Timothy Upperton

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
The Lyric “I” and the Anti-Confessionalism of Frederick Seidel

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Frederick Seidel's use of autobiographical details, including his own name, in his poems has been treated by critics as an invitation to identify the lyric "I" with the poet himself. His poetry has been discussed by both his admirers and his detractors in a Confessional context. Mr Upperton argued that although Seidel uses Confessional strategies, and owes obvious debts to Confessional poets, his poetry is fundamentally outward rather than inward looking; it is a poetry of cultural critique, and not of personal revelation. This outward looking focus also distinguishes Seidel's poetry from various post-avant poetics that, in their own sophisticated ways, are as concerned with the subjective, lyric "I" as Confessional poetry is. Mr Upperton's research investigated the anti-Confessionalist status of the lyric "I" in the poetry of Frederick Seidel, and he furthered this investigation in a collection of his own poems.

Professor Bryan Walpert
Dr Kim Worthington


As at 27 February 2014, eighteen of the nineteen poems so far included in my PhD project have been published or are forthcoming in Landfall, New Zealand Books, New Zealand Listener, Shenandoah (US), Sport, and Turbine