Confessional poetry, the poetry of self-revelation, an explosion of vivid emotion that focuses on the details of a poet’s life. It is the poetry of the “I”, one that allows readers to delve closely into a poet’s inner emotions enabling such authors to express their perspectives in a single, unified voice. This autobiographical form of writing was identified in the post-world war two era, emerging in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Its introduction was able to “destroy the wall between the public and private world”1 as it shed light on many intimate human topics such as death, sexuality, mental illness and trauma. Many poets utilized this style of poetry and due to the lack of restrictions, were able to freely share their beliefs and experiences in hopes that a reader too would be able to relate to the turmoil inside their soul. One such poet whose literature typified this style of writing was Sylvia Plath.
Plath was a prominent poet of the twentieth century and continues to be known for advancing the range of American literature, more specifically the genre of confessional poetry through her intimate writing filled with deep raw emotion. Though she lived a brief life, she managed to produce an immense amount of work ranging from poems to short stories which are famously known for embracing honesty about her troubled life and tragic death. Confessional writing at its essence focuses on taboo topics and a poet’s personal issues so it came as no surprise that Plath wrote extensively in this style and as a victim of depression, she was able to use this form of writing as an outlet. The misfortunes that she faced and continuously suffering a high degree of emotional distress resulted in Plath becoming a bipolar suicidal, therefore, she was only able to live through a repressive and constrictive culture, allowing her literature to be suffused with negative attitudes and dark imagery of the world. However, despite growing up in a male dominated power structure where women were resigned completely to domesticity, Plath was able to venture off into the academic world and pursue a career as a writer. She was unlike any other female artist of the time as she touched upon controversial topics while being brutally honest and blunt about her opinions on them. She explored the many phenomena of life allowing her literature to continue to compel attention and resonate widely 54 years after her death. Sylvia Plath’s poetry was inextricably tied to her life as her personal experiences manifested themselves into her literature ultimately leading to the themes of patriarchy society, death and motherhood becoming most predominant in her art.