that Plath's morbid but intensely personal style contributed to the rise of confessional poetry as a genre.

At the end of World War II, the pursuit for in all mediums of human life no longer took precedent. Authors of this time, who ardently resented the suppression of freedom, brought about the contemporary poetry movement. This movement became a "series of attempts to reinterpret the relationship of man's inner world to the perceptual universe" (Malkoff 3). This reinterpretation led to poetry which concentrated on destroying man's individual ego and focusing on objects and situations perceived. Th...

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Uroff, M. D. "Sylvia Plath and Confessional Poetry: A Reconsideration." Iowa Review 8.1 (1977): 104-15. Gale Database. The Gale Group, 1999. Web. 13 Mar. 2011.
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