Creating Another Self: Voice in Modern American Personal Poetry

This book makes two significant literary assertions. First, that all first-person voice poetry necessarily involves a masking of some kind; and second, that all personal poetry falls into one of three masking modes: the confessional, the persona, and the self-effacing. Samuel Maio supports these claims with an in-depth analysis of the work of representative poets, three for each mode: Robert Lowell, James Wright, and Anne Sexton (confessional); John Berryman, Weldon Kees, and Galway Kinnell (persona); and Mark Strand, Charles Simic, and David Ignatow (self-effacing). Further, the book draws on the work of several newer poets such as Garrett Hongo and Jim Barnes to suggest that personal poetry has had a far reaching influence on 20th century poetry. A work of theoretical criticism, and not a survey of personal poets, Creating Another Self suggests that contemporary personal poetry is a distinctive phase begun in the 1950s and coming to a close in the 1990s. The book is an important work for scholars of American literature and for creative writers.