Alessandra Narváez-Varela, University of Texas at El Paso


The term “confessional”—what I can now appreciate as a groundbreaking though controversial mode of poetry introduced in the 1950s by poets like Anne Sexton, and, more recently, complicated by Sharon Olds—is the only way I have known how to write since I held a pen as a girl. The controversy stemmed from confessional poetry’s autobiographical nature, which, by presenting personal experience against a poetic background reserved only for practitioners of “high art,” struck some as authentic and others as shocking. This is illustrated by reductionist criticism of Sexton and Olds’ work that focuses on their seemingly pointless “oversharing” of anatomical realities, and on their poetry’s “pornographic, self-indulgent, selfpitying, and violence-obsessed” qualities (Brickey 5-6).

Subject Area

Creative writing|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Narváez-Varela, Alessandra, "Her" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10689714.