Can Kamala Das be called as a “confessional” poet?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Kamala Das is a contemporary female poet from India.  She can most definitely be considered a "confessional" poet, because her poems often focus on her personal life, including many aspects of her life that other people would prefer to keep private.

A good place to start would be Das's poem called, "An Introduction."

Das begins this poem by explaining why she writes in English, and not exclusively in her "mother-tongue," which is the Indian language known as Malayalam.  Her reasons are not practical, but personal:

The language I speak, 
Becomes mine, ...
All mine, mine alone....
 funny perhaps, but it is honest, 
It is as human as I am human, don't 
You see? It voices my joys, my longings, my 
Hopes...

She continues by describing, in rather graphic terms, her puberty:

I was child, and later they 
Told me I grew, for I became tall, my limbs 
Swelled and one or two places sprouted hair. 

She describes her marriage at age 16:

[My husband] drew a youth of sixteen into the 
Bedroom and closed the door, He did not beat me 
But my sad woman-body felt so beaten. 
The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me. 

She describes a period of cross-dressing:

Then … I wore a shirt and my 
Brother's trousers, cut my hair short and ignored 
My womanliness

She admits to adultery:

It is I who drink lonely 
Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns, 
It is I who laugh, it is I who make love 
And then, feel shame...

This is all personal, highly emotional, and the kind of information that many people would not like to reveal about themselves.  It is the exact opposite of poets like T.S. Eliot who described their poetry as an "“an escape from personality."  

In short, Das's poetry is confessional. 

Sources:
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sarathlal | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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"call me kamala das or surrayya or madhavi kutty, i'm an indian,born in malabar...". her poetries are highly autobiographical,heart felt sincerity about her own controversial life... kamala das is a poet who celebrated her life with the uncovered lust and desires of an average indian lady.

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