Sylvia Plath – Hit or Miss?

Slylvia Plath gets a lot of abuse. I don’t quite understand it. The sheer amount of people who seem to hate her is surprising and somewhat random. But what bothers me, in particular, is that so many people hate her for the wrong reasons. Some people hate her because of her suicide, and the fact that her poems aren’t exactly uplifting. But is that a valid reason to dislike a poet? I don’t think so. So what do you think? Is Sylvia Plath a hit or miss, and why?

I personally think that she’s one hell of a hit. I’ve only read a few of her poems for my Leaving Cert course in school, but I fell in love instantly. Poppies in July was one of my favourites. What’s so wonderful, and also ominous about her poetry, is that it’s very intrusive. It feels like her poetry goes beyond the realms of the outer self and into the inner self. I always feel like my personal space is being questioned when I read her poetry. And I believe that’s what makes it just so appealing. It’s rare to encounter a poet that can make you feel that, and make you see that.

I believe Child was her masterpiece by a long shot. I won’t post it here for copyright reasons, but if you google it you should get it. I think it’s the most startlingly beautiful and heartwrenching piece of writing I’ve ever read. The imagery she uses to describe her child is poignant and so bright, but the last stanza is ridden with pain and suffering:”Not this troublous wringing of hands/This dark ceiling without a star.”What makes this poem so important in the work of Plath is that her tragic suicide occurred a mere two weeks later.

So if you haven’t read Sylvia Path, go on, you won’t regret it. And if you don’t like her, why not? Do tell us your opinions in the comments below.

8 comments on “Sylvia Plath – Hit or Miss?

  1. I loved The Bell Jar. She was brilliant. I preferred her poetry to Ted Hughes’.

  2. Sylvia Plath is one of the best poets of the 20th century BY FAR. The woman is a genius poetess. I would have a heated battle with anyone who hated her. I’ve read her journals, all her poetry and both her fiction attempts. She’s exceptional.

    • Wow! You are a mega-fan. From what I’ve read, I agree with you. I think she’s definitely the best poet (or at least on a par with Seamus Heaney) that has ever lived. Isn’t it strange how it’s often the most mentally ill people who are the most talented? Van Gogh was the same!

      • It is really strange! It’s that fine line between genius and insanity that does it, I think. You should really read her journals – they are UNBELIEVABLE. It makes me never want to keep a diary ever again. She tracked her entire life. Of course, they were edited and published (unabridged) by her oh, so lovely, ex-husband Ted Hughes, but they are still remarkable. Some of her best writing is in there.

  3. I must look into that! Thanks!

  4. i hate her to hell…….joke, shes a great poet, she may have been depressed and always overly self critical but i can relate to that, she seemed to always fear the moments when u run out of inspiration, the moments when what u loved doing, what u loved to create, u no longer could, i know what thats like and it tears your world apart, i can understand it when she get depressed at those moments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: