This thesis considers Confessional poetry and Black Arts poetry against the backdrop of the political and social culture of the 1950s that influenced the styles of these two major poetic movements. I examine Sylvia Plath's and Nikki Giovanni's distinct poetic personas and the language they employ in relation to each other as representatives of confessional and Black Arts poetry, two poetic styles often thought to be inherently opposed to each other, one personal and one political. I identify connections between these seemingly different poets and movements through close readings of key poems by Plath and Giovanni that situates them within second-wave feminism and the civil rights movements of the 1960s. I argue that both poets devise an alternate persona language that is especially exaggerated to create defiant personas of resistance as a direct response to the constricting political conditions in the United States at mid-century.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Espinoza, Grecia, "The Language of Personas: Poetic Masks in Confessional and Black Arts Poems" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 905.