Someone asked the difference between linear narrative and confesional

Someone asked the difference between linear narrative and confessional. So, I wrote this in response:

I wish I were at home so I could pull out my handy dandy Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. It's a mammoth of a thing, but I find it to be a trusty tool when it comes to defining schools of poetry. I recommend it to anyone as a great reference book for just such questions. It's not cheap, but I bet you could find it on the used book sites. However, you'd want the latest version, especially considering entries on contemporary poetry movements. (Side note: has anyone else ever noticed that despite all these schools being defined by various types--general readers, scholars, etc--no poet ever likes to say, "I'm a confessional poet" or "I'm a Language poet." It seems that everyone always says, "I don't define myself...").

I was exploring the same thing last semester while working on my TSP (that's what I call the third semester project). So, based on what I can remember, I would say the confessional poem is a branch of the narrative. Narrative poems come from the bardic tradition, from "expressive verse"; can tell a story that isn't necessarily a personal reflection or exploration of feelings, but it can do that, too. The "linear narrative" poem would have more plot and less reflection, be more of a story told in verse, a poem that has internal exploration but its focus is the external. Meanwhile, I'd say that confessional is the deeper internal exploration, and is also not just any story to be told in a poem--like a linear narrative--but the personal story. By internal, I mean non-plot things, like emotions, or cultural & social context's personal effects (I'm thinking of Robert Lowell's poem "For the Union Dead"). Expressive verse's counterpart would be projective verse and what came from that--Black Mountain, Beats (though I think the Beats are a hybrid of the two?) and from there Language, abstract, blah blah blah.

This is what I garnered from chewing up the PEPP entry on American contemporary poetry.

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