“Not a story writer, really”: Bishop, Lowell, and the Confessional Prose Poem," 18 pp.
Robert Lowell was talking about form as much as subject matter when he dubbed modernism “cooked” and Confessionalism “raw”: to him, moving away from the impersonal material and highly-wrought structures of modernist verse cleared the way for technical innovations that would give the impression of immediacy in part through a relaxed rhetorical style. Still, we tend to focus on the autobiographical topics of Confessional poetry rather than its technical innovations. I argue that Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop attained the "raw" quality of their autobiographical verse through an infusion of prose techniques. This essay reads Lowell's “91 Revere Street” and Bishop's “In the Village” as poetic-prose forms for autobiography that blend lyricism and realism, those genres traditionally associated with poems and prose, respectively.