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Saturday, May 6 • 12:15pm - 1:15pm
“The Word Doesn’t Mean Anything”: Crafting the Confessional and Beyond FILLING

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“The word doesn’t mean anything,” John Berryman famously ranted about the descriptor “confessional poetry.” Using poems they admire and poems of their own, panelists discuss what “confessional poetry” has meant since 1959 and how they themselves implement craft to revise, reshape, adopt, and examine it. Does confession require autobiographical faithfulness? How can tools like metaphor, white space, humor, form, and rhythm reveal or obscure individual experiences? Do we have expectations and biases that affect who we expect to confess, and what we expect them to dish about? Can poetry really be “confessional” at all? What does it mean both to believe that “the personal is the political” and to interrogate whether "expression" and "inner lives" are even the subjects of poetry? The panelists bring a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to these questions and to crafting poetry that contends with them.

avatar for Sumita Chakraborty

Sumita Chakraborty

Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Poetry, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Sumita Chakraborty is a poet, essayist, and scholar who teaches at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She is the author of Arrow (Alice James Books/Carcanet Press, 2020), which has received coverage in the New York Times, NPR, and The Guardian. Find her at sumitachakraborty.co... Read More →
avatar for Maggie Dietz

Maggie Dietz

Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Maggie Dietz’s is the author of the newly released That Kind of Happy and Perennial Fall, which won New Hampshire’s Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry in 2007 (both from The University of Chicago Press). The former director of the Favorite Poem Project, Dietz is... Read More →
avatar for Heather Hughes

Heather Hughes

Heather Hughes hangs her heart in her native Miami and her current town of Somerville. Her poems have recently appeared in The Adroit Journal, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Prelude, Sidereal Magazine, and others; and her reviews have featured in venues such as The Rumpus. She is a... Read More →

Saturday May 6, 2017 12:15pm - 1:15pm EDT
PEM Create Space 1 Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970