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  #11  
Unread 12-19-2019, 01:08 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I like Sexton a lot, Rob. What I've read. There's often a fine line, but a big difference, between good and bad. Confessional poetry, whatever that means because it's part of the landscape, now, walks that line. Plath, for example, was a wonderful technician.
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  #12  
Unread 12-24-2019, 06:21 AM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
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James,

I agree completely. It's interesting how both Plath and Sexton disguise their craft, how they slip in the rhymes and meter almost secretively – Sexton with enjambment and slanted rhyme and Plath with irony. I think it's odd how Plath is seen as a tragedy queen, when with her scorching and wry wit she was anything but. Suffering, yes, depressed – undoubtably, but fierce and not at all to be turned into an object of pity.
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  #13  
Unread 12-26-2019, 11:46 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Yeah, Rob, we are probably a minority here. I wouldn't say that they hid their craft (though I definitely know what you mean), but that their perspectives were different. We hid their craft, I think.

Last edited by James Brancheau; 12-26-2019 at 10:52 PM.
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  #14  
Unread 12-28-2019, 01:53 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Hey, Rob, I'm afraid I sounded dismissive. I think Plath and, to a lesser degree, Sexton, are vastly underrated. I always give my students Morning Song because of how emotional and precise that poem is.
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  #15  
Unread 12-28-2019, 03:13 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I like Sexton and Plath too. Plath is superior, imo. Sexton often couldn't resist a sort of staged ending. Wrap up endings and I think they too often make her poems have a cuteness despite the despair she is often presenting. Plath didn't do this.
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  #16  
Unread 12-29-2019, 08:46 AM
Rob Wright Rob Wright is offline
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James,

It seems our comments have shifted this board from Dickey to a Plath/Sexton; which is fine by me. A minority of two is my favorite kind (kidding, of course). And yes, John I agree with you completely about Sexton's endings. I often find myself wanting to lop off the last line or change it ie. the Icarus sonnet "And his daddy went straight off into town." Too cute by far and spoiling an otherwise wonderful poem for me. But then there is that last line in All My Pretty Ones: "bend my strange face down to yours and forgive you." Amazing.
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  #17  
Unread 01-02-2020, 01:36 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I don't think Plath is often fully appreciated. She, along with Lowell, blew my mind. When I was young, and still now. She's the real deal. Pound, only emotion endures, etc, and that's certainly true in her case. But, as I mentioned before, she's a great technician. In many ways. Happy New Year.

Last edited by James Brancheau; 01-02-2020 at 09:51 PM. Reason: Precision
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  #18  
Unread 01-07-2020, 01:08 AM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I can't see how Plath could be considered underrated. She's been the subject of more critical and biographical scrutiny than any poet born since 1930. Sexton seems to have faded a bit, like Dickey.
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  #19  
Unread 01-09-2020, 11:10 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I don't think, Sam, one necessarily has to do with the other. Maybe underappreciated would be a better way to put it.
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  #20  
Unread 01-09-2020, 12:19 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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Here's Morning Song, which I admit I only became aware of 7 or 8 eight years ago, when I was awarded lit classes.

Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

Iím no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the windís hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a catís. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
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