ABSTRACT. Brought up in the ‘tranquilized’ 1950s and educated by fierce adepts of New Critical dogmas, the poets who formed what was subsequently called the American Confessional school came to revolutionize Western poetry in the 1960s and 1970s by openly exploring in their texts topics previously considered unapproachable (mental breakdown, sex, addiction, abortion, family dysfunctions). The type of art they practiced opened new vistas for poetry and, at the same time, provided interesting material for psychiatric studies exploring the intriguing connection between mental illness and artistic creativity. Anne Sexton’s case, like that of Sylvia Plath with whom she is often compared, offers rich ground for an exploration of this kind. Discovering her poetic gift during the course of her psychotherapy, she continued to write until her suicide in 1974. Poetry therapy led her to highly appreciated literary achievements, even though it could not save her from her final tragic demise.

Keywords: artistic creativity; psychopathology; poetry; therapy; suffering; suicide

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Vasile Alecsandri University,
Faculty of Letters;
Bacău, Romania

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