Features June 1998
Confessional poetry & the artifice of honesty
On the legacy of confessional poetry, occasioned by Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters
[To] stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head, …
—Allen Ginsberg, “Howl”
Honesty, little slut, must you insist
On hearing every dirty word I know
And all my worst affairs? Are impotence,
Insanity, and lying what you lust for?
Your hands are cold, feeling me in the dark.
—Edgar Bowers, “To the Contemporary Muse”
Earlier this year, the London Times led the fanfare for Ted...
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