Many poets that are publishing during contemporary times frequently use established conventions of what has been called the confessional mode: the usage of the first person pronoun and taboo biographical information such as childhood trauma or personal loss in their verse; however, these poets do not claim to be confessionals, nor are the labeled as such. There are many reasons for this. Titles and labels are not as useful - either as methods of interpretation or as systems of classifications - as they were decades ago. Popular poetry has been moving away from the academy as well, so many poets simply are not categorized by scholars. Plus, poets that have been trained in the academy have not only realized that adopting stringent labels can limit publication chances, but have also realized that there is a stigma associated with the confessional label. This current situation can be traced back to M. L. Rosenthal. Rosenthal called Robert Lowell a confessional poet, and thus created a watershed moment in which a group of poets would be labeled as confessionals. This group, in turn, would come to fight against this title, thus allowing the contemporary disdain for the title to exist. This essay will trace the history of the confessional title and its problematic nature from its inception until present day. This essay will also argue that the mode of writing that is labeled confessional is alive and well, yet no one wishes to uses. Finally, this essay will explain why ignoring the confessional title is harmful to not only the study of poetry, but also to the creation of new verse.
|Advisor:||Young, Reginald S.|
|Commitee:||Fox, Willard S., Wu, Yung-Hsing|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 54/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Confessional poetry, Contemporary poetry, Dana gioia, M. l. rosenthal, Robert lowell|
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