By Leonard Unger, Jay Parini
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Extra resources for American Writers, Supplement XV
But as Bidart has suggested, he is not as interested in creating character as he is in representing the voice of the imagination: specifically the internal voice of the mind in crisis attempting to sort through existential dread. POST-CONFESSIONAL POETRY Partly because of his relationship with Robert Lowell, but also because he has written candidly about his family, Bidart is often considered to be an inheritor of the “confessional” tradition of poetry—a tradition associated with other midcentury poets like John Berryman, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton.
Ellen West is a compelling and believable character, and yet part of Bidart’s genius is that his artist’s hand is never completely out of view. In his later books, he further melds dramatic artifice with personal revelation, blurring the boundary between the two with even more subtlety and finesse. THE SACRIFICE While Bidart’s first two books earned him a small but loyal following, with the publication of The Sacrifice (1983) he began to receive widespread recognition as a major voice in American letters.
Nijinsky is also an important figure within Bidart’s canon because he was a genius and an innovator; his ballets Afternoon of a Faun (1912) and The Rite of Spring (1913) were well ahead of their time. In addition to exploring questions of identity, through this persona, Bidart is able to consider questions of invention FRANK BIDART / 29 and authenticity that are germane to his own art. Speaking of his ballet The Rite of Spring, Nijinsky explains that he wanted the ballet to reflect his experience of life.
American Writers, Supplement XV by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini