The University of Iowa

'Sentiment and the Sentimental' in W.D. Snodgrass's Poetry

Today the National Book Critics Circle blog CRITICAL MASS featured an article on W.D. Snodgrass's Not for Specialists: New and Selected Poems, a finalist for this year's National Book Critics Circle Award.

Art Winslow, an NBCC board member, writes that Snodgrass is known, perhaps mistakenly, as one of the originators of the confessional poem. He suggests that Snodgrass's early work was startling in its time for its "blunt, non-elliptical approach and the prospect that poet and poetic persona might be one and the same." Far from an act as emotionally heated as a confession, Winslow writes, Snodgrass's "often sober, not to say somber, writing employs a directness that shows sentiment and the sentimental to be categorically different things."

W.D. Snodgrass is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop; he wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poems, Heart's Needle, while a student at the Workshop.

Read "W.D. Snodrass on the Difference between Sentiment and the Sentimental"
Related: W.D. Snodgrass and Lia Purpura Finalists for NBCC Awards


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