The Confessional Poetry of Robert Lowell: Artistry or Accuracy?
Shanjida Khatun Boksh
Abstract: The “grace of accuracy” (“Epilogue” Day by Day 127) serves as a credo for Robert Lowell’s art and for confessional poetry in general; it is the art of describing experiences in words, it is the artist’s reward of love, both to the art and to the fact. The cardinal force behind this artistic intention in writing even the most confessional of poems of Life Studies is Lowell’s formal mastery of New criticism stimulated by T.S. Eliot. Tellingly, Lowell broke away from the culpability of making confessional poetry a by-word for limp infatuation, and hence restored his position as an avant-garde poet of the twentieth century American poetry. Poetry, for him, serves simultaneously as a snapshot of life and an interpretation of that picture – a record of fact and a figurative design laden with significance. This paper deals with Lowell’s encountering the paradoxical dilemma of self and self-representation in his confessional poems through which he created his poetic identity and wheedlingly added a feather in the artistry of poetry per se.
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Published in 2014