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American Lit:Confessional Poetry Paper

Essay Topic:
Confessional Poetry
The poetry of the personal or “I.” This style of writing emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Erases distance between speaker and poet. Autobiographical, Narrative and highly emotive. more relaxed.

Confessional poetry began from ___ to ___
1950s – 1960s

The subject of confessional poetry is often _____ that one experiences in middle-class life.
Pressure/Stresses

Key authors include:
Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Sylvia Plath, Ann Sexton, W.D Snodgrass, Delmore Schwartz, Elizabeth Bishop, randell Jarrell

Topics include:
Sex/Sexuality, divorce, infidelity, child neglect, mental illness

Things to look for in Bishop’s poetry:
-Restraint in language
-Conversational tone and plain style
-Contrasting images between nature and human nature
-subjects are sometimes erotic
-Morality Vs religion
-personal without being confessional

Things to look for in Lowell’s Poetry:
-Style that is open and personal
-Mingling of history with personal experience
-reflective, narrative and autobiographical poems
-personas that internalize the historical moment they are “living” in
-poems that are in 1st person and seem to have little distance between speaker and poet.

Definition: Persona
A character or speaker that masks the writer to reflect their own thoughts, expressions or feelings through poetry.

Definition: Explication
Unfolds or unpacks the meaning and workings of a literary text.

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