Summer 1988 • Vol. X No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 1988 |

Staying News: A Defense of the Lyric

At a time when the world is threatened with nuclear annihilation—as well as regional wars and acts of repression that demand attention—many writers have criticized the self-absorption that has dominated poetry in the last twenty-five years, and have urged their fellows to include greater historical awareness and social empathy in their work. The term "confessional," first used to describe the self-revealing poetry of Lowell, Snodgrass, Berryman, Plath, and Sexton has become—often with justification—pejorative. At the same time, however, all poems with a high emotional content in which the speaker can be identified as the poet are being labeled "confessional," as if all were, willy-nilly, overly subjective. Jonathan Holden, in an essay called "Postmodern Poetic Form: A Theory,"1 describes Louise Glück and Carolyn Forche as confessional poets as a matter of course. Sandra Gilbert in "My Name is Darkness: The Poetry of Self-Definition" calls Yeats a "male confessional poet

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.