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The Dark Life And Confessional Poetry Of Sylvia Plath

2272 words - 9 pages

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. This difference in perspective is what differentiated the Contemporary Era from other eras of American poetry. This era included several different movements, including imagism, projectivism, beat poetry, and largely, confessional poetry. These different types of poetry, especially confessional poetry, still have a wide influence on American Literature today.
If any one group of poets is known to receive the widest amount of praise from academics and critics, it is the group known as confessional poets. Confessional poetry is known to reveal private, intimate experiences with the audience; it is thought of as "a way of creating character so as to inform the trauma of the past with understanding and, sometimes, compassion "(Hamilton 97). This poetry destroyed the wall between the public and private world, removing with it the "taboo" label from personal life. It possesses with it a keen interest in the human condition. Though the idea of confessional poetry is not innovative, the way in which contemporary poets employed the idea was. Though confessional poetry is impersonal, that is, objective rather than subjective, many poems were considered the "spiritual autobiography of a poet" (Malkoff 27). Because their poetry...

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