Post-Modern American Poets

American poetry is full of personal freedom where people can express themselves with no strings attached. There are many different subjects that American poets choose to write about. Many tend to focus on their own individual problems in society. The structures of American poets also include personal confessions and insights. American poets have helped create our vision of post modern literature. Billy Collins, born in New York, wrote poetry about daily aspects in life. Anne Sexton, born in Massachusetts, wrote poems about personal struggles.

These two modern American poets are similar in the way they have written about everyday complications and events. The styles of Billy Collins and Anne Sexton can be considered personal and dramatic in several ways. For example, Collins’ style is very involved with his inner life because he expresses such emotion for his daily aspects. In the poem “Forgetfulness”, the style is a free verse expression of something that happens to people everyday- memory loss. The progression of memory loss throughout the poem is symbolic of the loss of memory throughout life.

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Not all poems must end with a life-changing epiphany. This poem is a clever reflection on the nature of human memory loss, and a wonderful contribution by Collins to the world of contemporary poetry. On the other hand, Anne Sexton has a style that is best described as autobiographical and concentrates on her deep personal feelings, especially anguish. One example can be seen in the poem, “Wanting to Die” which expresses how she wants to commit suicide. Another example can be seen in the poem, “Despair” where Sexton’s sadness is portrayed by despair taking her away.

It is a very controversial subject, however, both poets do not seem to mind to reach out to it. The themes of Collins and Sexton are somewhat different as Collins uses humor to make a serious point, and Sexton uses her psychological struggles to express hidden details of her life. Collins’ likes to ask questions about life and why things are happening. As in “I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey’s Version of “Three Blind Mice”, he cynically ponders why the mice are blind. He is one of the most plain spoken and simple poets around, yet has a sharp edge of humor in his poems.

Sexton was more known as a confessional poet. Sexton’s poetry was so confessional that it was hard to figure out if she was actually writing about her own life. As in “The Death Baby”, she wrote about topics such as abortion, menstruation, drug addiction, sex, religion, and suicidal tendencies. Her poetry explored a lots of various themes and subjects such as those. Both poets have a witty way of getting their point across whether it be humor or sadness. These two American poets had very different outlooks on life. For example, Collins had a very content and questioning outlook.

His poem, “Today” was about how he wished that people would see the real beauty of Earth. He ponders an array of topics from mice to insomnia. Sexton had a hard outlook of life because of her drug and alcohol addiction, being in and out of mental institutions, and dealing with the deaths of many loved ones. Around all this she wrote poetry to express her deep, personal feelings. Although her poetry is very confessional and sometimes hard to read and understand, she was very good at it. Her poetry dealt with issues that we can all relate to, in her day and in ours.

Post-Modern American Poetry reflected the personal issues and everyday life of the time period. Billy Collins wrote about everyday activities in a style of free verse demonstrating his contented view of life in general. Anne Sexton often expressed her bleak, depressing attitude of life through poetry that told of her agonizing struggles, written in a style of confessionism. The work of these two poets are valuable to American literature because they paint vivid imagery throughout the works of their poems and express things we go through everyday.

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