Informed by the poetic and philosophical works of a number of other writers, McGowan's readings of Sexton's work are detailed and thorough. The work opens with a reconsideration of an early Sexton poem and moves through her other works in a carefully crafted fashion. He argues against the confessional interpretations of earlier readings and resituates the debate into Sexton's poetic territories, concentrating on her words, not her world. Concluding that Sexton's work challenges aesthetic and philosophical issues concerning our existence in this world and how language attempts to respond to such questions, McGowan offers a new approach and a fresh outlook on the poetry Sexton has left us.
PHILIP MCGOWAN is Lecturer in American Literature at Goldsmiths' College, University of London. He has previously taught at Trinity College, Dublin. He has published on a range of topics and authors including Middle Generation poetry, temperance literature, John Berryman, and Saul Bellow. His first book was American Carnival: Seeing and Reaing American Culture (Greenwood, 2001).