EVENT Mar 23
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'Poetry Led Me by the Hand out of Madness': Resilience in Confessional Poetry (NeMLA)

Niagara Falls, NY
Organization: NeMLA
Event: NeMLA
Categories: 20th & 21st Century
Event Date: 2023-03-23 to 2023-03-26 Abstract Due: 2022-09-30

Though many Confessional poets lived and/or ended their lives tragically, their writing often speaks of resilience, survival, and their struggles to overcome depression. For such poets as John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and W.D. Snodgrass, writing can be seen as, in the quote in the title from Sexton, a form of personal salvation. This panel aims to examine how Confessional work demonstrates resilience in the face of the poets' own personal struggles, including such personal traumas as mental health, failing marriages and relationships, and the difficulties some faced as women writers. Papers on any of the listed writers or others who may be broadly construed as Confessional will be considered. Papers on any aspect of the poets’ work are welcome, but presentations may discuss their work in the following contexts:

- Confessional poetry and resilience

- Feminism and resistence

- Influences on Confessional writers or Confessional writers' influences on others

- Ongoing critical responses to Confessional Poetry

- Confessional poets as icons

- Archival presences of the Confessionals

- Writing poetry as an act of resilience

- Confessional poets' allusion to/retelling myths or fairy tales

- Resilience in the writing in contrast to biographical tragedy

- Motherhood/fatherhood in their works and lives

- Letters from/to these poets

- Confessional poets and their contemporaries (including prose writers)

- Teaching Confessional poetry or the Confessional poets as teachers

- Their literary estates in their reception and reputation



Gary Leising