Student Research Projects

The Imperative to Craft Autobiographical Poetry

Student Sarah Tytler
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department English


This presentation weaves original works of poetry and contemporary poetics into an argument for the imperative to craft autobiographical poems. I perform a sequence of five poems addressing a traumatic experience in my life and briefly explain after each one the techniques and artistic choices used to achieve the desired effects. The sequence includes a pantoum, a prose poem, a narrative poem, and a villanelle. A majority of contemporary American poets, following in Sylvia Plath’s and Robert Lowell’s footsteps, have written autobiographically, making it all the more important that autobiographical poetry is a crafted expression of events--as opposed to a private or principally self-specific catharsis. This crafted expression allows for greater aesthetic participation between the reader and the poem.


VWC Undergraduate Research Conference Travel grant


National Conference on Undergraduate Research, April 2009, LaCrosse, WI