Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228003
Title: RECOVERING THE CONFESSIONAL: DISCLOSURE, SHAME AND RISK IN CONFESSIONAL POETRY
Authors: CHOW JIA EN, ADIRA
Issue Date: 11-Apr-2022
Citation: CHOW JIA EN, ADIRA (2022-04-11). RECOVERING THE CONFESSIONAL: DISCLOSURE, SHAME AND RISK IN CONFESSIONAL POETRY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis addresses the challenge of defining the term ‘confessional’ in confessional poetry. The genre of confessional poetry often refers to a certain type of poetry produced in America in the 1960s by a particular group of poets which include Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and others. Furthermore, there is a tendency in existing definitions of the ‘confessional’ to focus solely on the particular subject matter of the poetry, or specific formal and stylistic devices present in the poem. All these result in a restriction of confessional poetry to a certain temporality, region, and fixed set of expressions. Looking beyond these markers, this thesis instead distils several main impulses behind the process of confession. It proposes the notions of disclosure, shame and risk, which exist in a structure of relations, as key elements which contribute to shaping a distinct and identifiable confessional aesthetic. Firstly, confessional poetry is shown to offer a form of ‘partial disclosure’, which is explored through the poems of Anne Sexton. This disclosure is later shown to be imbricated with the notion of shame, which is demonstrated alongside a reading of Sylvia Plath’s poetry. A further connection between disclosure and shame is then established through the introduction of the concept of risk in confessional writing, which will be discussed alongside the poetry of Cyril Wong. Ultimately, this thesis aims to wrest the concept of the ‘confessional’ out of its current critical attachment to the post-war context of America, and acknowledge its diachronic and synchronic bearings on contemporary poetry. In recovering this notion of the ‘confessional’, this thesis also hopes to grant more specificity and shape to the term whenever it is used in literary discourse, or in relation to certain works and authors.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/228003
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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