Anne Sexton Confessional Poetry Analysis

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American confessional female poets dwelled on the issue of identity in the mid-twentieth century. In the early 1960s, poetry written by American female figures began to flourish. Taboo issues became the talk of the day. These Women poets took the initiative to write in verse form about sexuality, abortion and masturbation. They broke the norms in poetry in terms of the thematic anchorage. The reason behind a tremendous “emphasis on poetry performance” hinges on the “public role [that] poetry could play” as Kim Whitehead points out (qtd. in Crown 657). Whitehead argues that these confessional poets blended both the personal with the artistic life. They narrowed down the abyss between reality and fiction in a kind of “relentless introspection…show more content…
She committed suicide after being haunted by feelings of “ill[ness], isolat[ion], and … despair” (VanSpanckeren 83) and after having an ongoing struggle with the ‘self’ and the ‘other.’ She was an eminent female poet of the 1960s whose poems mirrored the “personal” and “proto-feminist cry of anguish” (VanSpanckeren 83). Nassia Linardou claims that Sexton was considered “the high priestess” and “the Mother” (89) of confessional poetry. Her acclaimed talent emanated from her boldness to evoke newly-tackled issues such as mother-daughter relationship, suicide and sexuality. As a female poet, Sexton rebuilt her fragmented identity through her poems. Her poetry thrived on issues of the female incessant struggle, and her poems were “encoded with images of domesticity and motherhood – images which gender [her] poetry – and [her] employment of the first person pronoun” in her poetry (Crosbie 59). Kathleen L. Nichols, in her biographical account of Anne Sexton, states that “[Sexton]’s first three volumes of poetry contain many of the autobiographical themes that preoccupied her throughout her poetic career: mental breakdown and recovery, parent-daughter relationships, and women’s roles and identities” (331). She prolifically produced eight volumes of poems: To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960), All My Pretty Ones (1962), Live or Die (1966). In 1969, she wrote a play entitled Mercy Street,

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