Comparing M. H. Ann Jennings Poetry And Confessionalism

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The major point of difference that makes Jennings diverse from the Movement is that she is a sole female poet and also has a streak of confessionalism in her poetry. This chapter looks into Jennings poetry from confessional and autobiographical point of view. In Collected Poems (1986), Jennings preserves a number of poems dealing with the relationship between the composition of art and the experience of human suffering but she deletes most of the poems dealing specifically with psychic disturbances, poems such as “Madness,” “The Jump,” and “Suicides” which could be associated with the excesses of the confessional mode.
Definition of Confessional Poetry:
The Glossary of Literary Terms by M.H.Abhrams designates Confessional Poetry as: “a type
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How would you define the term confessional? To which she replied: “I almost think of confession. I don’t like it .It’s probably, because it has become so involved with poets like Anne Sexton. It usually means absorption in some mental… I don’t think poetry has got anything to do with sickness. I had a breakdown and the poems in the book The Mind has Mountains (1966), a title from Hopkins, most of them are not about me. They are not like Anne Sexton’s .I think Sylvia Plath was a marvelous poet. I do not like “Lady Lazarus and “Daddy”. I think they have gone way over. The term confessional has been associated with me, mental illness and revelation, but I don’t think that’s interesting”( Gerlinde Gramang ).When the major critic of Jennings, Emma Mason was interviewed by the researcher during research regarding her confessional mode and mental depression her reply to the same has been quoted as under:
Do you think there is a confessional streak in her poems? Which are some of her best confessional Poems? Mason’s reply was: “I don’t find her confessional. Her poetry seems to adopt a reserved poetics, much like Christina Rossetti’s, a poet who had a huge impact on Jennings.” Secondly when she was asked: What can be a major reason for her attempted suicides? Mason’s comments was “Her struggle with mental illness suggests she struggled with a quite serious form
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Rosenthal opines that: “confessional school by now done a certain amount of damage” ( Rosentahl 25). Rosenthal used the phrase “confessional poetry” in 1959 to describe the way Lowell conveyed his private humiliations and sufferings into the psychological problems into the poems. In his revaluation of confessional poetry, he acknowledges “the dead echoing” and “the exhibitionism of the imitators,” but he also emphasizes the achievement, and the distinctive contribution of confessional poetry (25-26) The question of whether confessional poetry has made a “distinctive contribution” to literature has been debated among various critics and poets. D.J.Enright one of the Movement poets, for instance, in the introduction to The Oxford Book of Verse: 1945-80, contends that the cult of confessional poetry, itself is an obsession with identity, is one of the saddest epidemics of recent years” (Enright, The Oxford Book of Verse:

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