So. If a verse is titled “Self portrait as X ” then the subject X gains control of the theme, and not necessarily the author him/herself. The poet therefore is not required to reinvent the theme to suit the actual autobiography of the poet.
The writing, in other words, does not serve the purposes of a confessional poem, but rather becomes a fiction, a warping of reality to suit a theme.
Perhaps these statements are drawing out the idea too thinly across the page… How much of this would be considered common knowledge? Works I have in mind are T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Sylvia Plath’s poem “The Cut” or even “Lady Lazarus.” Both Plath and Eliot denied the poems were from their own personal histories. Plath in secret used confessional methods, but did not acknowledge her technique.
•125/ In the back seat, the child’s head bobs with the drag and surge of traffic; half awake his eyes flow on nothing but the blur of the landscape running beside the car, slipping under his feet, carrying him to his expectations of the hour. •