Poetic Self-inventions: hoaxing, misrepresentation and creative license in poetry

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Poets have always created personae, inventing masks through which they may voice their works. Even contemporary lyric poetry – a key strand of which emphasises autobiography and confession – presents a multiplicity of voices, many of them at least implicitly claiming to sincerely register authentic feeling and experience and to tell the ‘truth’. But are truth claims in poetry – even ‘confessional’ poetry – a masquerade? Further, in acknowledging that Romanticism and the primacy of the individual and subjective voice in poetry was partly ushered in by a hoaxer, Thomas Chatterton, how much does the post-Romantic lyric retain a vestige of the hoaxer's art? As poets project themselves into imaginative spaces in their poetry can their work ever be said to be authentic or sincere? Starting with some of Simon Critchley's perspectives on poetry I will discuss works by Thomas Moore, Anne Sexton and Emily Dickinson, among others, in order to address these issues
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalNew Writing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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